Assisting the Special Needs Child during the COVID-19 Lockdown. PHYSIOTHERAPY Part 4.


In February 2020, the first case of COVID19 disease was recorded in Nigeria, which has impacted the health sector such that most health facilities reviewed their services rendered to clients and patients. The government agencies took steps and actions to curb the spread of this virus. However, it appears the effects on People living with disabilities(PLWDs) are enormous.

It is worrisome to note that caregivers/guardians/ parents are under pressure and burdened in catering to this special population. There is a high tendency for their medical conditions to worsen or relapse. In this period, PLWDs could be faced with complications such as joint contractures, respiratory compromise, poor endurance, reduced functional capacities, muscle stiffness, and weakness.

On this note, it is essential for their loved ones not to give up. This is a time PLWDs need us most. You should keep their dreams and hopes alive. In view of this, some activities itemized below will be beneficial for PLWDs to prevent further complications, maintain the physiological properties of the muscles, connective tissues and joints;

1. Move the limbs: The joints of body can be stiffed and with pain due to inactivity. Care givers should endeavour to gently move the joints of the arms and legs. Encourage them to participate in the process. You could do this at least once daily, with each joints moved 10 times (repetitions).

2. Play therapy: PLWDs might want to withdraw from people or assume sedentary behaviours. Parents are required to stimulate rather disturb their comfort zone by introducing games, activities they find fun and enjoyable. It should not be done in isolation, family members should get involved too. Also, the environment should be free from harmful substances and materials.

3. Stay active: Individuals living with disabilities should participate in the day to day activities in the household. Assign simple tasks for them to execute in short bouts such as picking an object from the floor, washing the dishes and plates, cleaning of surfaces and arranging books on the shelves. In addition, reduce their level of dependence while grooming, bathing, eating and dressing.

4. Boost the brain: Aside from exercise that helps to improve the brain function, educational materials and resources on media and prints further assist to boost the cognitive function of PLWDs. However, caution must be taken and parental guidance is advised.

5. Eat well: To achieve healthy bones and muscular functions, appropriate and balance diets are required. Adequate serves of fruits and vegetables are important. Ensure you discuss with your Dietician/Nutritionist for advice.

Lastly, kindly ensure you contact your Physical therapist to prescribe safe and suitable exercise and physical activities. And remember start slowly and progress gradually.
By Ayobami Fasuba P.T. for Speechie Haven


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