Organisers: María Agustí Foundation and Association for Child Hemiparesis.

Collaborating organisation: Ramon Molinas Foundation.

Dates of implementation: 12/09/2018 – 21/06/2019.

 

50 recorders adapted for children with hemiparesis for the academic year 2018-2019

The Ramon Molinas Foundation is collaborating with the María Agustí Foundation and with the Association for Child Hemiparesis with the objective of launching a scheme to provide on loan 50 recorders that have been adapted for children with hemiparesis. The initiative, which was launched in the academic year 2016-2017, is for the families of schoolchildren in Spain affected by neurological disease hemiparesis. 40 recorders have been provided on loan over the course of previous programmes. However, during the academic year 2018-2019, the programme will have access to 50 more instruments: 29 for left-handed children and 21 for right-handed children, 90 recorders altogether. The instruments will be on loan for 3 years, and when this period of time comes to an end, the recorders will be passed on to a new group of children.

The recorder is a key instrument for teaching music in primary school. However, children with hemiparesis are usually given musical instruments that can be played with one hand, like the xylophone. They can therefore feel discriminated against in formative early years of their childhood, a period in which differences between children are mostly physical and when children with hemiparesis should be able to participate in all school activities.

The scheme aims to encourage personal autonomy in children with hemiparesis, and to raise awareness of disabilities in schools, demonstrating that limitations do not lie in people, but rather in the external barriers that prevent them from accessing certain resources.

 

The benefits of playing music at school

Playing an instrument at school provides children with cognitive, physical and emotional benefits. It stimulates memory, increases intellectual knowledge, developing skills in mathematics, increases concentration, improves self-esteem and helps to alleviate tension and stress, among many other benefits.

Playing music improves the connections between neurones, important for the development of children with hemiparesis. Similarly, it improves coordination and motor control of the fingers, hands and eyes of young people –reading the sheet music, translating and interpreting it– whilst they also learn skills in responsibility and discipline.

 

Hemiparesis and hemiplegia, two forms of child cerebral palsy that affect 1 in every 1,000 children

Hemiparesis and hemiplegia are two forms of child cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy in children, according to the Spanish Paediatric Association, is a series of movement and posture development disorders causing limitations in movement, attributed to non-progressive damage on the developing brain during the foetal stage or during the first four years of life.

Hemiparesis is a neurological condition which makes movement difficult in half of the body. In contrast, hemiplegia is when the condition causes total paralysis of one side of the body. Both affect one in every thousand children born and manifests itself in the form of anomalous postures, or deformities in the limbs due to weakness in certain muscles and spasticity in others.

Treatment to alleviate its effects should be specific to each person and each type of injury. The most effective way to tackle these disorders is physiotherapy, which helps to coordinate motor function and develop the necessary muscle tone to encourage the personal autonomy of children with hemiparesis and hemiplegia.

 

The María Agustí Foundation, a voluntary organisation dedicated to creating a welcoming network of support

María Agustí Foundation, formed at the end of 2013, and the Association for Child Hemiparesis, founded in 2014, share the project Hemiweb. The project is working towards raising social awareness of the existence of child hemiparesis and hemiplegia. Both organisations aim to develop a network of support, organise a community of people interested in promoting better understanding of these disorders and to improve the quality of life of children with these neurological conditions.

The mission of both the María Agustí Foundation and the Association for Child Hemiparesis is to provide information, training and assistance for people with hemiparesis and hemiplegia. The organisations have created links with organisations from other countries and gathering support from professionals, public and private organisations alongside anyone affected by or linked to these disorders in order to improve the prevention, research and the care of this group.

 

Links of interest:

María Agustí Foundation website.

Hemiweb website.