Overcoming cerebral palsy one footstep at a time – The journey of Sankus at Hormuud Primary School

Supported by his special education teacher, Sankus makes gradual walking progress out of his classroom at Hormuud Primary School in Ifo refuge camp of Dadaab.

It all began when Sankus was handed a referral letter transferring him from vocational training to special education at Hormuud Primary School. Upon arrival to the school, the Head Teacher, Mr. Mire realized that Sankus was a learner with very special needs. The head teacher took him to the Educational Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre (EARC) within the school compound where he was booked for assessment in January 2021.

On the day of assessment, it was established that Sankus was suffering from Spastic Cerebral Palsy. He was placed at Hormuud Primary School’s classroom for children with intellectual disabilities under Mr. Erickson Amuyunzu, an inclusive education teacher. Mr. Amuyunzu placed him at the foundation level, focussing on mastering activities of daily living and pre-literacy skills.

A multi-disciplinary team comprising of assessment officer, inclusive education teacher, occupational therapist and the parent discussed the strengths and weakness inherent in Sankus. The team deduced that Sankus had insecurities and exhibited hostilities when interacting with people. He was only attached to his small brother Osman Sankus. He was also not able to do activities of daily living such as toileting and teeth brushing making him dependent to other people. Sankus was also confined on a wheelchair. Basing on the weaknesses discovered, the multi-disciplinary team came up with an individualized education plan which was to be used to address his weakness.

“Six months down the line, his learning condition has greatly improved as he can socialize and play with other students. He can scribble numbers, color images and in addition he can go to the toilet and brush his own teeth,” says Amuyunzu.

These milestones can also be attributed to the provision of Cash Based Intervention (CBI) which has enabled him to attend school on a daily basis. In addition, a national inclusive education teacher has been trained on special needs education. Sankus has also benefited from school uniform and learning materials like books and pencils.

Therapy sessions, orientation and mobility which Sankus receives at school has enabled him to acquire little mobility and has moved from wheelchair to using a walking frame provided by the Lutheran World Federation with funding from European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). These support systems have greatly boosted his self-esteem.

His mother, Nuney Ibrahim, cannot hide her tears of joy: “Now I see my son’s tremendous changes and his improvement in mastering daily living skills. I have promised to support my son’s special journey even around the home environment,” she says.