Mothers join hands to help special children break barriers

Physical training for children with cerebral palsy, autism, and Down Syndrome launched in Kozhikode

November 28, 2021 12:46 am | Updated 12:46 am IST - Kozhikode

As the mother of a five-year-old, Rahmath Nazeer was fed up with the standard answer from even experienced doctors when asked about her daughter’s condition.

They said the child with Down Syndrome and heart ailments may not survive for long. But the mother in Rahmath believed that proper therapy and attention could help her child lead a normal life. Thus she joined hands with others with similar experience, and Angels Group was formed.

Having launched a physical training programme for children with conditions like cerebral palsy, autism, and Down Syndrome in Kozhikode on Friday, Rahmath feels her dream is not so far-fetched after all.

“I had been in contact with parents of many children with similar conditions, and they were unanimous in their view that hospitals and doctors generally did not offer hope when it came to such children. I felt the need to do something in my capacity and thus decided to organise physical training sessions to start with,” Rahmath told The Hindu .

Learning about the way such children are trained in many foreign countries, including the UAE, was a turning point for her. “These conditions take a greater toll on mothers, who often shrink into their own shells. They cannot take their children to social events, and hence, they choose to stay away from them. This is a wrong attitude,” Rahmath said.

According to her, children with special needs should be allowed to mingle with others and join activities to improve their mental capacity. She cited the example of her daughter who likes to dance and learn lyrics. “It requires patience. These kids may be hyper-active. But we need to understand them and tolerate their behaviour,” she said, adding that being forced to coop up in their homes during the pandemic had an adverse impact on them.

On Friday, a group of 18 children and their parents assembled on a football turf at Kolathara where a coach was ready to train them. They had some warm-up exercises and minor sessions in running and long jump, which they actively took part in. The event was inaugurated by specially abled children who overcame their problems.

“Our greatest worry is that there is no facility in the State to take care of children like ours, once they turn mature. That is when they should be given vocational training,” Rahmath said. She urged the State Government to set up therapy centres in all panchayats, as such facilities are available only in towns now. “Parents should be incorporated into training, so that the children will feel at home. Also, we have no facility to take care of adults with similar conditions,” she said.

Encouraged by the positive response from parents, Angels Group is now planning its next training session.

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