Lighthouse School spreads awareness of cerebral palsy

Lighthouse School students gather to mark Cerebral Palsy Day on Friday. - Photo: Jewel Levy

Lighthouse School dedicated Friday to mark National Cerebral Palsy Day.

Cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects movement, motor skills and muscle tone, is caused by brain damage that develops while the baby is still in utero or during or shortly after birth. Treatments include medication, physical and occupational therapy, behavioral therapy and surgeries to treat deformities.

“We are raising awareness about disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, visual and hearing impairment, social needs and special needs teachers who address these needs,” said Sarah Warwick, a special needs teacher at the school.

Students gave $2 to participate in the dress-down day and throughout the day were congratulated on their achievements during a special assembly in the hall.

“It’s to put a positive spin on disability so that kids can feel more positive about it,” Ms. Warwick said.

Nicolas Tormo-Ortiz, a teacher of the visually impaired, worked with students on visual exploration and stimulation in the Sensory Room.

“We are also trying to raise awareness on cortical visual impairment, or CVI, a term used to describe visual impairment that occurs due to a brain injury,” Mr. Tormo-Ortiz said.

“CVI is a type of visual impairment that is not caused by any eye problems. It’s dealing with how the brain processes visual information, therefore, it’s difficult to spot,” he added.

Working with an iPad in a darkened room and wearing black so there was no interference with colors, Mr. Tormo-Ortiz said the school created an environment in which students could concentrate fully on the visuals. He said Cerebral Palsy Day, which fell on Saturday, Oct. 6 this year, was a good time to bring awareness to this visual disorder.