The Jinjiang Believe in Me (BIM) School is something special. Children with special needs who are unable to attend a regular public school participate in meaningful educational activities that allow children to grow both cognitively and emotionally. Jinjiang BIM teachers receive specialized training to help their students reach their full potential. Read more.
Tag Archives: Cerebral Palsy
Can you imagine waiting for ten years for a family to call your own, only to never be chosen?
Ben, who has been a student at our Shantou Believe in Me School since 2004, has watched his friends be chosen for adoption over the years. He has cheerfully maintained his role as “big brother” to the younger kids at the school all the time, never letting it alter his happy outlook on life. However, his last chance for adoption is now here. He ages out in late July 2013 when he turns 14. This breaks our hearts as we feel he could bring so much joy to a family. Read more.
I ended Friday’s blog by saying that the shift in orphanage populations has significantly changed the responsibilities of nannies over the years. A decade ago, the nannies were caring for 10-15 children at a time in the main baby rooms….but on the whole, these were primarily “healthy” babies. Now they are often caring for the same number of children, but ones who have medical needs. Their jobs can be difficult indeed. I will never forget walking into a rural orphanage in a western province and seeing a nanny thread a worn looking rubber tube down the throat of a baby with cleft. She then proceeded to pour milk drop by drop into the tube. She explained that the child was unable to suck from a regular bottle, and so she had come up with this homemade NG tube on her own to save his life. Read more.
Today’s guest blogger is Marta Navaza, the coordinator of LWB’s Believe in Me Shanxi school.
I remember how worried I was when I received the first reports on LWB’s newest Believe in Me school in Shanxi. There was little Lola, with not even a single “confident” mark on the abilities checklist; or Iker, who at seven years of age could hardly say his own name. It was heartbreaking for me. I thought that the school’s teachers, even if they were enthusiastic and well trained in the Montessori Method, really had a tough job ahead of them. Read more.
Returning to the Shantou orphanage is always like coming home to me. I have been visiting this orphanage for over nine years, and two of my children spent the beginning of their lives in this facility. This trip was especially poignant to me as the word “changes” kept swirling through my head. There are so many changes in China each year, both wonderful and somber, and my heart felt split in two as it soared with joy at moments but then also crumbled at the increasingly complex needs. Everyone with a heart for the orphaned has to face the reality that almost every child abandoned now has a medical need, and so the issues the nannies face are often immense. The days of orphanages being filled with healthy baby girls due to the one child policy are over, and yet that myth is still perpetuated in news articles and blogs. Read more.
Sweet Carly is a lovely five-year-old girl in the Believe in Me Jingzhou School. You may remember her from her introduction in March 2010 in the blog post “A Day in the Life at Believe in Me Jingzhou,” when Carly was the newest student in school. This precious young girl has cerebal palsy, but she doesn’t let that slow her down! She loves spending her days in school, where she plays with many fun, tactile educational tools such as the knobbed cylinders and triangle boxes. She spends lots of time reading picture story books and loves participating in arts and crafts. While Carly is shy around the teachers, she is a chatterbox with her friends. We have been told by our China manager that she is a smart little girl. Read more.
This summer, Tommy and the students at our Believe in Me Jingzhou School enjoyed an outing to an amusement park and Kentucky Fried Chicken to celebrate all of their hard work. When we saw these photos of Tommy enjoying himself to the fullest on the carousel, we knew we had to share his fun with our readers!
According to his recent school report, Tommy has been improving a great deal in the classroom. His favorite subject at this time is math, specifically the Montessori “spindle box” activity. Tommy is a willing participant in class discussion and exercises and plays very well with his classmates. His teachers describe him as lively and optimistic.
Shawn Michael has been at the Lu’An, Anhui, orphanage for nearly half a year. He has cerebral palsy, doesn’t eat very well, and gets sick easily, but he is a good boy. A few weeks ago it was found that Shawn Michael cried seriously when his right leg was touched. LWB’s Orphanage Assistance program sponsors a nurse in this orphanage to provide medical care to the children there. The nurse thought that Shawn Michael might have a leg fracture or cyst within his leg. He was taken to the hospital for an X-ray of his leg, and it was determined that he has inherited Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease, and he did have a fracture. With tender care he is doing better now, but Shawn faces an uncertain future since his bones are easily broken.
We returned to Zhongshan SWI for Day Two of the PT Training. Lisa and I continued to evaluate the remaining children with special needs from Zhongshan SWI and discussed the importance of getting the children up and sitting, even standing for those that showed the ability to be supported in that position. Lisa also evaluated a beautiful five-year-old girl who is unable to speak or chew her food. She really stole our hearts; she has such a gentle personality and is so cute! The staff appreciated all the information Lisa had to share about techniques to stimulate facial and tongue muscles as there is no speech therapy in China. We really appreciate having Julianne with us as a jie jie. When the children seemed afraid of the ladies with the light hair and strange language, Julianne steps right in to play with them, and they seem to forget about us while doing therapy!
We arrived at the Zhongshan SWI today to begin the PT Training Program for 20 staff members in six orphanages in Guizhou Province. The morning began by providing attendees with an overview of cerebral palsy (CP). Caring for children born with CP can be quite a challenge given that every child born with CP is different. We moved right away to demonstrating positioning and exercise techniques while evaluating eight children from the Zhongshan and Liuzhi SWIs. We were so moved to hear the concerns of the directors and staff who sincerely want the children in their care to have a better life. It was obvious to us that the children are very loved and have strong positive relationships with their caregivers. We also answered many questions about helping children with spina bifida.
The little boy in the top photo was first seen during a March visit to Guizhou by several LWB team members. He also has spina bifida, but he is now walking everywhere!