Things you should know about Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a damage to the part of the brain that affects movement, invariably the muscles.

This damage occurs to the immature developing brain. This can happen before birth, during birth or the first few years of a child’s life. It can also occur in a child due to sickness, injury caused by poison or accident and negligence. At times, the cause is unknown.

In other cases, it can be caused when a pregnant woman undergoes prolonged labour. There are times that some women will decline the option of a cesarean operation while insisting on giving birth through natural delivery. In such cases, the baby may suffer stress such as lack of oxygen to the brain.

Another common cause is untreated jaundice. Jaundice is characterised by yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes.  Instead of getting the right treatment for the baby, some mothers rather put the baby under the sun or wash the baby in papaya leaves. This may leave the jaundice untreated in the baby’s body and later result in cerebral palsy.

Some mothers either because of their religious belief or due to poverty do not give birth to their babies in a hospital. Rather, they prefer to give birth in a religious centre or with a local birth attendant. When there are serious complications, the baby usually suffers trauma to the brain before getting help from the hospital. This may also lead to cerebral palsy.

Children who are likely to have cerebral palsy:

  • Those whose mothers experienced prolonged labour during childbirth.
  • Babies that were born too early (Premature birth).
  • Babies with low birth weight.
  • Babies that suffered from head injuries.
  • Babies that contracted infections such as meningitis, e.t.c.
  • Babies that had severe jaundice after birth.

Types of cerebral palsy

  1. Spastic – Tight muscles, awkward movements.
  • Diplegia- Both legs affected.
  • Hemiplegia- One side (arm and leg) affected.
  • Quadriplegia: Both legs or both arms paralyzed or weakened.
  • Double Hemiplegia- Both arms affected more than the legs.
  1. Dyskinetic- Involuntary movements.
  2. Ataxic- Challenges with balance, depth perception, shaky movements.
  3. Mixed Cerebral Palsy- A mix of other cerebral palsy types.

Symptoms in babies

  • Low muscle tone (The baby feels ‘floppy’ when picked up).
  • The child is unable to hold up his/her own head while lying on the stomach or in a supported sitting position.
  • Muscle spasms or stiff feeling.
  • Poor muscle control, reflexes and posture.
  • Delayed development (can’t sit up independently or roll over by 6 months).
  • Feeding or swallowing difficulties.
  • The babies prefer to use one side of their bodies.

Symptoms in toddlers/children

  • Not walking by 12-18 months.
  • Not speaking simple sentences by 24 months.

How do I help my child?

  • Your child will need to be assessed by a neuro-pediatrician.
  • The doctor will ask for the mother’s pregnancy history, situation of birth and the child’s welfare till date.
  • A full examination will be conducted:
    • Blood test– Other health problems may cause symptoms that are similar to cerebral palsy. To rule that out, the doctor may recommend a blood test.
    • MRI-Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a medical imaging technique used to produce a detailed image of the body’s soft tissue and bones.
    • EEG- (Electroencephalogram) For this test, small electrodes will be stuck to your baby’s head to measure the brain waves. Sometimes this test helps to detect epilepsy (Seizure disorder)
    • Audiologist (Hearing)
    • Ophthalmologist (Vision)

My child has been diagnosed of Cerebral Palsy

What next?

Things to note before treatment begins.

  • The damage is permanent.
  • The damage does not get worse but without care and attention, the child’s health may deteriorate with time.
  • There is no cure for cerebral palsy.
  • Early Intervention is important in the treatment or management of cerebral palsy.

What is early intervention?

Early intervention is the term used to describe services that reach a child early in his or her development, usually from birth through age three. Intervention is vital during this early period because a child learns and develops at the fastest rate during these first few years.  It’s important not to miss out on this crucial part of your child’s development, as it may be more difficult to teach skills to your child as he or she gets older.

Professionals that may work with your child

  • Physiotherapists – They will help identify and treat your child’s movement disorder through movement and exercise.
  • Occupational therapists- They will help your child acquire skills for daily living such as sitting, using of hands to perform functions and many more.
  • Speech therapists- They will work on your child’s communication skills, speech development and feeding.
  • Special educators- They will work with your child to determine educational needs.

What is the role of the family?

  • Ask as many questions as you can about your child from the doctor and therapists.
  • Read books to learn more about cerebral palsy.
  • Love and accept your child.
  • Be your child’s advocate – Defend your child’s rights.

REFERENCES

www.mayoclinic.org

www.cerebralpalsygroup.com

www.kidshealth.org

www.cdc.gov

www.medicinenet.com

AN INSPIRING PROGRAM FOR MUMS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS EXHALE!

On the 6th of July, Diary of A Special Needs Mum organized a program for mums titled Exhale! 

This is a yearly event for mothers who have children with disabilities to come together and be inspired to live successful lives in spite of the challenges life throws their way.

This event held at the upper room Kobis Restaurant with over thirty women in attendance.

The speakers at event spoke from their hearts holding nothing back. They challenged the mothers to be unapologetic in accomplishing their dreams. 

Mrs Enada Yusuf advised special needs mums not to hang their dreams and lose themselves while caring for their special needs children. She also said they should get to the point where they are not running up and down looking for a cure but they should be at peace and understand their kids.

Mrs Feyi Luther Mbanugo adviced special needs mums to be themselves and love themselves and find their own kind of normal. 

Mrs Catherine Abagun challenged us to live our lives in spite of the challenges life brings our way. She emphasised that everyone faces one kind of challenge or the other. She told her story of her search to have a child after nineteen years of marriage and today, she is happily married with an adopted child.

Mrs Abi Longe told us to look beyond the seemingly conspiracy theory that has been used against women rather we should rise to achieve great feats and accomplish financial freedom. 

Mrs Yemi Chukwurah told us how she started her business and grew it into a successful organisation. With boldness and determination she accomplished great feats. She told the mums in the room that they were their children ‘s role models so their financial success or failure is also being acknowledged by their children. 

Mrs Toyin Feibo told the story of how she became a caterer because she wanted to meet her needs. She challenged the mums to live their dreams and fly. 

Mrs Solape Oyinloye encouraged the mums to live healthy lives and she emphasised the importance of detoxification regularly. 

The mothers were all loaded with inspiring words to start the second half of 2019.

Statement of Purpose

Supporting families with children living with disablities

At the beginning of this year, three families with children living with disabilities were supported with N40,000 each. Two mothers used the money as part of school fees while the third mother used the money as part of capital for her business.

MENTORSHIP AND SKILL ACQUISITION PROGRAMME FOR MUMS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS.

Our organisation through counselling of mothers who have children living with disabilities have realised that a lot of these women are unable to work because of their children’s disabilities. Therefore, they are unable to meet their basic needs. It was therefore necessary for us to put together a training program to help them discover their talents and harness it to provide an income to meet their needs.

On the 21st of May, 2019, fifteen mums with special needs kids were selected for a Mentorship and Skills Acquisition program which held in Lagos.

The mothers came for the program expecting to start learning some skills immediately but our organisation (Diary of A Special Needs Mum Initiative/P4:13 Foundation) knew that it was necessary for them to have a re-orientation about succeeding in life in spite of life’s challenges. Having the right mind set is key to achieving success in any chosen field.

The program started with Ms Temitope Osoba, a behavioural therapist and SEN teacher who spoke about behavioural disorder in children and how it can be managed. She explained the importance of parents working together with therapists to achieve success with their wards.

Mr Korede Oladejo, a physiotherapist spoke to the mums about the essence of physical therapy for children with mobility disorder. He also admonished mothers to maintain the right posture when handling their children in other to prevent back injuries.

After this session, the therapists attended to the children with disabilities that came along with their mums. The mums had opportunities to ask questions relating to therapy and disability.

While the therapists were attending to the children and their mums, the remaining mums in the training room were encouraged to share their experiences about having special needs children. It has been said, and rightly so, that talking about one’s painful experience is also a form of therapy. They heard from other mums who have children living with special needs and we believe this helped the mothers to know that they are not alone.

The next session began with Mrs Sola Adesakin, CEO Smart Stewards who took the class on financial independence. It was an eye-opening session as she told the class how to develop multiply streams of income, how to save and invest.

The next session was a panel of speakers which included Miss Damilola Olokesusi, CEO Shuttlers (a tech and transportation startup), Miss Nneamaka Nwafo, CEO Makay Embellishments, Mrs Toyin Feibo, CEO, Sizzling Foodstop and Mrs Sola Adesakin, CEO, Smart Stewards.

It was an amazing session. Our panelists were open about their entrepreneurial journey. They all spoke about where they started from and how they fought against life’s challenges to make a success out of their businesses. Each one of them brought a different angle to the table for discussion. This really challenged the mums as they were inspired to fight for their lives and make the best out it.

Bukola Ayinde, the convener of the programme, spoke with the mothers and she challenged them to rise above their circumstances and reach for their dreams.

The mothers were also engaged in inspiring activities. They were told to write down the kind of profession they had always dreamt of studying. A good number of our mums wanted to become nurses. Bukola Ayinde told them to take another piece of paper and write the business they would start if they had a million naira. After the exercise, the mothers were told that it was never late to fulfil their dreams.

The mothers were also asked to pick a skill that they wanted to learn after the program. This they all did.

After a whole day of piling off layers of self-doubt and the numerous excuses for not succeeding as a special needs mum in Nigeria, the mums left for their homes with renewed zeal to fight for their lives and pursue financial freedom while caring for their families.

After the program there were series of individual mentoring sessions with each participant. The report of the mentoring program is stated below.

 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION TRAINING FOR MAINSTREAM TEACHERS

This summer when our founder, Bukola Ayinde was searching for a school for her six years old daughter living with cerebral palsy, she realised that there was a lot of ignorance in the school system about inclusive education.

After she got a school that was ready to take her daughter she decided to train the school teachers and their other staff about how they could implement inclusive education.

On the 4th of September, 2019 our orgaisation put together a team of trainers to teach the staff of Brookehouse School on how to implement Inclusive Education.

Some of the topics taught include:

  • Benefits of Inclusion
  • Understanding Inclusion in the classroom
  • Mainstreaming a child with cerebral palsy
  • Understanding Autism in the classroom
  • Promoting disability inclusion in the school
  • Managing parents (with special needs kids) expectations
  • The roles and relationship between shadow teachers and classroom teachers for effective inclusive education in the classroom

The trainers were

  • Bukola Ayinde: Founder, P4:13 Foundation and Diary of a Special Needs Mum Initiave
  • Tobiloba Ajayi: Founder, Let CP Kids Learn Project
  • Adelola Edema: Founder, Autism Gist and a SEN teacher at Children International School, Lekki
  • Temtitope Osoba: Founder, Ri-care helpmate Services

The teachers were delighted as they learnt a lot. Their minds were stretched and they saw possibilities where they had doubts before.

Today, Bukola Ayinde’s daughter is doing extremely well at Brookehouse School and there is massive support for her educational and personal wellbeing.

 

ESSAY & THINK TANK COMPETITION.

In the month of May, our organisation put together an essay competition for secondary school students (SS 2 and SS 3 students) in Lagos, Nigeria.

Topic: Peter is thirteen years old. He has cerebral palsy. He is unable to walk, he can make use of his left hand a little but he is unable to use his right hand. His speech is slurred but if you listen carefully, you will be able to hear him talk. He uses a wheelchair and he has a caregiver who also supports him in class.

 Peter has been given admission into your school and he is now your classmate. Some parents of your classmates want him to leave the school. The principal of your school does not know what to do.

 The principal has set up a team of students, including you, to analyse this problem. Should Peter remain in the school or should he be sent to a special school?

The essay was an argumentative essay and students were free to argue in support or against inclusive education.

We received well over a hundred essays. They were marked by Touch of Gold Media Ltd and the top 15 essays were selected. The selected students proceeded to the second phase of the competition. Which was a Think Tank Competition.

The Think Tank Competition held on the 15th of June, 2019 at British Council, Ikoyi. 

During the event, the students watched a documentary titled Oluwalonimi, Benefits of Inclusive Education. A story about a six year old girl living with cerebral palsy who attends a mainstream school. She also happens to be the daughter of the founder of P4:13 Foundation, Bukola Ayinde.  

The students listened to three people living with disabilities talk about their lives, challenges and successes. These speakers include, Miss Ejiro Okotie, who is visually impaired, Mr Busayo Adegbulugbe uses a wheelchair and Miss Anita Chijioke is an SS 2 student of Hope Fountain School for the Deaf.

Miss Ejiro spoke about how she lost her sight at a very young age and eventually how she had to learn to live an independent life. She is currently the founder of Hope Inspire foundation for women and youth. A Mandela Washington Fellow. She has a master degree in Public and International Affairs. 

Mr Busayo  Adegbulugbe studied Geomatics Engineering in the university of Lagos. He is currently a fashion designer and a restaurant owner. He also spoke about how he overcame low self esteem and depression. 

Chijioke Anita told the students how she became deaf at a young age. She also mentioned that her school proprietress is her hero as she took her into school even though she couldn’t afford the school fees. She spoke about her ability to do things such as chores and also learn in school like her peers in spite of her disability.  

She told the students that she sometimes experience low self esteem and shame when people mock her because of her disabilities. She spoke about her experience when she walked the streets in her neighbourhood and people threw stones at her because she did not hear when they called out to her.  Indeed, we need more kindness in the world. 

The students asked the three speakers a lot of questions. Which they got answers too. It was indeed an inspiring moment. 

Other speakers at the event included, Rhoda Odigbo, Director, Academics -Bridge International, who spoke about Disability Inclusion. 

Mrs Dotun Akande, Founder, Patrick Speech & Language, spoke to the teachers in attendance about the role of teachers in disability inclusion. Teachers also had the opportunity to ask questions and they gave suggestions. 

Mr Joel Nwokeoma, Opinion Editorial, Page Editor, The Punch Newspaper spoke about the role of the media and disability inclusion.

Mr Ayo Ajose Adeogun, CEO, Oando Refinery emphasized the need to show empathy and not pity.

Some of the questions were directed at the government and these were addressed by the Lagos State government representatives in the room.

The Permanent Secretary for Youth and Development Lagos State was represented by the Director for Child Development, Mrs Olubukayo  Odukoya. 

The Permanent Secretary for Education Lagos State was represented by officers from Education Division 4 at Yaba. 

These discussions were very educative, eye opening and definitely there is a lot of work for all stakeholders in entrenching disability inclusion in our society.

The students watched a documentary, they listened to speakers living with disabilities. They also heard from experts. They had the opportunity to ask questions. It was time for them to come up with recommendations for Lagos State government in other to promote disability inclusion. 

The students were asked to pick their groups through ballot. They were divided into five teams of three students each. 

They left the room to another room where they could brainstorm. They had less than 40mins to work on their task. The brainstorming room had tables with no chairs. The students took different positions. 

They deliberated on issues, chose the areas they wanted to focus on. They picked their team leaders and it was time to face the judges.

The judges include:

  • Mr Henry Hector Amiwero, Head Legal, Compliance & Communications
  • Mr Ayo Ajose Adeogun, CEO, Oando Refinery
  • Mr Joel Nwokeoma, Opinion Editorial, Page Editor, The Punch Newspaper
  • Mrs Dotun Akande, Founder, Patrick Speech & Language
  • Director for Child Development, Mrs Olubukayo Odukoya
  • Tonye Foloughi Ekezie, A media consultant, an inclusion advocate
  • Adetokunbo Oyo Ogunsanya, Head HR, Inlaks Limited.

The competition was highly competitive. One could see that the students had listened during the earlier sessions.  Most of the students recommended inclusive education for all schools in Lagos State. 

Some recommended recognition for successful people living with disabilities as this will show that there is ability in disability.

Some students recommended increase in Paralympics; while some students recommended ramps in public places to make buildings assessable to people living with disabilities.

At the end of the event, the judges made their decisions and the winners emerged.

Winners of the Think Tank Competition

1st position -Team B

  1. Buyikunmi Owo-Odusi from Meadow Hall
  2. Ruth Onome from St Joseph Secondary School
  3. Udo Uzoagba from Kings College

2nd position Team D

  1. Ginikachi Uwasomba – Kings Emmanuel Progressive College, Ayobo
  2. Daniella Amasowomwan –  Linsy Secondary School
  3. Abogunrin Oluwapelumi – Iju Grammar School

3rd position Team E

  1. Opral Ogbonna – Dowen College
  2. Oyinkansola Adebajo – Grace Schools
  3. Omotoso Oluwadabira – Avicenna


The winners of the Essay Competition:

1st position- Opral Ogbonna from Dowen College

2nd position – Saidat Lamina from Iju Grammar School

3rd position – Ginikachi Uwasomba from King Emmanuel Progressive College

The event ended with the convener, Bukola Ayinde, inspiring the students to remember all that they had learnt. She told them they should spread the news and make a difference in their schools and areas of influence. She also told them that when they become leaders they should make informed decisions about people living with disabilities and therefore make the world a better place to live for everyone.

Indeed, it was a great beginning of better things to come in disability inclusion advocacy.

Our volunteers at this event include

  1. Olaitan Boboye
  2. Rita Arewa
  3. Comfort Effiong
  4. Temitope Osoba

Our sponsors at the event are:

  1. British Council provided the venue
  2. Total E & P Nigerian Cooperative provided funds for logistics, feeding, gifts for speakers and invited guests with disability as well as gifts for student participants.
  3. Guaranty Trust Bank donated N450,000.00 for first and second position (Think Tank Competition)
  4. Mr Lawrence Ayinde donated N75,000 for third position (Think Tank Competition)
  5. Inlaks Limited donated two HP laptops for first and Second position (Essay Writing Competition)
  6. QuiverFull Foundation donated a dell laptop for third position (Essay Writing Competition)

Disability Awareness Campaign (DAC) – Maiden Edition ART meets DAC 2019

On the 30th of March, 2019. Diary of A Special Needs Mum Initiative through its foundation, P4:13 Foundation organized its Maiden Edition of Disability Awareness Campaign for kids.

Children within the ages of eight to twelve were asked to write in less than 150 words the reason they wanted to attend the program. Participants were picked on a first come, first served basis.

Twenty-five pupils were selected and brought together at the British Council, Ikoyi to have fun learning how to paint as well to learn about people living with disabilities. It was a fusion of art and disability awareness.

The painting session was taught by Bunmi Sani and her team from Art & Lounge.

After their painting session, they watched a documentary about a five year old girl living with cerebral palsy who attends a mainstream school. They also had the opportunity to listen to Miss Tobiloba Ajayi who is a lawyer living with cerebral palsy. Other speakers include, Mrs Lynda Ashaolu, Programme Manager Schools Education & Society, British Council; Mrs Bukola Ayinde, convener of the event.

Thereafter the participants were given the opportunity to ask questions.

Then the questions poured in. Kids are definitely far more open than adults. All their questions were answered and they left the program knowing that though we may be different in some instances we are all the same, created by God for his purpose. 

They learnt that being kind was the new cool; they were encouraged not to bully, not to say mean words about people who look or act differently from them. 

After that session, the children were divided into two teams. Each team painted on a canvas. Team one was called Thirteen Great Stars and the second team, Alpha Red.

The canvasses were to be donated to an orphanage with children living with disabilities. The children did a marvelous job painting.

Parents, guardians and teachers who brought the children for the program were not left behind. They were in another room having a meaningful conversation about disability management. This session was facilitated by Tobiloba Ajayi, Mrs Folusho Liasu, Founder, Superparents Foundation; Jimmy Asuni, Banker at Llyods Bank London and author of Dare To Be Imperfect.

 A lot of myths about disability were debunked. They learnt about the major causes of some disabilities. They also learnt about inclusive education and how it can work.

It was a time of learning, unlearning and relearning.

It is worthy of mention that the canvasses painted by the participants at the event (along with a cash gift of N10,000)  were donated to Jesus Kids home for children with special needs, founded by Pastor Mrs Ololade Adamolekun in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Our other partners for the event include:

  • British Council Nigeria – They provided the venue
  • Art & Lounge – Our Artist for the day
  • Mrs Titilayo Oyebolu – She provided the drinks for the event

Our volunteers for the event include:

Miss Sade Adeshida

Mr Olaitan Boboye

My Name is Nimi Challenge for students and teachers

Diary of a Special Needs Mum put together a competition for students and teachers to celebrate the World Book Day that held on the 7th of March, 2019.

Primary school children within the ages of five and seven years were re to read the book, My Name is Nimi and write a letter or a video recording to the author telling her what they had learn from the book.

While the teachers were to read the book to their students in school. Thereafter, the teacher should make a video telling the author what the students learnt from reading the book.

The winners for the student’s category are

1.Caleb Akindaini 7 years old

2. Briella Uko         6 years old

The winner for the teacher’s category is

  1. Adetokunbo Adetola Abigail

The students were given a surprised gift and a box of pizza each. While the teacher was given the sum of N50,000.