Today, we navigated and rode the local bus all the way to Camino Nuevo by ourselves! We are very proud of this accomplishment. Upon arriving at Camino Nuevo, we met their physical therapist, Amilcar, and the teachers brought the 6 children from their multiple disabilities program into the large gym where PT sessions are held.
It was a great experience for us to collaborate with Amilcar as he demonstrated his approach for each student and communicated their PT goals. Between Amilcar, and our preceptors, Sara & Deb, we performed guided interventions and gained a more comprehensive understanding about their individual conditions. As we got to know each student and their needs, we also gained a better understanding of our role in supporting Amilcar. It was powerful for us, as student physical therapists, to witness the impact of Amilcar’s connection with each student and how this provided a foundation for successful interventions. With all of this information, we will be better equipped when performing home visits and presenting our final in-service for the parents, staff, and other multi-disciplinary teams in the surrounding Cusco area.
Later in in the afternoon, we performed home visits in the community and split into two groups…
Nicole, Sam, Deb, and Mercedes taxied to the home of a 9-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and an idiopathic seizure disorder. Her mother is a single mom, gave birth to her at age 16, and has been working tirelessly ever since to provide her child with the highest quality of life possible. We assessed their modest home consisting of a 20ft x 20ft room with a tarped ceiling, single bed, and an outdoor bathroom. The mother provided a comprehensive history and told her story including goals for her child. Her primary concerns consisted of feeding, transfers, and alertness of her child. The mother shared her multitude of environmental modifications with us and we were blown away by her resourcefulness and innovation. Collaboratively, we recommended different solutions addressing the goals presented and practiced them with the mother and child. While it was a fabulous learning experience, what resonated most was the unbridled love this mother had for her child and how at no point was burden of care expressed.
Maddie, Sara, & Mica walked about a mile from our homestay to visit a beautiful 3.5 year old boy diagnosed with CP. The purpose of this visit was to provide consultation to the family and understand what their needs are. When we arrived, we were welcomed into the home of a supportive family. They guided us to a small room, which was his mother’s room and was dedicated completely to her child and his needs. We were ecstatic to see the resources available to him, including a mat and plenty of toys. Therefore, we focused on educating them with multiple solutions for standing independently and transferring from sit to stand. This family felt they needed to help him with every movement, however Sara explained responsibility and performing movements independently are vital to improving function. Our biggest take home from this visit was the willingness of the family to adapt their lives to meet the needs of this intelligent child. This family has had prior conflicting encounters with schools and medical professionals, so their primary concern was educating themselves about their child’s diagnosis. Not once did they mention any burden their child has been on them and the love they have for this child warms our hearts. We enjoyed making a difference for this family and look forward to making a difference for many more during our time here in Cusco.
~Mica, Maddie, Sam, & Nicole