Farah’s First Step Over the Webcam!
Farah’s parents were expecting their fourth daughter after nine months of a healthy pregnancy and had selected a beautiful Arabic name to call her “Laila”, meaning the night. She was born with Down’s syndrome and when her father, Hakam held her in his hands, he decided to change her name to “Farah” which means joy!
Farah’s mother, Rawya said that it took longer for her to come to terms with her daughter’s diagnosis and didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. Yet, after two months she was able to say, “Farah’s father’s decision to change her name was the right one. This name suits Farah much better since she has become the joy of our life.”
Farah has faced physical and mental challenges along the way. Her parents made their first steps towards securing support and treatment for Farah when she was six months.
They meet Dr. Waddah Malhees at the Medical Clinic in Jerusalem and Farah was referred to JPBC Child Rehabilitation Centre.
On her first admission, Farah was not able to sit up and control her arms, legs, and neck. But after two weeks at the Centre, this greatly improved. After her second and third admissions, the medical team recorded improvements in her fine motor skills, balance, ability to chew and eat, and in her cognitive skills; she particularly enjoyed playing with Lego.
When everywhere was on ‘lockdown’, Farah’s family was enrolled in the Virtual Care Model. Farah received four sessions of virtual therapy each week. Despite her indifference in the first virtual session she quickly adapted to the idea of ‘rehabilitation over a distance. To the delight and surprise of everyone, she took her first steps while the camera was filming one of the therapy sessions.
She has now turned 18 months and is able to walk up and down the stairs. Her family is very grateful for the Virtual Care Model that helped their daughter to walk her first steps. Her mother says, “My daughter’s sense of cognition was activated through these online sessions, now she can walk, she speaks some words and her reactions are faster.”
Great relief and confidence
Rawya, Farah’s mother refers to her own huge relief and the great confidence she has in the JPBC team: “At the beginning, it wasn’t easy for me but they supported my daughter and me until we could be independent”. She expresses the whole family’s confidence in Farah. “My uncles and relatives visit me much more now because they enjoy their time with Farah. They say that they come specially to see her.”
Rawya urges all parents of children with disabilities to focus on their children’s abilities and potential: “The last thought in my mind is that my daughter has a disability I’m a mother, empowering my child for a better future.”
She is now supporting many mothers of children with disabilities, motivating and educating them. “I read a lot about my daughter’s case and needs. Farah has elevated my knowledge onto a higher plain”.