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Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Recap Of Our Time At ASSA

Three weeks have gone by so fast and it seems we are due for another update. The team has been at Families for Children for 5 days and it has been wonderful, but before I get into the details I'd like to talk more about our time at ASSA.

Like we've said before, our time at ASSA was great and we really felt at home. The staff and the residents were so welcoming and taught us a lot about our professions and ourselves.

The occupational therapists, Ashok and myself (Paige) spent a lot of time with the physio therapists watching and learning while they stretched children (residents and outpatients) and the patients in the spinal cord unit. However, our skills were most valuable in the new sensory room that was created in the Sangamam school. They did a great job creating an environment to help stimulate the children and we were able to contribute some new toys and knowledge from Canada. The physio therapists were so excited about the sensory toys we brought from home and Ashok and I created a presentation to teach them a little more about sensory integration, when it is useful, our experience using a sensory room at home, and some of our recommendations for their sensory room.

The medical students, David and Michelle spent a lot of time in the spinal cord unit with the doctor and patients. They participated in rounds every morning and learned a lot about neurology and the nature of spinal cord injuries from both the doctor and the patients. They also created an informative presentation for the physio therapists about new research in spinal cord injuries. It was well received and a learning experience for all of us.

As Aleshia mentioned previously, she worked with the nurse doing wound care in the spinal cord injury unit and also benefited from the knowledge shared by the doctor and the patients. Her hand hygiene presentation, which was delivered to the physio therapists, the patients in the spinal cord unit, and the rest of the IHI team, was informative and effective. She was proactive in creating posters that described the proper way to wash your hands and posted them throughout the campus.

On our day off one of the physiotherapists, Subu and her family accompanied us to Kanyakamari, the southern tip of India. Here we watched the sunrise, visited a few temples, and walked through the Gandhi museum. On our way home we stopped at a gorgeous waterfall and spent an incredible couple of hours relaxing and exploring. We ended the evening at Subu's home to have a meal with her family. It was a great experience. The team was humbled and honoured to have been invited and overwhelmed by the hospitality.

Other highlights of ASSA:
- spending time in the community with a physiotherapist visiting a sister school of ASSA and the homes of patients
- playing Carrom with the residents of the spinal cord unit
- meeting fellow volunteers from India
- watching residents of ASSA put on a dance show

We ended our stay at ASSA by presenting our dance from Evening in India to the kids, teachers, physiotherapists, residents of the spinal cord unit, and the secretary and his family. We had to work hard to remember the steps, but it went well and I think everyone appreciated our effort. It was very sad to say goodbye to everyone who had welcomed us with open arms and taught us so much. However, we had to continue on this wonderful journey.

The team is happy, healthy and excited for the upcoming adventures. We are finishing off our week at FFC now- an update with more details will be coming soon!

 Our first train ride-Passenger class. As you can see it is quite crowded, but surprisingly we still all have smiles on our faces after 2 days of straight travel. ASSA here we come. 

Making new friends at ASSA
 Piling into our first auto rickshaw

 The team with the physio therapists at ASSA

 Our trip to Kanyakamari with Subu and her family

 Playing carrom with the guys in the spinal cord unit

 After a game of 7 rocks with the girls

Dave playing the mandolin as the resident kids wait for their physio