Government policies and promises of an inclusive society for people with disabilities is cold comfort to parents of teenagers and young adults with cerebral palsy. As these young people left their Schools for Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN Schools) at the end of 2019, they left a community, sometimes after 14 years, where they were nurtured in an environment that catered for their special needs.
While the current post-school opportunities for school-leavers from both mainstream and LSEN schools largely focuses on knowledge and skills development with the aim of securing gainful employment, the majority of young adults with cerebral palsy leaving school do not meet the entrance requirements of the post-school opportunities on offer. As a result, they are often sadly relegated to an isolated existence at home without any meaningful occupation and interaction with people other than their immediate family. The tragedy of this scenario is that the individual developmental achievements they gained over the many years at school will be lost and likely lead to a regression in the young person’s functioning, rendering them more disabled.
Daily routine and participation in activities of daily living is key in preventing a regression in the person with cerebral palsy. The activities of daily living should be orientated towards self-care and independence within the context of each individual’s capacity and capability. The Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Association has started day programmes to respond to this need and would like to know about any young person with cerebral palsy who is currently isolated at home.
“For if we do not have ordinary and familiar occupations in our daily lives and if these occupations do not have personal significance to us, then who are we and what is the purpose of life” – Prof B.R. Hasselkus.