NEW STRAITS TIMES
TUESDAY, JULY 21, 1992

STEPPING STONE ON THE PATH TO SUCCESS

Stepping stone, a centre in Ipoh to help cerebral palsy children lead as near normal lives as possible, is close to achieving the goals it has set out.

Started by the Ipoh-based Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah for the Disabled, the centre provides training and counseling for parents so they can cope with their child's disability.

Occupational therapists Waltraud Rothe and Eugenie Tan are involved in the intensive training programme, which involves muscle and co-ordination training for the children, many of whom suffer from muscular dystrophy.

Said Rothe: "An important criteria for the programme to be successful is early intervention."

"We have to start training the child as soon as his disability is detected, otherwise our scope is limited."

Tan added that parents have to give maximum support because when the child is not at the centre it is the family who would have to continuously stimulate the child so that he can carry out his daily living skills as effectively as possible.

Explaining the role of Stepping Stone, Tan said as the name implies, it is just a stepping stone as what is learnt at the center has to be carried out in order to be of any benefit.

Already, Stepping Stone's functions are beginning to show the desired results since it opened its doors last September.

This is clearly seen in the case of Adhwa Razali, six, who started coming to the centre last year.

Adhwa's parents Razali Ismail and Mariam Abdul Majid followed the programme with keen interest and all members of the family were involved with Adhwa's progress.

"He could not walk or crawl when he first came. Now he is able to stand with support and in time he will be able to walk with calipers."

About 22 children attend the sessions at Stepping Stone, which apart from being educational, includes social integration programmes such as parties to expose the disabled so they do not feel shy of their disability.