Young Qatari patient recognizes HMC clinical teams for nurturing his artistic talent
A 16-year-old Qatari boy with spinal muscular atrophy, Abdulrahman Shahin Al Neimi, who has benefited from the specialized care provided by Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI), has said his care team played an integral role in helping him develop his artistic abilities as part of his rehabilitation.
Currently a 10th-grade student at Khalifa Secondary School, Abdulrahman was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) when he was four-months-old.
Due to a loss of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brainstem, individuals with SMA are unable to control the movement of their muscles.
Although the condition is incurable, ongoing treatment and support can help manage symptoms, making it possible for those with SMA to have the best possible quality of life.
For Abdulrahman, however, engaging in art brings about a more liberating and fulfilling experience.
“I started drawing while I was recovering from surgery at a medical center in Germany and when I returned to Qatar, the rehabilitation team at QRI encouraged me to develop my talent. My occupational therapist saw the benefits of art therapy and she also saw my passion for art. She found the assistive devices and strategies needed for me to practice my hobby and to express myself through art,” Abdulrahman said.
He added, “Creating art has been an important outlet for me to express myself and along with physical therapy has helped me to achieve greater independence and mobility.”
Abdurrahman’s story and healthcare journey reflect the significance of both a positive mindset and the incorporation of alternative therapies, said Dr. Ahmad Samer Al Qawadri, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at QRI.
“Abdulrahman has severe atrophy in his muscles and malformations in the joints of his limbs and spine. His condition is progressive, meaning it develops and grows as he ages and grows. The deformity of his spine affected his ability to sit and his balance and respiratory function,” Dr. Al Qawadri said.
Through an intensive day rehabilitation program at QRI, Abdulrahman’s respiratory function increased and the control of his head and spine improved.
He achieved good sitting balance control and therapists at QRI began working with him to focus on improving his hand coordination, which is when his passion for art was discovered.
“Our Occupational therapists noticed Abdulrahman’s talent for painting and drawing and were eager to encourage his hobby as we saw the physical and emotional benefits,” said Ameena Aziz, occupational therapist at QRI.
“His severe muscular weakness and abnormalities prevented him from fully practicing his hobby so we focused on building his fine motor skills through hand therapy exercises and by providing assistive devices,” she added.
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