Help them take the first step! Stories of Children with Disabilities Worth Hearing08.08.2023 | 09:41 |
Seeing the first steps of your child is a long-awaited and joyful moment in the life of any parent. But when the mothers and fathers of the wards of the Rehabilitation and Recovery Center for the Disabled of Turkmenistan see the first steps of their children, this is a real miracle for them.
Rehabilitation of children with disabilities can take years, and the wait can be excruciating.
“Moms call and cry. Sobbing into the phone: “She started walking! You succeded!". It's very nice to know about this. We are always glad when months and years of rehabilitation bear fruit. For the sake of these moments, we are working,” deputy director of the Center, Lyale Tuliyeva said.
The Rehabilitation and Recovery Center for the Disabled of Turkmenistan proves every day that the life of children with disabilities can be full and happy. Individual enterprises, business associations, entrepreneurs and government agencies help this charitable organization. In addition to rehabilitation work, the Center helps registered disabled people and disabled children to get access to medicines, walkers and wheelchairs.
Mostly women work in the Center. Both highly qualified specialists with specialized medical education and simply caring people have found their calling here.
The management office is modestly equipped. A couple of tables, closets and a domestic-made Tolkun TV connected to CCTV cameras in a small area. Other premises of the Center are equipped with ordinary and specialized exercise equipment for the disabled, multi-colored desks and chairs. Photos from events and children's drawings hang everywhere on the walls.
One of the children's favorite places in the Center is the sand art therapy table. Here they create various images from sand on a luminous table with their hands, at the same time developing fine motor skills and peering enchantedly at the resulting pictures.
Everything that is in the Center is donated or purchased with donations from philanthropists.
How do volunteers help the Center? Huge. Because any help counts. Someone buys teaching aids for children, someone helps with the purchase of special equipment - simulators, toys that develop motor skills, etc. Some of the funds are directly transferred to the account of a charitable organization (details for money transfers are indicated at the end of the article).
“Many of our children have gone. Many children spoke. Most parents are happy. Everything here is free of charge, and we all work for the result with professionalism and love for our work,” the Center’s speech therapist Leyla Ovlyakuliyeva said.
The Center has a health and rehabilitation gym and a massage room, a gym, rooms for a speech therapist, disabled people with reduced motor skills, treatment with electrophoresis, ozocerite and paraffin, as well as a water complex for aqua therapy, a music and art circle.
Every day, the specialists of the Center fight for the well-being of their wards. For example, an instructor in physical therapy (exercise therapy) Maral, literally raises children to their feet.
“When children with cerebral palsy have spasticity, when they have paresis, paralysis, we first of all try to teach them at least the grip,” she explains. - “Then, in sequence, by stages the child develops - first a child holds his head, then he starts to turn the head, then sit, then he gets on all fours, crawl, gets up ... it's very hard, it's a very long process."
When asked to give an example of the successful rehabilitation of a child with a disability, Maral told the story of a boy named Kakajan.
The first thing that the exercise therapy instructor remembered in the case of Kakadzhan was that the crutches were not suitable for him. They seemed to outweigh the fragile boy with cerebral palsy. The upper part of the body - the torso, his neck and arms were movable, and his legs - only partially.
The child was engaged in both active and passive gymnastics. Passive means that the patient is completely relaxed, and the trainer does all the movements for him. That is, the muscles work, but without activation of the central nervous system. This is done in order to “start” and “warm up” muscle tissue. During active gymnastics, which follows the passive, Kakadzhan walked on the simulator, trained his hands on his own.
The Center makes sure that along with physical development, children with disabilities develop mental abilities as well. “Sometimes parents can completely focus only on physical exercises, thinking that the rest of the activities will have to wait. They say “first you need to learn how to walk, and then think”. But we do not share this approach,” Maral said. Therefore, from the very beginning, Kakadzhan visited almost all the Center's rooms, receiving comprehensive rehabilitation.
It took Kakadzhan almost 3 years to start walking on his own.
Of course, situations are very different.
Once Masha came to the Center with her parents. The girl with Down syndrome was only one year old, and “her legs could almost be just taken and tied with a bow,” Maral said.
Masha's rehabilitation took about two years. But it is interesting that another girl, whose name was Gulnaz, had a practically similar health situation. Like Masha, she had hyperplasia of the articular ligaments. Her legs were completely unresponsive. But it took her much less time to recover.
“Once my mother brought Gulnaz. She put her on the floor. The girl just walked up to my desk, took a pen and showed that she wanted to draw on magazines. I stand and think: “the child is standing. She came to me a month ago - she didn’t even crawl. What's happened?". I ask the mother. She says: “yes, yes, she goes, thank you!”. And this is literally a month of work,” Maral recalled.
At the same time, the rehabilitation of children with disabilities in itself is only part of the benefits that the Center brings.
Entering her room, speech therapist Leyla Ovlyakuliyeva says: “Here I talk to children, teach them to think, teach them to reason, at least to learn about the world. Because children who have cerebral palsy, they practically cannot go anywhere, they cannot communicate with other children. They have a narrow outlook. Therefore, we have to start from the very basics - “this is a cow”, “this is a dog”. This is given very hard. But we love this job. Because our kids are good.
Thanks to regular classes at the Center, children with disabilities not only get to know the world better, they get the opportunity to be with other people - peers who are similar to them, with teachers who are kind to them. Here they play, communicate and feel like full members of society.
Every year the Center sends disabled children to the tourist zone "Avaza" in groups of 10-15 people.
For many of them, this is the biggest journey of their lives.
Children in a solemn atmosphere are seen off on the train. They are also accompanied by parents, a teacher and an instructor from the Center. In the same place, in Avaza, children receive medical procedures in gyms and specialized pools. Meals, accommodation and entertainment are provided free of charge.
Such trips are possible thanks to the help of hotels and other organizations contacted by the Rehabilitation and Recovery Center for the Disabled. Such appeals, the search for possible sponsors and other tasks are handled by a small administration, including deputy director Lyale Tuliyeva, whose words we quoted at the beginning of the article.
“Every year, more and more people become permanent wards of our Center,” continues Lyale. “Now there are more than 300 disabled children. If we give specific figures, then in 2017 we carried out 3,600 hours of rehabilitation work. In 2022, this figure reached 5600 hours. That is, we provide the most important services one and a half times more - restorative massage, exercise therapy and other medical procedures that put our children on their feet.
At the same time, even those children who have already completed a long-term rehabilitation course and are sufficiently ready to enter a new stage of physical and psychological development still continue to come to the Center. Because the level of trust and affection for the teachers and instructors of the Center is very high. Not only for the children themselves, but also for their parents, who want their children to continue to study with the best specialists.
And we believe they are right.
Dozens of wards of the Rehabilitation and Recovery Center for the Disabled of Turkmenistan have achieved significant results in various fields, for example, in sports.
The Center is amazing in that it exceeds the boldest expectations of parents of children with disabilities. Some mothers and fathers who have never experienced a disability may fall into despair after the birth of a child with special needs and think that their child will never be able to live a full life. Here they radically change their minds.
The children themselves like the Center. “Our specialists do not wear white coats. Children are not afraid of them, like doctors. And we always have something interesting to do. Exercise equipment, wall bars, climbing wall, sand art therapy board. The children really like all this, and leaving this place, already the next day many dream of returning here as soon as possible,” the deputy director of the Center said.
Anyone can help the Center. Both financially and by becoming a volunteer. Any help will bring results if you sincerely do good. Join us!
Bank details of the Rehabilitation and Recovery Center for the Disabled of Turkmenistan:
“Turkmenistan” DTB Aşgabat ş.
Tel: (+993 65) 500813, (+993 12) 936399.