Three boys and one girl sat in various positions; two in specially designed chairs, one on a plastic motorcycle and one on Pat’s lap. “Good job, Marzia! you are getting such strong muscles! See how strong you are? Maybe one day you will ride a bike!” Pat murmured encouragement as she stretched the little girl’s arms and legs.
CDI has been working in this children’s home since spring, once a week with Group 1 (read about Group 1 here) and twice a week with Group 2. The second group is mostly immobile kids. When we first started working there very few could even sit up on their own. They spent the day laying in bed, some of them stuck in one position. Their muscles were stiff and their movements spastic. Even sadder was the hopeless look in their eyes.
Over the last nine months we’ve been doing basic physical therapy, cooperating with the nannies to use a spare room. It’s a very slow process, but we’ve seen improvement in mobility and core muscle stabilization in several kids. Now when we enter the hall we hear them calling us, some leaning over the edge of their beds to look for us. Their eyes sparkle as we lift them and ask if they want to go “play” in the physical therapy room.
Some local people are also volunteering with the CDI workers. Physical therapy is very one-on-one, so more volunteers means more children have a chance to interact with people who care about them.