Yussuf 2009 update
Dear friends,

Peace be with all of you.

First of all, I would like to apologize for not updating you about my baby Yussuf’s progress for almost a year now. But I hope that the good news I will mention will make you forgive me. For those of you hearing about baby Yussuf for the first time, kindly visit www.yussuf.org to learn about baby Yussuf’s multiple special needs and his struggle to reach his physical independence.

Yussuf is now 3 and half years old. I should actually stop calling him a baby, as you can see from the pictures attached that he is becoming more and more a little man! In the last update I wrote, the most important progress Yussuf reached was his intellectual progress and his ability to understand actual words. (Please refer to September 2008 update in his website www.yussuf.org).

Now, even though, he has improved a lot more intellectually over the past year, which confirms more and more that he is actually “smart”, I choose to talk only about his physical progress in this report, as this is what has been the latest miracle that I still can’t believe, thanks to God.

Of course, all this progress is a direct result of God’s blessing, your prayers and the intensive CME physiotherapy that Yussuf is having, thanks to all your financial support.

1) Video of Yussuf picking up his trunk in the stroller:

http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=gallery&g=videos&v=33

How it first happened:
Well, it all started sometime around March 2009. Yussuf was in his stroller, watching his favourite cartoon Dora and I was trying to rest a bit in my bed. The usual scenario happened: Even though the stroller seat was tilted back, Yussuf still lost control of his trunk and fell to the side of the stroller. He started crying as usual to give me signal that his trunk fell and that I need to come to pick his trunk back up. I was soo tired that day that I didn’t have strength to get myself up and help him, so I just told him in firm way: “Yussuf, you pick your trunk back up, you can do it”. And I kept repeating this sentence, while he was crying very hard. After few minutes, I saw the miracle happening: Yussuf started trying to get his trunk up on his own and with a lot of difficulties, he was able to do so!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes, as this is considered as HUGE. I forgot my tiredness at that moment and I jumped closer to him and kissed him and told him he did a good job. Then I took his trunk and made it fall again to the side of the stroller and asked him to get it up again on his own. He did it again, but still with a lot of difficulties. This time he smiled after he did it and he knew he was able to do something new! After that day, it became like a game between us, I make his trunk fall to the side of the stroller and he picked it back up, with less and less difficulties every time.

2) Video of Yussuf “sitting up” in his stroller (instead of leaning back on his stroller seat):

http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=gallery&g=videos&v=34

How it first happened and why it is considered like almost a milestone:
Well, now that I think of it, I realize that this HUUGE progress started happening slowly slowly right after Yussuf learned to pick his trunk up while in his stroller. But in order for you to understand the GREAT importance of this progress and why I call it almost a milestone in yussuf’s motor progress, let me explain to you a little bit about some aspects of Yussuf’s brain damage: Children like Yussuf usually either make their body totally straight or totally collapsed. Making one part of the body straight, while bending another part is an extremely difficult task for them., which in one way mean that sitting for him can be even harder than standing, because being in the sitting position does require your body to be bent and your trunk to stay straight. When we used to put Yussuf in a sitting position, he would always right away throw himself backwards. (watch this old video of yussuf:

http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=gallery&g=videos&v=35) That is why this latest progress means that Yussuf’s brain is starting to get organized a bit more and his brain started to recognize and accept “the sitting position”. I need to mention here that Yussuf still can’t sit on his own. But the fact that he is able to get his trunk up and “sit in his stroller”, instead of always “leaning down” on his stroller seat means that maybe he will be able to sit totally on his own not too long from now, God willing.

4) Yussuf’s stroller seat can now be always in the most vertical position:

As I have said earlier, Yussuf’s stroller seat had to always be tilted back in order to avoid his trunk from falling to the side and his head from falling forward. And even in the tilted back position, if his shoulder straps weren’t attached, his trunk would still fall sideways. Now, thanks to God, no more tilting back of the seat! Yussuf can take the most vertical position of the stroller seat without his head falling forward or his trunk falling sideways. No need to use the shoulder straps anymore.

5) Video of Yussuf leaning down on his tummy over a pillow:

http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=gallery&g=videos&v=36

This position might not seem very special for most typical parents, as typical children usually start doing this when they are way under 1 year old. However, for Yussuf, this position was the impossible of the impossible before. He would shoot himself forward right away, fall to the side of the pillow and it would just be a total mess!! With his extreme hyperextension, he was not able to stay calm even 1 second in this position. Again, this video shows that his brain is getting more and more organized and that his trunk control is getting better day after day, thanks to God.

Analysis of all this progress:
As you can all see from the above videos, this progress is a direct result of Yussuf’s intensive CME physiotherapy. Without it, Yussuf’s trunk control wouldn’t keep improving day after day. Yes, it is a slow progress, comparing to typical children’s brain maturity. But as long as there is a progress, it means that Yussuf’s dream to reach his physical independence one day is not just a mirage.

I have full trust that God will realize Yussuf’s dream one day. I have full trust that all the people who has supported Yussuf’s cause all this way, will not give up on him and will continue praying for him and supporting him financially in order to continue his physiotherapy and continue progressing towards total physical independence.

For more info on how you can contribute, please contact me Oula (Yussuf's mom) at oulab@hotmail.com or visit: http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=donate

(Note: All scholars I have talked to, confirmed to me that Zakat money can be used to cover Yussuf's therapy cost)

Thank you all for taking the time to read this update and God bless

Oula

www.yussuf.org