‘When you walk in the streets with a child with cerebral palsy, people stare at you like a devil’Heart broken mother narrates her journey with cerebral palsy

Raising a child with cerebral palsy is not an easy task but is even more hard on  mother when their child ails for months without really knowing what is wrong with them.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the term used for a group of nonprogressive disorders of movement and posture caused by abnormal development of, or damage to, motor control centers of the brain. CP is caused by events before, during, or after birth.

Rose Atieno a mother of a two-year old boy narrates her challenges bringing up a child with disability  and the stigma she and her child face.

“In Kenya, raising a child with cerebral palsy will either force one to be sacked or quit their career to take care of the child. No house help is ready to stay with a child perceived to be cursed,”


According to the World Health Organisation, every time 1,000 children are born in Third World countries, including Kenya, four are found to be with cerebral palsy.

The full-time care the children needs means that mothers have to quit their jobs and take care of such special children.

Atieno, a single mother, now stays with her little boy, who can’t feed himself, let alone walk or touch an object properly, because he was born with cerebral palsy, an incurable condition that is thought to be caused by brain damage before, during or soon after birth.

Before her son was born, Atieno was working with Tours and Safari, a travel company at Ukunda, and earning at least Sh45,000.

She says

“My life crumbled down after the birth of my son. It took me four months after delivery before I found out that my hopeless child, who had taken dozen of drugs not knowing what he was suffering from, had cerebral palsy.”


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At first, Atieno realised that something was wrong with her child as he wasn’t moving or following the sight of objects.

She says that she sought help her son in vain

“I went to different specialists in Coast but all was in vain, up to four months on, then a certain peadiatrician recommended me to a facility where my son would start exercising. At the facility, I was taught more on cerebral palsy.”
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Atieno thought she had done something wrong, blamed the doctors too who helped her on delivery but at last, she found hope after meeting fellow parents whose children were in a worse state than her son.

“I was hopeless, in denial, angry and had a lot of confusion. I was going for exercises three times a week so that at least my child could be able to move his right hand which looked like it was paralysed.”

In Coast region, any disability has been taken as a curse, witchcraft or sins a parent committed.To Atieno, the experience is familiar.

“There was a time my child went to the church with a friend and the pastor asked that I also go and repent my sins. When you walk in the streets with such a child, people stare at you like a devil.”


Courtesy:The Star

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