Performing miracles with disabled children - South Woodford’s Rose Walton Centre
PUBLISHED: 11:30 16 March 2013
For most parents, seeing their child crawl for the first time is an extremely emotional experience.
What is cerebral palsy?
It’s a general term covering a number of neurological conditions that affect a child’s movement and co-ordination. Neurological conditions affect the brain and nervous system.
What causes cerebral palsy?
It is caused by damage to the brain either before, during or soon after birth. Known causes include:
• Infection in early pregnancy
• A difficult or premature birth
• Bleeding in the baby’s brain
• Abnormal brain development in the baby
What symptoms are there?
These vary from each child and depends on the particular type of cerebral palsy. Children with the condition often have other symptoms which include:
• Learning difficulties
• Visual impairment
• Hearing impairment
• Delayed growth
There is no cure for cerebral palsy but treatments are available which can help relieve symptoms and increase a child’s self-esteem such as physiotherapy and medication.
For the parents of two-year-old Ibrahim Mughal however, it was miraculous, as it was something they thought they might never see.
Ibrahim was born with a form of cerebral palsy, a condition which affects one in every 400 children.
Cerebral palsy can affect a person’s movement, sight and hearing, but they have the same feelings, needs and wants as those with able bodies.
Saadia Mughal gave birth to Ibrahim after a traumatic labour which went on for days. From the moment he was born, Ibrahim had health problems, struggling to take in enough oxygen and having seizures. Although doctors cannot give his parents a precise diagnosis, cerebral palsy is the closet description of the condition which stops him walking and talking like other children.
Mrs Mughal, 29, of Walthamstow, said: “After 11 days in intensive care we brought him home. It’s not something they were able to diagnose, but it’s closest to cerebral palsy.”
For the next two years Ibrahim visited doctors and physiotherapists before his mum heard about conductive education from a family member.
After doing some research she discovered the Rose Walton Centre, Crescent Road, South Woodford which has helped numerous children since it was established in 1992.
“He started doing sessions there in July last year, each week,” Mrs Mughal said. “He’s made a lot of improvements. Even the doctors noticed the difference after a few months.”
Pauline Tingey set up the centre after her grandson was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and got help from a similar programme known as the Peto method of conductive education in Hungary.
Impressed by the improvements her grandson made, she, together with her daughter Leanne Thompson, decided they could help other families too.
As the programme was not offered in the UK they set about running sessions from their home before moving to the centre in South Woodford.
Mrs Tingey said: “When we became a charity we called it the Rose Walton Centre after my mother – it was in tribute to her. We felt we could help other children and we have now been here for 21 years.”
Although her grandson Anthony died when he was 17, Mrs Tingey said the work they continue to do helping other families is a good thing to do in his memory.
She said: “Unfortunately we lost my grandson. He was not ill or anything – sometimes children with cerebral palsy go to bed and don’t wake up in the morning. We have helped many children through him, which is a really nice memory to my grandson.”
The programme involves the children doing a range of movements repeatedly, supported by their parents who then continue the work at home.
Pauline said: “Children with cerebral palsy are often quite bright individuals – they are just inside a body that will not do what they want it to do.”
Over time these exercises can improve a child’s ability to move, meaning some go on to walk giving them more independence.
Mrs Tingey said: “We try to make the child do things they cannot do. For example, we get them into the crawling position and then move them. We get their parents to incorporate it into home life.”
When a new family approaches the centre for help the child undergoes an assessment to see if they are suitable for the programme.
“If we think they are suitable they come along for four weeks in which we don’t charge and we do more assessments of what their child’s needs are,” Mrs Tingey added.
“Then we do group work and encourage the children to interact with each other.”
The centre is open five days a week and is run through fundraising and donations.
You contact them on 020 8504 2702, or visit www.rosewaltoncentre.org.uk.
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