Lebanon | Supporting mothers and children with disabilities
A few months after her son Abdel’s birth, Ibtissam realized that he did not react like other babies: he could not grasp objects, he could not sit up by himself, and he was having spasms. When her son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she turned to various rehabilitation centers to treat her child.
“The public centers would not accept us because I’m a Palestinian national,” says Ibtissam. “I was referred to a private clinic, but the cost of the sessions was far too high. That's when I was told about Mousawat Rehabilitation Center. Through its partnership with the center, Humanity & Inclusion provides free rehabilitation services to needy families.
For the past two years, Abdel has received occupational, physical, and speech therapy at the center. The staff has also taught Ibtissam physical therapy exercises to do with Abdel at home.
Since he began his treatment, the boy has made continual progress: "His physical impairments have improved significantly,” says Ibtisam. “He is also starting to understand when I talk to him, which he couldn’t do before. I hope that in the future he will be able to express himself, for example, when he is hungry or in pain. I would like him to become more and more independent.”
A psychologist helps Ibtissam through the process. "He gives me advice on how to communicate with my child without getting tense,” says Ibtissam. “I’ve learned to give Abdel space, so he becomes more self-sufficient.”
Parents of children treated at the center attend a support group. It gives mothers the opportunity to talk about the daily challenges they face and to support each other: "I realized that even if my family doesn’t accept my son, I have to do my best to include him in it,” says Ibtissam. “This self-help group has given me hope again.”