PORTUGAL: Aquatic therapy available to youth
Salesians and Child Development Aid Center partner for use of pool complex
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Funchal, Portugal, have signed a collaboration protocol with the Child Development Aid Center to provide use of the Salesian pool complex for aquatic therapy sessions for youth with neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders.
The Child Development Aid Center has been in operation for about a year and a half and provides pedagogical support, physiotherapy, speech therapy, and psychological, nutritional, and occupational treatment for youth up to age 18.
Aquatic therapy is intended for children age 3 and older with neurodevelopmental disorders, and sensory, motor, social, cognitive, or emotional disorders. Individual hydrotherapy sessions last 30 minutes and are conducted by an occupational therapist in the learning pool, using various play materials for adaptation and autonomy in the aquatic environment, as well as other aspects of neurosensory and motor development.
“Salesians in Funchal were able to help ensure youth have access to the health services they need by signing this cooperative agreement,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “While Salesians primarily provide education, they know youth are dealing with much more and need more broad support like this.”
Salesians have been working in Funchal for more than 70 years. Today, they provide a parish, a school, an oratory and social service programs. There is also the Center for Past Pupils of Don Bosco and the Association of Mary Help of Christians.
According to the World Bank there are close to 2.6 million people living below the poverty line in Portugal, 487,000 of whom are under age 18. The country is one of the most unequal countries in Europe as far as wealth distribution. Wealthy citizens earn five times the rate of income than those living in poverty.
Unemployment and low incomes are two of the factors that contribute to unequal wealth distribution. Portugal has a low hourly rate for workers in comparison to other countries in Europe. Many parents have to work multiple jobs, which leaves less time at home with their families and children. This leaves children without the proper guidance at home leading to behavior problems and lack of preparedness for school, including getting homework done and eating breakfast before coming to school.
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World Bank – Portugal