Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation opens Dream Centre at Wattala

The Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation is a non – profitable organization set up to assist persons affected by this condition as well as their family members. The five directors of the foundation are Mr. Gopi Kitnasamy BSc MCSP(UK) MIMDTP(UK) Certified Paediatric Bobath therapist , Consultant Paediatrician Dr. Siromi Panditharatne, Mr. Jalia Uduwella, Senior Physiotherapist at LRH, Mr. Poorna De Silva, Teacher at Stafford International and Ms. Dilani Gopi.

This foundation (CPLF) is the first organization in Sri Lanka set up to provide educational and therapeutic services for children with cerebral palsy and associated movement disorders. The aim is, to make these children independent and confident, create a sense of self esteem within them, and encourage parents and the community within which the children live to recognize the need to inculcate such self esteem for the children. This centre has ambitious programs in the field of therapy, to be coordinated with awareness building and training programs for parents and for the dissemination of information through interaction with the public. Through the implementation of these programs the Foundation will help to co-opt the affected individuals into the societal fold, to become a part and not a discard of society.

For the first time in Sri Lanka, children affected by cerebral palsy condition will be able to access relief provided through therapy and education at the centre called the DREAM CENTRE. The Dream Centre is appropriately named for it offers the hopes for a more meaningful direction to the lives of children affected by cerebral palsy as well as to their parents. Both these children and their parents have hitherto, not been able to reach out for treatment in a centralised place where the focus is on helping to integrate the child with the rest of the community through specialised treatment and dissemination of information through greater understanding of the treatment ‘processes’. These Dream Centres will be spread out in the different parts of the country so as to give easy access to those living outside the metropolis.

What is Cerebral palsy?

Cerebral Palsy can occur at different points in time. It can happen when the child is growing in the womb, during birth or shortly thereafter. A disruption of nerve signals between the brain and the muscles, affecting movement, posture, and coordination, results in the condition called the cerebral palsy. The disorientation can range from minor to severely affected individuals depending on which parts of the brain are mal functioning.

The incidence of children with cerebral palsy is a high 12 – 15 per 1000 births in Sri Lanka while it is as low as 6 per thousand births in the developed world. The estimated number of Cerebral Palsy children is 40,000 for Sri Lanka, a significantly large number to be left without therapeutic assistance.

Although Cerebral Palsy is not curable there are many specialized treatment available today that provide therapy to make it possible for children to become active and participating members within their family and community given the limitations of their disability.

A few of the treatment programmed to be used in the Dream Centres:

* Bobath therapy or Neuro- Developmental therapy by which the child will be encouraged to move and function as normally as possible. It is believed that the child’s abnormal postures and movements can be changed or adapted to develop a better quality of functional skills.

* Conductive Education is based on the theory that the brain can learn and relearn movements and control. Conductive education is a learning process and not a treatment or therapy. The participants are trained in the components of skills, which are needed to meet the challenges of everyday life. They become active participants in the learning process and not recipients of a treatment.

* Suit therapy – this is a special suit given to children with movement disorders. This suit helps with the muscle tone, balance and the position of the body in space.

* Sensory Integration therapy is occupational therapy designed to stimulate and challenge all the senses of the child. The therapist works with the children within the confines of a room and challenges the child to respond to certain methodology adopted in this treatment.

* Hippo therapy- a Hippotheraphy machine will be used to encourage multi – dimensional movements to achieve gait training, balance, postural/core control, strengthening and range of motion goals.

* Whole Body Vibration therapy- increases bone mass and brings about improvements in muscle build up. This will help children who have poor muscle strength and control, which limits their functions and contributes to the lack of mechanical stimulation needs to build bone mass.

The Centre was opened last week at 7, Captain Kelum Rajapakse Mawatha, Wattala. CP helpline will be 0117226326.

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