Social Work students want to learn more about cerebral palsy

Some students from the Department of Social Work, University of Ghana, will on Monday start their concurrent field work at the With God Cerebral Palsy Centre, an inclusive centre for children with cerebral palsy.

The students said as part of their academic work they were required to work with social groups and were directed to the centre. They indicated that they are ready to learn, reach out and adapt to the needs of children with cerebral palsy.

Ms Emelia Abugzio, Group Leader of the students, said they usually grouped all children with special needs as children with intellectual difficulties so their 13 weeks at the centre will enable them ascertain for themselves, whether children with cerebral palsy can be classified as such.

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Executive Director of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme of cerebral palsy, explained to them that most children with cerebral palsy have their cognitive part intact and cannot be classified intellectually disabled.

She said: “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 called on the government to facilitate the creation of more of such centres in the country to enable parents of children with cerebral palsy have a place to take their children to during working hours.

“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 added.

Mrs Awadzi said most day care centres refuse children with cerebral palsy admission because they are unable to walk, talk and are usually not toilet trained.

She called on the 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.

She said: “We need special educators to be attached to this centre, we need volunteers, social workers, therapists to support the work of the centre.”

The centre currently does not generate any income, parents who take their children during working hours do so free of charge.

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