On 20-21 September, on the basis of the BRA-centre “Open Doors” of the NGO “Belarusian association of assistance to children and young people with disabilities”, families which look after children with disabilities had consultations with the specialists from Switzerland.
Consultations were provided by Dr. Thomas Weggemann, children’s neurologist and psychiatrist, who has 30-year experience of work with children with psychophysical disabilities, and by Dr. Raymond M. Guggenheim.
8 children with disabilities from Minsk and Minsk region received consultations on the basis of the centre.
Parents were greatly satisfied with the consultations.
Mother, Irina, says: “I would like to say that it has been the 1st time when Nikita and I received such a comprehensive consultation, even in spite of the fact that the doctor didn’t spent much time with my child… That is why one can say with certainty that this man follows his vocation. Medical history wasn’t important for him. He just asked questions, listened to my answers and examined the child. Then he made up a perfect conclusion and gave advice on how to work with my child.
He was one among those few doctors who told me that if I worked with my child, he would achieve good results in the future, and wouldn’t differ from ordinary children.
At the end of the meeting he wished me strength and patience to wait until my baby can walk without assistance, talk and do simple things.
I am grateful to him for having time to come to our country and consult our beloved children. I am thankful for the doctor’s expertise. Our country, especially our city Borisov, lack for such specialists…specialists who can explain our mummies how to work correctly with their children.”
Many practical recommendations, which can also be useful for other parents who faced similar problems, were given by the specialists.
Nataliya, Artem’s mother (the boy has severe epilepsy):
“The doctor gave advice about rehabilitation. He is sure that our child needs hippotherapy and medical gymnastics, including ball exercises which develop coordination of movement. And then my child will probably learn to walk without assistance. But the thing is that our doctors are against any stimulation, as they consider that stimulation provokes fits. It is easier for them not to work with the child, to be out of harm’s way.
The doctor also gave advice about drooling. I’ve never heard before that I shouldn’t use handkerchief to wipe saliva around my child’s mouth. The doctor said that I had to press the handkerchief tight to his skin, as this is important for the child’s tactile sensation.”
Irina, Nikita’s mother (the boy has hydrocephalus and infantile cerebral paralysis):
“The doctor examined my child, and made up a comprehensive conclusion. He explained many things: which defect appears in the process of movements, the reason for this defect and possible consequences which may appear if I do not work with my boy. Besides, the doctor gave precious advice on how to do exercises correctly so that my child can learn to walk without assistance. We also talked about speech development. The specialist said that medications wouldn’t contribute to speedy speech development (sentence formation and use of dialogue as a form of communication). The only thing which will help is hard work … Only diligent work will yield the results we would like to achieve.”
Marina, Matthew’s mother (the boy has Landau–Kleffner syndrome):
“I have been thinking about one question for a long time – should I organize dolphin therapy for my son? The specialist explained to me that communication with horses (hippotherapy) has the same influence on people as communication with dolphins. He said that dolphins in the sea are horses in the mountains.”
One more family received consultation at home, in Bobruisk (Mogilev region).
Mother, Olga, says: “Kirill is 7 years old. He has severe infantile cerebral paralysis, epilepsy, partial optic nerve atrophy and kidney disease. The boy is lying all the time: he doesn’t walk, doesn’t sit, he can’t hold his head up, he can eat only grinded food, it’s difficult for him to put on weight. Moreover, contractures have occurred.”
The doctor advised the mother to change the position for her child. He recommended sewing special objects filled with salt or sand, and using them for “stretching”. He also gave advice about the diet for Kirill, about inoculations.
Olga continues: “I have learned a lot of new things, and we can now avoid many problems thanks to the doctor’s advice. The most important thing is that I got added evidence that no matter what, I correctly help my child to be a part of this world.”
The doctor continues to contact the family, gives additional recommendations to Olga.
Parents and employees of the NGO “BelAPDIiMI” are grateful to Mr. Weggemann, Mr. Guggenheim and Anatoliy, the interpreter, for rendering assistance to our children and their parents!