CORDOBA.- “I can go with my son for a walk in the shopping center but he cannot do his individual therapies. May l get together in a bar with six people, but he can’t do his workshops again of art, music, garden with his two or three roommates. “The story is from Analía Verbena, mother of Teo Sánchez Verbena, 7 years old and with autism, who has been waiting for weeks for them to enable the presence of Teo’s therapies. Did it in an open letter that went viral and ended up joining the parents of the colleagues from the rehabilitation center. After a meeting of the authorities with the parents a solution is started.
He Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) it is a condition in which communication and language development, social interaction, and behavioral flexibility are altered at different levels. Although there are no official statistics for Argentina, the TGD-Padres-TEA organization estimates that there are more than 700,000 people with autism.
At the beginning of the quarantine throughout the country, the families claimed – until they obtained it – a special authorization to be able to go outdoors a certain time per day. In Córdoba, Teo fulfills that routine but his mother tells THE NATION that “it is not enough, he was very active”. He says that when they diagnosed him, the neurologist warned them that the only thing they always had to do to have the best autonomy possible was stimulation therapy.
“They never cut, they accompany them all their lives,” he continues. Since the end of March he has not attended his rehabilitation center where seven professionals attend him weekly.. He went from Monday to Friday on an extended day; all that was cut and the assistance is remote, but Teo is nonverbal, he cannot sustain a virtual communication. I have meetings with professionals, but I cannot replace them. “
Verbena points out that the interruption of the therapies determined that her son he would wear diapers again at night (he had left them at the age of four and a half), he has disturbed sleep (he wakes up at dawn and does not go back to sleep) and, during the day, he suffers from cries and cries and episodes of anguish and anxiety. Insists that rehabilitation is multidisciplinary and includes a psychologist, psychotherapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, occupational and art workshops, and psychomotricists.
“I am talking about HEALTH, referring to the therapies that are essential for the development of your life, therapies that from March 2020 to date, It could NOT be done in person and that the professionals have tried to hold with the remote (virtual) mode. I calculate that you will not be surprised if I tell you that a child who does NOT speak and who presents enormous challenges to be able to communicate in a generalized way (he does not point, he does not look at the eyes), is finding it unsustainable. The same child that since last year with his therapeutic team began to take great steps and that by 2020, he had a specific stimulation planning, with the aim of exploiting all the possibilities, with enormous expectations due to the signs he showed in 2019 “describes the Verbena text. The writing had such an impact that families from all over the country contacted her because they are experiencing the same problems.
Parents they ask that the rehabilitation centers be authorized to operate in compliance with a biosafety protocol and for individual therapies. From the Government of Córdoba they assure that home care by professionals is authorized but it is for serve those who do not have a Certificate of Disability, since those who have this document are considered members of the risk group. “Professionals are elusive to make addresses in these cases because they say they have no protocols to follow,” says Verbena.
The undersecretary of Disability, Rehabilitation and Inclusion of Córdoba, Marite Puga -who met with Verbena and other parents- explains that they are advancing in a protocol for rehabilitation physicians so that rehabilitation centers can start their activity; is for approval by the Emergency Operations Center (COE). “It is focused on the vulnerability of the child, divided into low, medium and risk groups. According to this scheme, they could begin; this look will allow flexibility,” he details.
Puga points out that almost 60% of people with disabilities have comorbidities, therefore the limitations for those who have a certificate: “The approach we are implementing would allow us to overcome these drawbacks depending on what the risks are. medical certificate may return to rehabilitation centers while being cared for“
In his Verbena letter, he states: “We ask that when the time comes to think about the protocols, they should take into account that they are children and that the situation of each center in particular since they do NOT all have the same number of patients and infrastructure“and adds that parents feel that the rights of their children have been violated.” Both the National Constitution and the human rights treaties establish the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest possible degree of physical and mental health (arts. 42 of the CN, 12 of the International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights and 24 of the Convention on the rights of the child) “.
“We understand that this is an atypical situation, but We also believe that they have NOT taken into account the expressly special situation in which our children find themselves. Since, we reiterate, care is allowed in private practices, but the care of those who most need therapies in rehabilitation centers is not enabled, “says the letter.