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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Contributions to ASSA

Despite the very short amount of time we spent at Amar Seva Sangam, we all felt like we learned many valuable lessons and skills that will help us become better health care professionals. In the previous blog entry, we mentioned the parents’ manual that we were asked to develop. Similar to Canada, the therapy staff at ASSA only see their ‘clients’ for a short portion of a given day, while the parents of these children have at least 23 other hours to care for them. The point of the manual is to provide guidance to parents of children with disabilities in order to help them manage the challenges they face in the home. Unfortunately, we received the proposal for this project the day before we left Canada, so we completed most of the manual while in India. Due to our time constraints, we chose to focus the manual (thus far) on challenges faced by children with physical disabilities, as well as tips for managing these challenges at home and increasing independence for the children. The topic areas we have covered so far include communication challenges, eating/feeding challenges, learning through play, managing delays in physical abilities, increasing independence in self-care activities, managing high and low tone to prevent contractures, preventing pressure ulcers, and seizure management. We hope to continue working with next year’s IHI team to expand this part of the manual, and begin another section for children with cognitive delays and behavioural challenges.

In terms of donations, we were able to leave two suitcases filled with various medical supplies, including different types of gauze, specialized dressings, compression stockings, disinfectant solution, syringes, etc. These supplies were all donated by Not Just Tourists and Grand River Hospital in Kitchener-Waterloo, and were left with the Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Unit. Other items requested by ASSA included a blood pressure cuff, a thermometer, various strengths of Theraband, a Spirometer and 50 Spirometer mouthpieces, all of which was purchased in Canada prior to our departure.

After purchasing the supplies mentioned above, we were able to leave a $1,500 donation to be used as ASSA sees appropriate. After meeting with Sankar Raman (ASSA’s Chief Secretary) and Saravanan (Head Physiotherapist), we learned that they would like to put our donation towards a long-awaited project – a Sensory Integration initiative. The therapists at ASSA hope to provide child-directed therapy to the students at their special school using Sensory Integration. Interventions based on this type of theory aim to help children reach their optimal state of arousal (the perfect balance of being calm and alert). Once the child is at their ‘just right’ level of arousal, therapy interventions will be more successful. For more information on Sensory Integration theories and interventions, please feel free to visit the CanChild website from McMaster University through the following link:

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