Executive Director of the Special Mothers Project, Mrs Hannah Awadzi has explained that children suffering from cerebral palsy are not intellectually disabled.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is neurological disorders that appear in childhood and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to or abnormalities inside the developing brain, which disrupt the brain’s ability to control movement and maintain posture.
“We cannot exclude children with cerebral palsy from children who have no special needs. Most children with cerebral palsy only have movement challenges and by seeing other children move, they are usually challenged to move,” Mrs Awadzi told a group of social work students.
The students who are from the Department of social work at the University of Ghana are to start a 13-week fieldwork at the With God Cerebral Palsy Centre as part of their academic work.
Leader of the group, Ms Emelia Abugzio had said they usually group children with special needs as having intellectual difficulties, but Mrs Awadzi disagreed and noted that most children with the cerebral palsy condition have their cognitive part intact.
Ms. Abugzio said as social work students, they were ready to work, reach out to and adapt to the needs of children with cerebral palsy.
She said the internship would enable them ascertain for themselves, whether children with cerebral palsy can be classified as children who are intellectually disabled.
Meanwhile, Mrs Awadzi has called on the government to facilitate the creation of more centres in the country to enable parents of children with cerebral palsy to have a place to take their children to during working hours to enable them work.
“Most parents, especially mothers of children with cerebral palsy are unable to work or forced out of jobs due to their children’s disability,” she observed
Mrs Awadzi said most daycare centres refuse children with cerebral palsy admission because they are unable to walk, talk and are usually not toilet trained.
She called on government to come up with pragmatic measures to help families raising children with cerebral palsy, saying, “No child should be left behind.”
Mrs Ellen Affam-Dadzie, Head of With God Cerebral Palsy Centre and a mother of a seven-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, called for government’s support.
“We need special educators to be attached to this centre, we need volunteers, social workers, therapists to support the work of the centre,” she appealed.
The centre currently does not generate any income; parents who take their children during working hours do so free of charge.