Work with children with disabilities at the hospital has now been going on for more than three years. Much progress has been made with clinicians and local therapists developing new skills, and with parents and grandparents (who are often the main carers) learning new caring skills as well as skills to develop the function of the children they look after. This is done very much on a one-to-one basis.
One seven-year-old boy with dyskinetic CP (cerebral palsy) was carried by his grandmother most of the time. She looked after him and wasn’t able to do much more. About eight months ago we suggested that he could be supported in one of the chairs we have made, which involves using a scarf to securely hold the child and support them at the waist and trunk under the arms. We suggested that with a chair like this he could learn to relax in this position over time, and then be able to learn some eye-hand coordination. His grandmother photographed the chair and her husband made one.
Over six months the boy has learned to sit in the chair with the restraints which give him security to relax. He has now learned new skills using his hands for some functions. His grandmother now has new freedoms to do other things and the boy is happy just to be securely restrained and to have his grandmother around. And she of course can now do a lot more around the house. When she came back for the second visit she wanted to know what to do next so that he could learn some new skills on top of what he has already learned.
Another mother brought in a child who is deaf and blind from congenital rubella. Although this is on the immunisation schedule we do not know whether this lady received it or not. She had been told by local doctors that she should never have any more children as they would all be affected, but this is not true. I told her that if she had another 10 children they should all be normal. Then realised what I had said and said, “Well maybe not 10, maybe 5!”
In the midst of this she was both crying and laughing but she was delighted to know that she had no risk of any future children being affected.
“The truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Greg and Marian* (both doctors) are Interserve Partners serving in a remote part of Asia.
*Names have been changed.