The following blog update comes to us from physical therapist Jessica Minard at Maria’s Big House of Hope in China…
March-April PT Update and Overview
In April I was able to revisit and re-evaluate children at our Zhengzhou care center in addition to the ongoing work at Maria’s. Ayis at both units were given updated exercise programs for their caregiver Ayis to perform. These instructions include how to support strengthening, developmental gross motor skills and proper positioning.
My visit to Zhengzhou also focused heavily on training a new PT Ayi at the unit as well as continuing education for their current PT Ayi. The training spanned two days and covered all the basics of rehabilitation, development, play and treatment techniques. We have successfully completed our second “continuing education” training for the PT Ayis here at Maria’s. We covered normal child development in order to recognize delays in development and develop goals for the kiddos.
In terms of equipment we have just received 6 standing frames and ZipZac chairs! I have begun fitting and trialing the standing frames in the rooms here at Maria’s with our children with cerebral palsy or significant delays in development. I am in the process of making a detailed and pictured instruction sheet for the Ayis so that there can ultimately be more independence on their part to use these frames in the rooms. Currently I bring the standing frames in and out of the rooms to demonstrate and educate the Ayis on how to properly use the frame and which children are appropriate for each frame. For safety and compliance reasons, it will most likely be several months before the frames are left in the rooms for the Ayis to use independently.
We recently started making PVC mobiles for each room that will provide more opportunities for play and sensory experiences for more of our involved children (see pictures below). They are designed to be placed over the child with toys hanging on both sides as well as above. It not only has allowed these children more opportunities for play but also increased socialization! Often the other children in the room will come over and play along the sides of the mobile and it has been so fun to see the kids lying within the unit to smile and laugh as they watch the other children play with them. Three of these mobiles have been built and we are planning on making 5 more mobiles and acquiring enough hanging toys so that each room can have their own mobile. Once each room has their own mobile, monthly we will rotate the mobiles from room to room for increased variety of play for the kiddos.
In terms of facilitating play within the children’s rooms, myself and the Renichs are establishing a system to provide age appropriate and developmentally stimulating toys in every room. Currently each room has toys but there has been no system to maintain the quality of the toys or replace old/broken/missing pieces of toys. We have made a list of developmentally appropriate toys that each room should have and are working on stocking inventory. Once we have enough toys for every room we will then disperse and do bimonthly room inventories to replace and update toys. Similarly to the PVC mobiles we will also rotate the bins of toys between the rooms bimonthly.
The impacts of PT here are varying and huge! Three boys at Maria’s with varying diagnoses (arthrogryposis, cardiac condition, liver condition) who all present with developmental delay have begun stepping on their own this past month! The same girl with CP that I wrote about last month from our ZhengZhou unit (who had begun walking with assistance and sitting independently) is now walking on her own and can transition from floor to stand without assistance as well!! A little girl with a cardiac condition in our ICU has begun sitting up on her own while another little girl with brittle bone disease has begun rolling to her sides! Those are just a few examples of the children here who are now sitting, rolling, transitioning, and standing on their own and we are so very proud of them!
Next month I will be re-evaluating the children at New Hope in Beijing as well as continuing care at Maria’s. Our next continuing education training at the end of April will cover play and treatment techniques. The goals for the next month, in addition to ongoing PT treatment of the children, will be continuing to use and train the Ayis with the standing frames, completing the PVC mobiles for each room, and developing new toy inventory for each room.