The provincial health department is worried that more children are battling to reach their full potential in life because of failure by parents to take them for professional therapy when it’s needed.
With National Occupational Therapy Week having been marked from Monday October 3 to Friday October 7, the department and three Khayelitsha community health centres (CHCs) are highlighting the importance of receiving professional therapy and how to help the children with a developmental delay, in getting much-needed help.
The department warned that children who have a developmental delay usually have problems with growing, learning, doing school work and playing.
Sithembiso Magubane communications officer for the health department, called on people to look out for any signs which might indicate a developmental delay in a child.
“If people do not understand what it is, they are welcome to ask our clinics.
“A developmental delay is a condition of a child who is less developed mentally or physically than is normal for his or her age.
“Surely we all want our children to reach their full potential in life.
“This is, however, not always possible as developmental delays in children is a condition that will affect them throughout their lives,” he warned.
Mr Magubane said some children with developmental delays are being referred for occupational therapy too late, which causes more problems in the child’s life as they grow older.
“We ought to be responsible parents and take note of symptoms. Some things might be prevented if we care enough. It is for this reason that we urge parents to treat the symptoms as early as possible,” he said.
He said should a child be sent to a professional occupational therapist, children with developmental delays will be assisted to catch up developmentally with others in their own age group.
He said therapists also helped people of all ages to perform their daily activities as independently as possible.
Occupational Therapy technician at Michael Maphongwane CHC, Mandisa Mafuya, said many seniors have been involved in accidents but refuse to come forward for treatment and screening.
She said the facility has a Thursday Screening Clinic where dietitians, physiotherapists and speech therapists are present to screen people.
“We have embarked on a multi-disciplinary approach to help people. We call on them to visit this clinic. We know many seniors were involved in accidents, some have high blood pressure, have suffered strokes and many other things. There is help for them,” she said.
She added that children with developmental delays could also be assisted and that if parents felt that their children might have a developmental delay, they could visit their nearest CHC facility.
“We have a clinic in Site C, Site B and Michael Maphongwane. These are three facilities in Khayelitsha that can be of great help,” she said.
She added that professional screening clinics would provide early intervention, which would benefit the child in the long run.
The following are things to look out for that might indicate a developmental delay in a child:
The child is not sitting or rolling when other children their age are.
The child is not crawling when other children their age are.
The child is not walking when other children their age are.
The child is not using his hands like other children their age are.
The child is not talking like other children their age are.
The CHCs can be contacted on:
Site B: 021 360 5200
Site C: 021 387 1200
Michael Maphongwane: 021 361 3353.