Muhammad Zarif Arifin bin Mohamed Jazlan Arifin, 8-years-old
“The first thing you need to overcome as parents is denial. Doing this will lead the way to a brighter future for your child.”



The moment we learnt our first born son Zarif had cerebral palsy, we knew our journey as new parents would be different. So we didn’t waste any time and began educating ourselves on what we could do to help our son.

When the news was broken to us, Zarif’s condition was explained in a very delicate and detailed manner. We remember the doctor drawing a sketch of the brain for us, and showing us how it looked, which areas are affected and the causes.



The first thing you need to overcome as parents is denial. Doing this will lead the way to a brighter future for your child. Once we understood cerebral palsy, our entire family got to work researching for the best hospital and therapies.

We knew we had to make some sacrifices, because this would be a long journey for all of us.

So, we had many conversations and my wife, Laili, decided she would give up her job to care for Zarif. All of our focus was on Zarif. He is the centre of our lives, and my wife’s selflessness has been the driving force behind his progress. In the beginning, Zarif went for therapy almost every day, doing two sessions a day; one in the morning and one in the evening. And while I worked, Laili would go with him.



He did occupational therapy, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and speech therapy. While some may not really like therapy, Zarif looks forward to all his sessions and he knows his therapists by name. I think the harmony, the joy and the warmth he feels from being with all of his rehabilitation team lifts his spirit.



When he turned 3, we started horse riding, which became a milestone for him because it helped with his other progress. His posture and voice projection became better. And by then, he started to speak.

Not to sound cliche, but our whole parenthood journey has been so beautiful, because of all the new experiences we’ve had and of course, all the great people we’ve met along the way.

Now, he’s just like every other kid. He plays with his two sisters — and has typical sibling squabbles. He’s also a sweet talker and knows just the right things to say. Most of all, he’s a very loving kid.

And his love fills our home abundantly.



To find out more about the rehabilitation team in Zarif’s story, visit

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