From therapy to building a future
Ahmad was diagnosed with Down Syndrome in the fourth month of pregnancy. This was not a normal day for his parents, and especially for his mother, Dr. Haneen, who found it hard to process this news for the remaining five months. She says: “This day was the worst day of my life. I reduced my work hours and just went to my clinic when there was an emergency.”
Physicians predicted that Ahmad might also struggle with some challenging health conditions and that he would need to be cared for in an incubator for some time. All the family was very concerned about Ahmad’s wellbeing, but surprisingly, his birth was actually the easiest thing for the parents after months of worry and stress.
“Ahmad was born healthy and didn’t need any further medical care, only rehabilitation. Even the symptoms of Down Syndrome were not very obvious,” adds Haneen.
The family returned home with their new family member, needing to access rehabilitation services. After 45 days from the birth, the family started visiting doctors to find a good rehabilitation center, referring to Ahmad as their smart and talented son.
When Ahmad was 9 months, they met Dr. Waddah, at Abu Raya Center in Ramallah, and Ahmad was referred to the JPBC. She remarks: “We had visited doctors and centers before. But none of them met with our vision of our son. We were looking for a place that treats Ahmad as a person who only needs help and encouragement, we didn’t want to feel every day that our child is disabled. So the JPBC was the best place for us.”
After 5 admissions to the Child Rehabilitation Centre, Ahmad is now interacting with and attracting people around him. On his first admission, Ahmad could sit up, and on the second he started crawling.
The third admission was special because during the pandemic, everyone was under full lockdown, so Ahmad’s family was unable to reach the Centre in Jerusalem;
“We were really worried. Ahmad needed to receive his therapies on time. We were wondering if there was a Plan ‘B’, and then came the phone call to tell us that Ahmad would receive his therapies on time through the Virtual Care Program.”
Haneen describes this Virtual Care Program as ‘a wish come true' and recognizes the value of this and all the treatment with the JPBC team.
“After each admission, people around us now recognize the impact this has on Ahmad’s development. During the complete lockdown, as a family, we received a full month of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program. Within this concentrated period, we received also intensive psycho-social support that encouraged and supported us. This team is so professional and doesn’t miss any of the details.”
After the JPBC started receiving children at the Centre again in June, Ahmad received his 4th admission which concluded with Ahmad walking!
Ahmad is now on his 5th admission. The team is working on developing his balance skills, with the aim being for him to have better control of his walking, and can learn to run. Meanwhile, his family’s knowledge about his needs is increasing and their support for his rehabilitation is expanding.
“We have integrated the ‘Home Therapy Plan’ into our daily routine. We don’t make a 30-minute or one-hour daily training; we have made these therapeutic activities part of our life. Every day we seek new solutions to help Ahmad grow healthily.”
The family’s dreams of a better future now don’t only include Ahmad’s rehabilitation but his future career. While his mother is now getting back to her normal life at her dentist clinic, Ahmad’s father is building his company that will one day have a position for Ahmad in it!