Child Of The Month
By Barb Corol
This beautiful little girl is Maria Jose, diagnosed shortly after birth with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a broad term used to describe a group of chronic “palsies” – disorders that impair control of movement due to damage to the developing brain. CP usually develops by age 2 or 3 and is a nonprogressive brain disorder which means the brain does not continue to worsen throughout life. The symptoms however, due to the brain damage, often change over time; sometimes getting better and sometimes getting worse. CP is one of the most common causes of chronic childhood disability.
Much remains unknown about the disorder’s causes but evidence supports theories that infections, birth injuries and poor oxygen supply to the brain before, during and immediately after birth are common factors. Premature infants are particularly vulnerable. Severe illness such as meningitis during the first year of life, physical trauma, and severe dehydration can cause brain injury and result in CP.
Maria Jose has been bedridden since birth. She lives with her mom Sandra and two siblings. Dad is not in the picture and does not support the family.
Mom first presented Maria Jose to Niños Incapacitados in February 2008. During the initial intake we learned that Maria Jose is dependent on oxygen and since she cannot swallow, a gastrostomy tube had to be in inserted directly into her stomach to allow her to receive daily nourishment and medications.
CP cannot be cured; however a variety of resources and therapies can provide help and improve the quality of life for the individual. Unfortunately the family was not in a position to avail themselves of any such help and one has to wonder if it was even offered.
Maria Jose is on anti-spasm medications, muscle relaxants, immune boosters, anti-convulsive and asthma medications as well as a host of other medications and supplements to help ward off infections and viruses. She wears diapers and twice yearly her feeding tube must be replaced. There are special antiseptic creams to prevent bed sores, special milk products to provide nutrition as well as food supplements and vitamins. Since joining Niños Incapacitados, we have reimbursed the family 151,000 pesos. Mom is very grateful for all our help.
Most children with CP can live long, happy, quality lives. However, the severity level of the child’s condition, as well as improper management of his or her symptoms, may put the child at risk for diminished life expectancy.
Maria Jose falls into the latter category, thankful she is cared for by a loving family with a mom who dotes on her and two siblings who enjoy spending time with her and making her feel wanted.
As Director of the Jocotopec Clinic, thank you again for the opportunity of presenting one of our children.
Reminder, the Niños Incapacitados monthly meetings have resumed. Join us on October 10th, 2013 to meet another of our children. Our meetings are held at the Real de Chapala Hotel in Lower La Floresta, starting with coffee at 10:00, meeting at 10:30. If you would like to learn more about Niños Incapacitados, we encourage you to visit our website at www.programaniños.org or call Rich Petersen (376-765-5511) or Barb Corol (376-766-5452).