Physiotherapy Is Helping Special Needs Children Improve Their Motor Skills
Co-founder of Festus Fajemilo Foundation (FFF), Afolabi Fajemilo, presented some life-changing advice to parents in a training entitled “Physiotherapy skills for parents of children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus” which was held in Abule-Egba, Lagos.
He has advised parents of children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus to deploy physiotherapy when bringing up their children, and he also believes that parents of special needs children need to have an understanding of the basic therapies in order to support their children properly.
Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect and occurs usually within the third week of pregnancy when a part of the baby’s spine does not close properly. And Hydrocephalus is a condition that takes place when fluid builds up in the baby’s skull resulting in a swelling of the brain.
“It was brought to our attention that children do not go for this kind of treatment regularly. If their children can go to the clinic, parents will also obtain a basic knowledge of what they can do to help their children. When children have their physiotherapy treatment, they are always advised to continue their therapy sessions whilst on their wards,” said Afolabi.
“The importance of physiotherapy treatment for children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus needs to be recognised. In light of this, parents need to develop the necessary skills to help their children, as normally these children tend to have limited motor skills.
“If parents possessed a basic physiotherapy skillset they would help their children improve their motor skills and independence. At present some parents are injuring their children - accidently - by practising certain physiotherapy skills incorrectly at home.
“To get the best results, a child should go to the clinic for physiotherapy treatment at least three times every week.” Afolabi concluded.
Mrs Olufumilola Adeniran, manager at Hands On Pediatric Physiotherapist Services (HOPPS), explained that Spinal Bifida and Hydrocephalus can be caused by low levels of folic acid.
Spinal Bifida and Hydrocephalus can be treated surgically, which can be conducted whilst the baby is in the womb or immediately after birth, Olufumilola said. She also explained how said surgery can cause other defects including urinary and bladder incontinence, weakness of the muscles, inadequate skin sensation, or the child could become wheelchair bound, and/or need assistance to move around.
To conclude, prevention of Spinal Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus is the only way to help these children.