Supporting Children with Cerebral Palsy

14 December, 2015 Lesotho, Health
Children with disabilities living in remote and disadvantaged settings in Lesotho, have little access to services and support. Due to their extremely indigent circumstances, their care-givers are unaware of simple interventions that could make a meaningful difference both to their lives and to the lives of their children.

With the aim of addressing the unmet rehabilitation needs of children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and to assist their families living in underserved rural areas, IDRF is launching a project in Lesotho, South Africa, in partnership with Malamulele Onward, to improve the quality of life for children with CP by delivering physical, occupational and speech therapy.

The project highlights the importance of caring and supportive home environment for children and also recognizes that their caregivers and the rehabilitation therapists running the CP Clinics also need maximum support through various resources. Thus the scope of the project will include a focus on strengthening CP services as a whole through the provision of training and ongoing support, in addition to providing therapy and equipment for children and training for their caregivers.

IDRF is finding ways of creating a supportive environment through our project partners and, regardless of the extent of the disability, we hope to realize potential of each child and enable the children to flourish and to grow to the maximum.
Furthermore, the project will help caregivers to understand and be prepared for what lies ahead for the children and them in the future.

Past support of children with CP – 2007-2009

In 2007, IDRF first initiated the Malamulele Onward project for caregivers of children with CP in South Africa, who are often isolated with few sources of support. The aim of the project was to support and deliver physical, occupational and speech therapy to children with cerebral palsy, in order to enable them to live a normal life as best possible.
The program included an Intensive, ‘hands on’ blocks therapy and provision of locally made equipment for children with Cerebral Palsy living in identified areas of South Africa.

The goal was reached by:

  • Delivering intensive blocks of therapy in conjunction with caregivers, rehabilitation professionals, and through training so that continued therapy could be provided in a home-based program.
  • Provision of appropriate equipment, such as buggies, standing boxes, inserts for wheelchairs, feeding chairs etc made with locally available inexpensive material.
  • Provision of training to caregivers on how to continue with home based therapy and use and maintenance of the equipment. Each caregiver is provided with a photographic record of their child in the equipment, demonstrating how to use the equipment and place the child.

The IDRF Malamulele Onwards project also addressed improved access to professionally trained physiotherapy personnel and other local rehabilitation personnel and caregivers responsible for providing services to children.

The final results were amazing and the following changes were noted:

  • Improved physical conditions – especially mobility – of children with CP.
  • Improved quality of life for the children and their caregivers.
  • Once the children showed functional gains according to their ability, they were easier to care for and caregivers were provided with the skills, the knowledge, and the equipment to make management and caring at home easier.
  • Successful training of the rehabilitation staff and caregivers on how to continue to manage and treat the children.

 

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