Management of communication difficulties in children aged (3-5) with cerebral palsy at Mulago Peadiatric Neuro Clinic
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Communication difficulties are common in Cerebral Palsy and are frequently associated with motor, intellectual and sensory impairments. It was estimated that half the population of children with CP have one or more impairments of communication. These difficulties can have a variety of adverse effects on these children which can result in differences in social interaction patterns and in quality of life Speech and Language Therapy as one of the major management strategies for children with CP, aims to promote the development of effective communication and language systems. However, how parents of these children seek these services is unclear and so are the factors that may affect them as they do so. Objective – the main of the study was to determine how communication difficulties of children with CP were being managed by parents. Methodology – A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at Mulago. The study was done in January, 2021 at Mulago Paediatric-Neuro clinic and included 26 parents and their children with CP aged between 3 – 5 years. Data was collected by the principle researcher assisted by a research assistant using a structured questionnaire. The information gathered was analysed into tables, charts and graphs all generated from Microsoft Excel. Results – Findings showed that all the children had some kind of communication difficulty. 50% of the parents were undertaking physiotherapy, 20% were not undertaking any intervention and the least being 11% who were taking their children for Speech therapy. The factors that affected the health seeking behaviors of the parents were mainly awareness and their priorities (100% prioritized improving their children’s mobility). Conclusion - The main focus of this study was to find out the communication difficulties that parents/guardians noticed their children had, the way they managed them and possible factors that might have affected their health seeking behavior for SLT services. Generally, most parents were not undertaking SLT services mainly because communication difficulties of their children were but not taken as a priority. Parents mainly focused of interventions that managed seizures and improved the mobility and physical skills of their children. Awareness of SLT by parents was generally low.