2017 was an exciting year for a small rural rehabilitation programme in southern Africa.


Although this news item does not refer to children with acquired brain injury, we include this as an example of the unique work of one of our board members in a challenging environment.

There are 600,000 children with disabilities in South Africa who are not included in the educational system due to severity of disability, distance from services, lack of advocacy, disempowerment, ignorance and poverty.

One in every 300 children is born cerebral palsied in Africa.

10 years ago, we pioneered a rural rehabilitation programme in South Africa in order to re-integrate adults with brain injuries back into the community, into their families and into society. As of this year, an additional rehabilitation programme was initiated for a young CP boy in the rural areas in order to ‘bring education to the child’, and not the child to education.

The team of local therapists and caregivers together with the family, initiated a day programme in the rural areas which is aimed at being the start of an extended service to incorporate other children with disabilities in the same area who have not had access to education. Focussing on this eight-year old non-verbal spastic athetoid CP child, we have introduced him to a standing frame, a mobility and continence programme, oro-muscular exercises, hand and finger controls, a gaze assessment and literacy. His granny is his primary care-giver and assists as a co-therapist. In six months he has managed to reveal reading and number skills, communicate his needs and emotions using cue cards, establish continence and remain in his standing frame for his teaching sessions.

We are awaiting the software for his speech and language aids.

Prior to the start of this programme he had never stood upright.

Together with his physiotherapist, he rides a pony every week.

"We look forward to the next chapter as we share our work and challenges in working with children with brain injuries with other clinicians and teachers across the world."

by Alison Madden - IPBIS Board Member "2017 was an exciting year for a small rural rehabilitation programme in southern Africa. "


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