WHAT DO WE DO
Our aim is to convince handicapped children and their parents that therapy does not have to be confined to secluded physiotherapy rooms. Being parents and custodians of children with Cerebral Palsy we know perfectly well that a professional, effective therapy may be conducted outdoors, in natural settings and in contact with the healthy members of our society, thereby improving, not only their physical condition but also offering them a tremendous psychological boost.
Sports are particularly helpful in achieving such objectives. Certain sports activities provide an ideal form of therapy and, in a spectacular way, supplement the training offered in therapeutic centres. We know it from our personal experience. We organized training cycles / sessions for handicapped children under the supervision of professional therapists and sports trainers. We collected data for comparative studies and the results have surpassed our expectations.
The greatest pain of our children does not result from their disabilities but from continuous isolation from their peers due to the need of their daily and lengthy stretching routines. The exclusion is the most common cause of mental suffering. We are determined to change this. That is why we are firm advocates of involvement in the broadest sense of the word.
Sports bring about excellent therapeutic effects but also joy, fun and enhanced self-esteem. They facilitate social integration and provide an ideal way to combat social exclusion. Children with Cerebral Palsy are able to do whatever their healthy peers can do – provided that adequate conditions have been ensured.
Our experience shows that practicing certain sports activities has a positive influence on the motor coordination in children with CP and other illnesses resulting from injury to the central nervous system. Nevertheless, individual coaching is an indispensable component of a successful sports involving therapy. An individual master plan developed in concert with a therapist, a trainer under the supervision of a medical specialist is essential to guarantee any success. Such an approach is inherent in our training programs – even if children work out together at the same time, everything is planned individually for each child.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
When Julek was born and was diagnosed with CP, our whole world turned upside down. We always had an active, athletic life style and our child’s motor handicap meant our activities had to be restrained or even abandoned, especially in sports. The problem was that an inactive life style signified for us an end to any life style. That is why, soon enough we concentrated on one aim – to ensure a sufficient motor ability for Julek to ski, sometime in the future! It would not matter whether he would ski on his feet or on a special contraption. The aim as such was important.
Luckily for us, Julek whose chances to move around on his own were, according to doctors, rather slim – thanks to a complex and daily therapeutic discipline, to our amazement, began to walk. This created a window of opportunity for further physical challenges. Today Julek moves around quite skilfully, starts to hop and skip, ride a bike and, by the age of 3, he manages to ski downhill. Daily “controlled” sports activities became for him a highly therapeutic routine, both physical and mental.
Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the crucial importance of such a systematic and individually adapted physical effort for children with CP. In Poland we have practically never had access to any sports programme for children with CP. As if, for them, that area of physical activity was inaccessible and forever closed. Nevertheless, we have good reasons to argue for the contrary. Sometime in the past we heard these words of wisdom: “people with CP should not be denied access to any activities, provided they are performed in good order and with an adequate preparatory training.”
Children like Julek count in thousands in Poland. In their vast majority they never toyed with any form of sport. We want to change this. That is why, on the basis of our own experience, we have developed Poland’s first comprehensive course outline of downhill skiing for children with a physical handicap. We believe it to be only a beginning. Dozens of other sports activities await their turn.
Ania i Lech (Julian’s parents)
Anna Ząbkiewicz – The originator of the idea and the President of the Foundation, the mother of Julek, a child with CP, Occupational Therapist, Skiing Instructor, responsible for current issues and project coordination
Maria Magdalena Bartuszek – Medical doctor, specialist of 2nd-degree medical rehabilitation. Huge professional experience gained by working, in the Children’s Health Center. Currently associated with the Center for Daily Neurology Rehabilitation of the Warsaw Children’s Hospital. Evaluation of infant development, neurological and orthopaedic rehabilitation of children and adolescents, selection of specialised corsets, orthoses, etc. are the primary issues that are dealt with in everyday work. MD. Bartuszek supports the foundation by the consultations of sports and therapeutic projects and testing health condition of our patients.
Anna Makowska – Psychiatrist, psychotherapist. A graduate of the Medical Academy in Warsaw. MD. Makowska specialises in the treatment of depression, neurosis and anxiety disorders, sleep disorders and memory. MD. Makowska is a well-known specialist with extensive experience in clinical work in Poland and abroad (Multi-year employee of Mazovian Specialist Health Center and hospital in Haderslev, Denmark). Due to the immense experience of working with adults, she assists parents of foundation dependents.
Krzysztof Krasowicz – Physiotherapist and Orthotics. A graduate of the Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw. Participated in many courses and internships in leading rehabilitation centres in Belgium (University Hospitals in Leuven and Gent). As a physiotherapist, he involved in working with both amateur and professional sportspeople. An enormous orthotic experience allows him to design and functionally improve individual orthopaedic supplies at Vigo Ortho. The Foundation supports the implementation of sports projects and the selection of orthopaedic devices for all our patients.
THE STATUTE OF OUR FOUNDATION
Read the Statute of our Foundation:
ul. Wolfkego 9/14
509 086 166