Anthony is a 3 year old boy who was born with Cerebral Palsy. His family is from Kenya, Africa, but immigrated to the country of South Africa because of the Tribal Wars in their home country, Kenya. Since immigrating, although well educated, Anthony's parents have struggled to find work, and as a result they have struggled to provide Anthony with the health care he needs.
Ok, quick detour, so what is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a disorder that is caused by damage to the brain either before or during childbirth (congenital), or during the first 3 to 5 years of a child's life. Cerebral palsy affects muscle tone, control of movement and coordination, making even simple movements and activities like eating, sitting, standing, controlling your bladder and bowel and breathing rhythmically difficult and sometimes impossible. It can also affect vision, hearing, speech and the ability to learn, communicate and understand.
The three types of CP are (2011, The Nemours Foundation):
- spastic cerebral palsy — causes stiffness and movement difficulties
- athetoid cerebral palsy — leads to involuntary and uncontrolled movements
- ataxic cerebral palsy — causes a disturbed sense of balance and depth perception
Basically, it's damage to the brain, which results in all sorts of problems! These problems mean that Anthony needs A LOT more than the average child...
- Because he cannot sit or walk by himself, he requires equipment like a Buggy (a child's stroller with extra support and personalized fitting, made specifically to suit the needs of a CP child), a standing frame (to allow him to stand with support), a ring walker (to allow him to walk with support).
- Because his muscles are so tight and weak, and he cannot sit, stand or walk by himself, he needs Physical Therapy (PT) to teach him to do these things and much more.
- Because his learning and functional activities are affected he needs Occupational Therapy (OT) to teach him to eat, dress himself, learn new things etc.
- Because he struggles to speak, chew and swallow he needs Speech Therapy (ST) and input from a Dietician, as well as specific foods.
- In addition, he will need to see a Doctor and other members of the Health Care Team (e.g. a Dentist because of tooth decay from unswallowed saliva).
That's a lot of Health Care! On top of this, Anthony would really benefit from a stimulating home environment, with educational toys and blocks to climb over etc.
So, that's where we come in! Most of you are familiar with TEAM ANTHONY...