One of the things I was able to do on during my time at home in Northern Ireland during covid was some more training, specifically in paediatrics to help our paediatric service at Bethesda.
We have big plans for the future of the paediatric service at Bethesda. Altidor and Echebert have already done some training with an American OT on how to build adaptive equipment for children with additional needs. We are planning more education for staff and for families. We want to have an occupational therapist, maybe even a speech therapist. Its going to take a few years before we get a really good comprehensive service but its what we are working towards. Once we build a new Bethesda and move we will have more space, something we really lack right now.
Our kids with come every Tuesday and Thursday morning and I am so pleased to say the extra training has paid off and they are all making great improvements.
Altidor has done a great job while I was gone during covid especially with little Oly who first came in the middle of covid, unable to even hold his head up. He was born two months premature and has cerebral palsy. Oly continues to improve and improve, his mum is so willing to learn and do all she can at home. A year ago he was learning to hold his head up today he is pulling himself up to stand at home!!
Little Gabby started about a week before I started working in September, when he first came he was not interested in anyone or toys. His little hands were fisted shut, he was floppy and unable to hold his head up, infact on his first day I was unable to even get him into a good position to practice holding his head up because his spine was so stiff. His wee chest was all rattly (maybe that not even a word! he was full of secretions) - not out of neglect but out of lack of education. His family did not know what positions to put him in and how the lack of movement and poor posture affects his chest.
Today, he is engaged, he is smiling at people, at his mom but mostly at himself in the mirror. He is holding his head up when he is supported in sitting, he is holding his head up when lying on his tummy, his chest is clear, his hands are open and grasping toys and he wants to roll over.
This is absolutely my favourite bit about being here.
We get these kids who can't do anything, again it is not because they are neglected, it is not because they are not being well taken care of. It is because of a lack of education among the general population, among the parents and dare I say it even among some health care professionals. One of the reasons being that physiotherapy is still a relatively new profession in Haiti and the role of physiotherapy in children with additional needs is not widely known.
Anyway after 1 or 2 sessions we see a massive difference. It is like a light has been switched on and the child realizes they can do something. Their brain is stimulated and it wants to learn, it wants to move and build connections. It is really amazing to see how movement affects every area of their development. Once they start to learn it just grows and grows and they become more and more motivated because our brains were made to develop and learn.
One of the things we lack is space and another thing we lack is appropriate toys. Almost all the toys there are my boys old toys and the heat and humidity has destroyed most of them. We are in desperate need of new toys.
This is where you can help.
I have put together a wishlist on amazon of toys which would really help us. You can buy from anywhere in the world and have them to delivered to Bethesda using the following address
Bethesda Medical Center PT
3170 Airmans Drive,
Fort Pierce, FL
Here is the link to the wishlist maybe some of them will even be on offer for black Friday - I hope so I love a good bargin! I would really appreciate your help and so would these little ones.
You can have a look at the list here.