Yousef Azzem - three years old - is one of three triplets. He was born to a family living in Sabastia village near Nablus, West Bank.
When Yousef’s mother Futoun was pregnant with these triplets, she was also finishing her B.A degree. Futoun had many difficulties during her pregnancy such as high blood pressure and extreme fatigue.
On her eighth month of pregnancy, she had to undergo a caesarian surgery to deliver the babies after facing a lot of complications.
At the beginning, all the babies seemed healthy and the mother took them back home. Both the girls were growing well, yet Yousef had troubles feeding or communicating with his surroundings.
Futoun thought it was a normal problem since it was her first pregnancy and she had no experience of raising a child.
As time passed the girls started crawling and using sounds to express their feelings, while Yousef did not react with any person. He was always silent and kept looking up.
Futoun started to worry, and expressed her concerns to her husband. At first he refused to believe that Yousef was facing any problems, but Futoun insisted on paying a visit to a doctor in her village.
The doctor told Futoun that Yousef would never walk or talk or even communicate with his surroundings, and advised her to take him home with no treatment to offer.
This news was too hurtful to accept. The father couldn’t handle it, while Futoun insisted on finding treatment.
She moved from one doctor to the other. After visiting more than twenty doctors – who gave her no real hope for any development or treatment for Yousef’s case – Futoun finally heard about the Farah Clinic, which works in partnership with the Princess Basma Centre (PBC). Futoun reached the clinic and scheduled a meeting with Dr. Waddah Malhees, the Medical Director at the PBC, who – together with the multi-disciplinary team – visits the partner clinics and diagnose many cases on a regular basis.
Yousef was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and Dr. Waddah referred him to PBC. Yousef had lots of impairments and difficulties such as sensory problems, poor head and trunk control, poor sitting balance, and he wasn’t able to use any social signs or facial expressions.
Finally at the age of eighteen months, Yousef was admitted to PBC, and immediately received a comprehensive rehabilitation program that consisted of physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy.
Futoun said: “I felt at home at PBC. The therapists answered all of my questions without any delays, giving me the right tools to deal with Yousef”.
After the fifth admission, Yousef has shown a lot of improvement in auditory perception, visual and tactile. Yousef can now walk indoors using the walkers with a very good control and balance. He also can express himself by smiling and using all kinds of facial expressions.
Ms. Lucy Ghraybe, one of the physiotherapists at the Centre said: “when Yousef was admitted to the Centre, he was afraid of therapists and physicians due to the many visits to clinics before. It took time to gain his trust with team work of the therapists, Yousef started to open to his surroundings, and started to show good progress”.
Yousef is now 3 years old. He will continue to receive therapies at the Centre in order to achieve a level of independence and improvement in his quality of life.