A family has been living in a camp for Syrian refugees since war forced them to leave their home country several years ago. The mother tries to give her best for her children, especially for her son Abd al Kareem*, born in July 2021. Our Community Based Rehabilitation team first met Abd al Kareem about five months ago near his second birthday. Due to cerebral palsy and trisomy 21 syndrome, he was unable to stand on his feet or sit by himself. He didn’t crawl and turning over from his back to his belly was too difficult. His lower limbs were very weak. Abd al Kareem was always crying when we visited him, and he seemed fearful and anxious.
During our first few weekly home visits, we instructed the mother on how to do exercises with her boy and we spoke words of encouragement to her. We also noticed that she tended to be overly concerned about Abd al Kareem's needs, which was affecting her ability to care well for her other children.
After regular follow-ups for four or five months, the mom noticed positive changes in her son. On his own, he began to stand up and to hold himself on the wall. Abd al Kareem was now able to stand for about five seconds which was an achievement. In addition, he learned to stand, grab, and hold objects all at the same time.
All these developments influenced his mother’s health and well-being. Taking good care Abd al Kareem became less exhausting for her. For example, he did not need to sit on her lap anymore, but he could sit and even eat independently. Abd al Kareem learned how to turn from his back to his belly without anyone helping him and how to push himself up with his hands.
As we got to know the mother better, we also addressed different topics related to how to take care of her own needs as a caregiver and how to respond to the differing needs of all her children.
Over only a few months we have witnessed this mother’s growing joy with the changes and the progress in Abd al Kareem’s life. She is consistently doing the exercises with her son and taking good care of him. Moreover, she has now become more present and attentive to her other children too.
* Name changed