Saturday, June 4, 2011
Siberian boy with cerebral palsy learns to walk in 4 days
First-ever group of Russian children with CP have come to Jerusalem’s Alyn Hospital for physical rehabilitation.
A five-year-old boy from Siberia who suffers from cerebral palsy and never walked has learned to do so after four days of rehabilitation at Jerusalem’s Alyn Hospital.
He may now for the first time attend preschool.
In this part of Russia, according to experts at the pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation center, children who are not mobile before school-age have to remain at home with their mothers rather than get out of the house, learn and play with others.
Igor, one of six CP children who arrived this week in Jerusalem with their mothers as part of the first-ever group of Russian children aged two to six who have come to Alyn for physical rehabilitation, made his first steps after receiving a special walker and undergoing physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
His mother, Natalya, said she can’t stop crying from joy.
“I didn’t know he was capable of this. He’s a good boy and is trying very hard. I am happy that he has managed to make the best of his abilities and start walking on his own,” she said on Thursday.
“Igor’s potential was there, but he was never able to benefit from the know-how and suitable equipment at Alyn that would make him able to walk.”
Physiotherapist Nurit Stern said Igor crawled around his home in Siberia and had great difficulty moving his fingers and hands. After teaching him to move his limbs, which he had not used despite his potential, he was fitted with a walker and taught to get around by himself.
The Russian government is paying for the rehabilitation of the 50 children who will arrive in groups during the rest of this year. Alyn has an excellent reputation for its work with physically disabled children.
The government in Siberia chose the Jerusalem hospital, in addition to one in Germany, to assess the children’s problems and get them up on their feet. After five days of assessment at Alyn, the children are given suitable equipment and rehabilitated.
Dr. Maurit Beeri, who this week succeeded Dr. Shirley Meyer as Alyn director-general after more than 25 years, said the hospital regards with much importance its efforts to rehabilitate children from all over the world. Working with them does not come at the expense of the many Israeli children living at, or nearby, and being treated at the institution.“We are proud that we were chosen because of our expertise,” she said.
Beeri asked Russian speakers who want to volunteer to contact the hospital and help out by communicating with the children and mothers and to participate in social activities in the afternoons. Those who are interested should call Dorit Zilberstein at (02) 649- 4330. Russian-language books and videos suitable for young children will also be very welcome.
A year ago, Alyn specialists did the same for children from Haiti who had been seriously injured and disabled in January 12’s Haitian earthquake.
Beeri, a pediatrician who also has a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, has been working at Alyn for 12 years and has run the day hospital.
She praised Meyer for her great contribution to the hospital and noted that the outgoing director-general will continue to work with children there.