A big step for a small man

Fuad is 1 year and 2 months old. He was referred to the Baku Child Rehabilitation Centre ten days ago by a paediatrician who advised his mother of a possible developmental delay.

Cornelia Rauchberger
Little Fuad smiling with his neuropathologist Tarana.
UNICEF Azerbaijan/Bell/2018

12 June 2016

Fuad is 1 year and 2 months old. He was referred to the Baku Child Rehabilitation Centre ten days ago by a paediatrician who advised his mother of a possible developmental delay. His mother, Sudaba (29), explains why she thinks that Fuad is a lucky boy. “Fuad’s problems started when he was 6 months old: he was developing jaundice and his medical condition was worsening every day. I took him to the hospital and they referred us to the Institute of Paediatrics. There, he received medical treatment and slowly began to recover”.

Some months later, Fuad drew the attention of one paediatrician at the institute who kept observing him during a check-up. He came up me and said: “I don’t want to alarm you but at his age, the boy should already start making his first steps. However, I can see that he cannot even sit up by himself!” The doctor confirmed a suspicion that I already had. I started to feel guilty for not trusting my instinct earlier. 

Although I had realised that other kids at his age were already walking, my friends and family quietened me down by telling me that not all children learn these abilities at the same age. The paediatrician recommended to visit the Baku Child Rehabilitation Centre where they would be able to help my boy. When we first came to the centre, everyone was very friendly and they had a good look at Fuad. The doctors started a therapy with Fuad and they showed me many things I could practice at home with him, like how to position him when we’re eating or how to play with him with a ball. I’m so amazed by the huge progress Fuad has made in only ten days! In such a short time he learnt to sit and now he also grabs different objects and places them in his toy box. 

Fuad with his mother Sudaba.
UNICEF Azerbaijan

I am confident that he is going to start walking soon! Without early detection and intervention Fuad’s physical impairment would have likely worsened and have caused further delay in the development of his motor skills. Most probably, it would have influenced his intellectual development and could have caused both physical and intellectual disabilities. 

Without early detection and intervention Fuad’s physical impairment would have likely worsened and have caused further delay in the development of his motor skills. Most probably, it would have influenced his intellectual development and could have caused both physical and intellectual disabilities. Fuad’s paediatrician is one of the 65 paediatricians in Azerbaijan who received UNICEF-supported training on early detection of childhood disability in 2014 and 2015. 

At the moment, very few measures are preventing disabilities in early childhood or facilitating inclusion of children with disabilities in society. The majority of parents and paediatricians in the country are currently unaware of modern approaches for early detection and interventions to prevent developmental delays in children Currently, there are approximately 4,000 practicing paediatricians in the country, however, early detection and intervention is yet to become an integral part of their regular curriculum.