- Written by Queen Munguti for KenyaKidz
A centre called My Ella Centre that caters for special needs children in Kenya including those with Down’s syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy has opened in Nairobi.
It offers programs and services that aim to empower individuals with Down’s syndrome and other special needs in order to reach their full potential.
“We are a place that gives hope to families by providing services with knowledgeable specialists and health care providers. Our aim is to promote awareness for children with special needs throughout our community.”
Down syndrome is a condition in which one is born with more chromosomes and because of it one will have physical health and development delays, characteristic facial features and some level of intellectual disability.
In Kenya, approximately one in 1,000 babies is born with the condition and globally according to WHO, around 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with Down Syndrome every year.
Children with special needs need help to learn basic skills that typical children learn easily such as playing with toys appropriately. Many of the special children we serve have difficulty processing the input that they receive from their senses and the environment.
Thus, the My Ella Centre was founded in a bid to create and enhance the awareness about the condition in the country by Eva Gichuki and Robert Migadde, parents to Ella, a child with Down Syndrome.
We started the My Ella Down Syndrome Foundation in 2014 because we were frustrated by the lack of information and limited services for persons with Down’s syndrome. There was a lack of awareness even among service providers including medical staff and teachers therefore we decided that will enasble other people access information about the condition.
We wanted to ensure that children born with Down’s syndrome have a chance to participate fully in their communities and develop their talents and skills like all other children.
The centre offers occupational therapy which helps them build strength, handwriting, visual motor and visual perceptual skills and self-care e.g. getting dressed, feeding among others.
“Our occupational therapists at My Ella Centre provide individualized assessments, intervention and monitoring the child’s’ progress. We also encourage children to maximise their potential through day-to-day activities.”
It also offers speech therapy that aids in improving language as well as articulation and fluency. In addition to this there is physical therapy that assists in movement potential.
My Ella Centre is located on 7th Floor Azure Towers, Lantana Road, Nairobi Westlands, Kenya. Contact: 0770 993 098.