DAT has impact

An attitude of love can be seen from those who came to the UK. It is clear that many of the participants of the DAT (Disability Awareness Tour) that we ran back in June 2017 have understood much of what they saw and it’s affecting their work. Most noticeably is the ward mum on my ward. She seems now to be able to see when a child’s posture is bad and be able to find the cushions or straps that will improve it. She looks genuinely satisfied to see them sitting or lying better. She is engaging loads with the children and even doing skills work which I would normally do. I can see she realizes that perseverance and encouragement can help the children to succeed. The children are responding well to this too with Mr B following her down the ward on his walker to play chase and being willing to follow directions she gives him.

Mar Yen’s official study tour project was a lycra parachute sort of game with straps where the children can hold one each. The idea is that once they are all holding the stretchy material, when one child moves, they all feel it and it encourages active movement. The children think it’s amazing. My prayer is that the ward mums will use it often and that maybe regularly there will be ‘play hours’ within the ward.

Other ward mums are occasionally following suit. One picks up bubble solution to blow for the children and others join in with her project activity and bring other children out of cots to play too.

Another from the group – one of the teachers –  has started doing painting with the children in her group. They will soon be working on a ‘bug project’ for the sensory garden, painting concrete bug moulds to add to the mural being painted for the garden. This is a project started with the local international school, ISB, to create the creatures to make the mural have depth. It’s great the children from the mild CP ward will get to see their art work within that painting.

One of the physios from the group has used one of the electric wheelchairs from the Pedro container for a little girl with arthogryposis multiplex complex. Seeing her gently introduce her to it and sit in it with her to start with and gauge when to nudge her to independent sitting was truly lovely and the effect was massive. The child screamed at first and was giggling with delight only ten minutes later. She loved to just spin and spin at first. When we went for a walk, it was clear she understood how to control it and go the right way with the joystick. Of course there were some crashes as there were with Mr S in his, but they were both working out cause and effect by having them.

It was truly lovely to see.

I definitely think the study tour was worth it. Next month the group who came will present their activities to the foundation or the orphanage and their colleagues in two meetings. The hope is that the foundation will be massively encouraged and permit the providing of funds for another group to come in April 2018. The foundation provides funds for their participants’ flights, visas, insurance and spending allowance, while 1Step2Step pay all costs related to the stay in the UK. The foundation’s support means we are working together for the same aim and helps the orphanage take ownership of its development.

Nicola Anderson

…and here’s a bonus video of Mr B walking twice!

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