Special Equipment Needs
One of the first things that was apparent when Irene, our Scottish director first visited Mae Sot, was that many of the children with CP, spent most of their time on the floor – often having spent years of their lives simply lying on the floor in one room of their wooden bamboo hut. Irene’s initial aim was simply to get the children off the floor and on to their feet. This is because, for the hip joints to form properly and for the systems of the body to work at their best, the body needs to be upright. Also, imagine viewing your whole world from lying flat on the floor, in one room and it is not hard to imagine just how much you might miss out on. Since then, through a mixture of donations of equipment from the UK and through local construction of standing frames and seats, many children now spend at least part of their day in equipment that allows them to join in with what is going on around them, from a better, more supported vantage point. But, there remain many others who either are not yet known to us or for whom we have not yet been able to provide the right equipment. We need more help in funding this essential equipment.
For many children, a wheelchair is something that can only be dreamt about, but thanks to other organisations around Mae Sot, the sight of wheelchairs is becoming more common and our the Stepping Stones team is tasked with ensuring that they are a good fit and that they are in working order. Too often in the early stages of the wheelchair project, the wheelchairs could be found abandoned, with punctures or broken bits and not surprisingly, for many it may simply not be a good option for use in an area where monsoon rains cause flooding and muddy tracks for months every year. However, when well-fitted and used during the dry season, a wheelchair can provide real independence and through the Mae Tao Clinic, our trainees and some Starflower teachers have been able to access very useful wheelchair training. To continue to maintain and fund more wheelchairs, we need ongoing funding.