MSPs raise their hands to raise awareness

MSPs raise awareness of hemiplegia
MSPs raise awareness of hemiplegia

MSPs are supporting Hemiplegia Awareness Week, the condition which Central Scotland list MSP Siobhan McMahon has had since birth.

On ‘Mitten Monday’ people were encouraged to wear a mitten on one hand for part of the day.

Although the endeavour is supposed to be lighthearted, it has an important message of trying to give people a sense of how it feels to live with a physical impairment.

Hemiplegia is a condition, the effects of which are similar to a stroke.

It is caused by damage to the brain, most often before or around the time of birth, and it results in a varying degree of weakness and lack of control on one side of the body.

In one child this may be very obvious, he or she may have little use of one hand, may limp or have poor balance; in another child it will be so slight that it only shows when attempting specific physical activities.

Approximately half the children have additional diagnoses such as epilepsy, visual impairment or speech difficulties.

Other challenges can include perceptual problems, specific learning difficulties or emotional and behavioural problems.

While most people have never heard of this lifelong, incurable condition, it is not rare.

Charlie Fairhurst, author of the Hemiplegia Handbook and a consultant at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, said: “Every day in the UK between one and two babies are born with it, which means that up to one child in 1,000 is affected by this lifelong, incurable condition”.

For more information visit HemiHelp the national charity for hemiplegia.