‘Support group’ workshop for parents with special needs children

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Twenty-two parents with special needs children benefitted from a one-day ‘support group’ workshop, geared towards providing moral and mental health support.

This initiative, held today, at Cara Lodge, is being hosted in observance of World Physical Therapy Day 2018 under the theme, “Physical therapy and mental health”, which focusses on the role of physical therapy and physical activity in mental health.

The workshop is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Public Health and the Guyana Physiotherapy Association.

Director, Disability and Rehabilitation Services, Dr. Ariane Mangar, told DPI that the department recognises the challenges parents with special needs children face. This, she said, led the ministry to provide an avenue for the parents to discuss their experiences and others who are facing similar circumstances.

Dr. Mangar said the workshop largely targeted parents with children who have microcephaly. This is a condition in which the brain does not develop properly resulting in an unusually small head. It is highly unlikely that development thereafter could be normal.

“Having a disabled child is a hard task to cope with daily.  It can be challenging both financially and emotionally. So, today we are providing that necessary emotional support.”

It was highlighted by Dr. Mangar that the Health Ministry has recorded 20 cases of children living with microcephaly in Guyana.

Parents welcomed the programme explaining it will assist them to cope with and better understand ways to care for their children.

One of the parents, Elliot Daniels, in an invited comment said, that he spoke to a friend about caring for his child, “He told me that there is a rehabilitation centre in Georgetown and that we should come. So, we took his advice and now we are here…It is going to help us a great deal in coping with our child and assist with bring her up like any other child.”

World Physical Therapy Day observed on September 8th is an opportunity for physiotherapists from across the globe to raise awareness about the crucial contribution the profession makes to keeping people well, mobile and independent.

By: Neola Damon and Kimberly Ferreira.

Images by Jameel Mohammed.

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