For parents all over the world, having a child with disabilities not only means worries and costs that sometimes cannot be managed, but also a social stigma. This is no different in Kyrgyzstan. Consequently many of children born with a disability are put away in state-run children’s homes or lead a lonely life at home. Isolation means that the kids suffer not only of deprivation, lacking stimulation and integration but are also withheld from competent support to develop intellectual and physical abilities. Because they hardly can move on their own, their bodies become stiff and immobile and arms and legs often cannot be bent anymore. Children, parents and families are overchallenged. Here the Uplift program “Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation” can intervene.
Since 2012 physiotherapists from Europe engage with Uplift to train Uplift-mothers, orphanage staff, therapists, physicians and parents of children with disabilities in bodywork. Aim is effective support of these children so they can get a change to progress. This treatment has two positive effects: 1.) A professionally applied therapy improves the physical and emotional development. 2.) It supports parents and carers to gain certainty dealing with their impaired children and promote them according to their needs.Their new abilities give them not only competence in regards of their kids but also self-confidence which effects the whole milieu. Their new competence is a crucial contribution to dissolve stigmatisation of families with disabled children in society.
The rehabilitation and movement therapy of older children is aimed at retaining the status quo especially in the area of spasticity. Movement exercises and games are applied according to the child’s motor skills to enhance the circulation, train the muscular system and promote the experience of self-awareness. It may also boost their self-esteem and help them enjoy life again.
Most voluntary physiotherapists engaged with the Uplift program are specialized in “Bobath” therapy and “Feldenkrais” practice. They conduct training for Uplift-mothers alongside orphanage personnel, therapists, physicians and parents in the following:
The training course is conducted on different levels. First of all the know-how transfer is achieved through training on the job. The therapists are treating the children together with their carer or parent. That way the procedures and maneuvers are explained and rehearsed directly.
We organize complementary regular lessons in small groups where theoretical basic knowledge is being built up and continuously extended.
Our therapists are also giving talks in hospitals and institutions to convince doctors and nurses of the children’s viability and learning ability through actual treatment success.
An introduction course (4 modules of therapy and practice) with special methods as part of the “Bobath” therapy, depending on the institution, took place 2016-2017. 2019-2021 a training course was held (also four modules of theory and practice) on special treatment methods with aspects of Feldenkrais therapy. It is part of a nationwide competency development. Uplift-mothers from various orphanages, therapists from rehabilitation units as well as clinical doctors participated.
The positive impact which the kids experience in our program goes hand in hand with the changing mindset towards children with disabilities in society. More and more people acknowledge that a disability is not a dead end. Children with disabilities and adults can progress remarkably towards independency when supported to develop according to their specific needs.