Dubai: A new paediatric rehabilitation centre has been opened at RAK Hospital aimed at providing occupational, speech and physical therapy for children with developmental disabilities.

Learning disabilities such as dyslexia (a reading disorder) and dyspraxia (a form of developmental coordination disorder), affect at least 1 in 10 schoolchildren. The new centre aims to offer physical, occupational, and speech therapy for children with developmental disabilities.

The first of its kind in the northern emirates, the rehabilitation centre offers state-of-the-art medical technology as well as internationally trained professionals to assist kids with various learning difficulties.

Dr Raza Seddiqi, CEO, Arabian Healthcare Group and Executive Director of RAK Hospital, said: “Child and adolescent psychiatrists point out that learning disabilities are treatable. If not detected and treated early, however, they can have a tragic ‘snowballing’ effect. No two children can be equal in terms of abilities and mental prowess, but every child deserves an equal chance of leading a healthy lifestyle, free of as many disabilities as possible. At RAK Hospital, we aim to provide the platform that will deliver excellent and quality care to help achieve optimum level of functioning. Our services cater to children who require support in speech, cognitive learning and developmental growth. We set a standardised goal in achieving proper growth and development that is essential for every child’s needs”.

Physical therapy which is conducted after a comprehensive initial assessment looks to focus on a child’s basic movement, balance and coordination skills. The physical therapists design individualised programmes to develop and improve a child’s motion, strength, balance, mobility and movement skills. Treatments include therapeutic exercises and activities, functional training, physical agents and/or assistive technology to maximise a child’s functional independence, decrease pain and prevent secondary impairments. A few of the techniques include gait training, building developmental skills, bquatic therapy, balance training, electrical stimulation and extensive family training, among others.

The cccupational therapy programme helps a child develop the fine motor skills needed for activities in daily life such as playing with toys, writing and cutting with scissors. The therapists also focus on teaching alternative techniques and use of adaptive equipment to accomplish everyday tasks such as eating with utensils and dressing oneself.

Children with autism and sensory processing disorder are often referred to the occupational therapy department for help adapting to sensory and environmental distractions. The centre offers specialised treatment for ABA/autism therapy, writing skills, acute in-patient rehabilitation, physical therapy, feeding disorder programme, development delay, Asperger’s syndrome and Down Syndrome. The rehabilitation centre is well-equipped to handle children coming from diverse backgrounds and various nationalities and speaking different languages.

Speech-language therapy imparted at the centre includes treating children with speech-language delays, articulation and hearing loss, as well as fluency disorders, voice disorders and feeding and/or swallowing difficulties.