Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Inclusiveness: The best therapy for a child with cerebral palsy

I had an insightful conversation with a family that has raised a 28 year old boy with cerebral palsy.  As a way of giving back to society the family had decided to be fully committed to advocacy issues on cerebral palsy

They had come to see me to discuss possible advocacy issues that they could raise, as they shared their journey of their son with me, the sister of this young man said something that I could not stop pondering over.

Alberta, a senior sister to Nii, the young man living with cerebral palsy said: “I think inclusiveness is the best therapy we can give to children with cerebral palsy.”

Alberta explained : “We lived in a house with our uncles, aunties and cousins, there were a lot of children around, my brother Nii played with us, he was challenged to do things for himself, we had one cousin who was always running, he was also a boy, Nii wanted to play with him, so he forced himself to run, when we were young, you will always see him (Nii) with bruises around the mouth, he fell many times but I guess that is what challenged him to do things for himself.”

Ghana is currently talking inclusive education a system of education where all students regardless of their needs are welcomed by their neighbourhood schools in age appropriate regular classes and supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspect of the life of the school.

Inclusive education is about how we develop and design our schools, classrooms, programmes and activities so that all students learn and participate together.

Some Experts in education have listed a lot of benefits of inclusive education, saying that inclusive education has the ability to develop the individual strengths and gifts, involve parents in the education of their children, foster a school culture of respect and belonging and provides an opportunity to learn about and accept individual differences, lessening the impact of harassment and bullying.

Inclusive education has the potential to positively affect both the school and the community to appreciate diversity and inclusion on a broad level.

In Ghana, many teachers are still wondering how possible it is to fully implement inclusive education, there are some who thinks  that children with special needs especially those with disabilities should be separated since they have a tendency of slowing the academic work and pulling back the regular ones.

However, there are many parents of children with cerebral palsy calling for inclusive education, one of the parents said, “I do not expect my child with cerebral palsy to score 100 per cent, I just want a social life for my child, I know my child is intelligent and will excel at his own pace.”

Another parent of a child with cerebral palsy who expressed believe in inclusive education said in an interview that “My child with cerebral palsy lives together in the house with her other siblings, they play with her, they heckle her and they treat her as their sibling, I see that my daughter has really improved in terms of her responses because of her siblings.

She said, children with cerebral palsy especially need to be in mainstream school, they have movement issues but most of the time, their brains are intact, they can learn.

Another parent of a child with cerebral palsy said, inclusive education is possible, it is the willingness of the school and staff to accept children with cerebral palsy that is left.

Monday, September 10, 2018

With God Cerebral Palsy Centre temporarily closed

The With God Cerebral Palsy centre, a place where parents of children with cerebral palsy could drop their children for care and pick them up later has been temporarily closed.

One child who was resident at the centre has been relocated to the Impact Care and Rehabilitation Foundation, (ICRF) for care while the other children who came on daily basis has been told to wait till further notice

Mrs Ellen Affam-Dadzie, Executive Director of the Centre said: “running the centre in her home has interfered with her personal family issues, I am looking for a place where I can rent and operate the centre from.”

Apologizing for the inconvenience the closure has caused parents, she said I am also studying Community Based Rehabilitation and Disability studies to ensure that I get it right when the centre bounce back.

She called on Ghanaians to embrace children with cerebral palsy and their families

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Two organizations support needy CP Mum

Tech Era, an IT based organization with the support of the  Special Mothers Project,  has supported Ms Suzzie Darko a mother of a six year old with cerebral palsy with a poly tank to be used on commercial basis

Ms Darko holds a bachelor’s degree in Administration from the University of Education but says she is unable to work because of her two children, one with cerebral palsy and the other a one year old breastfeeding child.

Following her appeal for support from corporate Ghana to help prevent her and her two children from extreme starvation, Tech Era and the Special Mothers Project jointly bought  and installed  a 2500 litre poly tank to be used to sell water on commercial basis within her community to enable her earn an income.

Mr Derrick Omari, Chief Executive Officer of Tech Era a community engagement initiative aimed at equipping underprivileged children with IT skills, and also to raise IT professionals from under-served communities said his organization is passionate about championing inclusion

Tech Era has extended its reach to the disabled by developing applications that helps to teach the visually impaired to  use computers

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Executive Director of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme on cerebral palsy issues, said the project is interested in finding sustainable solutions to help enhance the lives of families raising children with cerebral palsy.

“We want to move away from the times when parents raising children with cerebral palsy are giving handouts due to pity, we are looking for programmes that set parents especially mothers up as entrepreneurs in a sustainable way to earn an income and enable them take good care of their children with cerebral palsy.”

Ms Darko, expressing gratitude to the two organizations, urged schools especially at the crèche level to accept children with cerebral palsy in their facilities to enable especially mothers’ work and earn a living

“There are many mothers out there who have turned beggars because they have had to abandon career to take care of their children with cerebral palsy,” she added.