Menna’s Story

Menna’s struggle with Hypotonia

Menna, 18 months from Qalqiliah was born with general hypotonia “that often involves reduced muscle strength causing delay in all physical abilities such as head asdacontrol, sitting, creeping, crawling and walking”. Also, Menna suffers vision problems. At the age of four months, she was diagnosed of having Nystagmus also called “Dancing eyes” as a result she has no eye contact or eye follow. “At first we thought she was blind, having a 9-year-old blind brother Fadi” her mother says. So she was rushed to the ophthalmic to check her eyes. Two months later, and after undergoing many tests including amino acids, CT scan, and MRI, it was found that she suffers from general hypotonia. In addition to the physical disability caused by hypotonia, Menna also has sensory problems, poor responses to stimulations, feeding difficulties due to weak oro-facial muscles, poor imitations of sound and movement, poor concentration, poor joint attention, poor grasping and bilateral hand use.

As part of the National Rehabilitation Program, Menna was first referred to Princess Basma Centre in June 2013, where she stayed for 3 weeks with her mother for assessment and rehabilitation. During the first week of her admission, Menna received an assessment from the rehabilitation team at the centre who immediately set and started a program of physical, occupational and speech therapy activities to help Menna improve general tone stimulation, encourage sitting balance, weight bearing on her upper and lower limbs, improving head control, stimulate her sensory, encourage grasping and bilateral hand use activities, strengthening her orofacial muscles, feeding training, imitation activities to vowels and bilabial sounds, and encourage the use of social signs.

In the meanwhile, Menna’a mother Tharwat, joined the mother empowerment program at the centre where she receives the necessary training and education on dealing with her child; she attends every session and receives a home program to continue with her child at home “although I’ve been a mother for 13 years, yet I’ve learned many new things from the team” she says.

With her second admission in December 2013, Menna now shows great improvement. She responds to her name, holds her bottle of milk, starts to sit alone, has better adaptive responses to sensory stimulus, and began to understand and use social signs.

Menna’s parents are hopeful that with continuous therapy and rehabilitation their child will acquire the necessary skills to carry out daily activities independently. The mother adds: “There has been a huge change in Menna’s life; she thanks you all for making her life better”.