Hello, my name is Kelsey Larson and I am a college student studying to become a Nurse. I am currently doing a service internship in another country but I can not give any specific information in order to protect the identitites of the children involved. I volunteer at an orphanage with children who rarely get much attention from people other than the interns. The 8 children I personally work with have very severe disabilities, most have varying degrees of cerebral palsy. These incredible children are kept in their beds and cribs most, if not all of the day. Although their lives seem sad and difficult, they have the happiest spirits of anyone I have ever met.
Laying down all day long, makes their bodies twisted, contorted, and uncomfortable. You can see the effect it has had with one of my girl's protruding rib cage on one side, a little boy's head which has flattened in the back where he lays on it all day, and a teenage boy's inability to sit upright without feeling pain. Besides physically, it has also affected the kids in other ways. It is hard to see things that go on in their room while laying down, and to receive stimuli from various things that happen outside of their crib. Instead, my baby girl rocks back and forth to stimulate herself. I think the lack of stimuli is the reason why my 6 year old boy has become somewhat emotionless and unresponsive. By forcing them to continually lay in bed, these children aren’t able further develop or to experience very much of their world.
Standing for at least a small part of the day facilitates respiration, normalizes bowel function, increases circulation, maximizes weight bearing on the long bones, increases range of motion, provides positive psychological impact, builds cardiovascular endurance, improves urinary drainage, reduces the risk of pressure sores, and decreases abnormal muscle tone.
I hope that the time I spend here will make these children feel happy and loved, but I have tried to think of a way to help these kids in the future as well. My professors explained to me how damaging it is for the kids to stay laying down all day long, and encouraged me to find a way to change this.
After researching, I found this company called “Easy Stand” that specializes in exactly what I need. They make some wheelchairs that are built perfectly for children with cerebral palsy. These wheelchairs easily change from a horizontal, sitting, or standing position. My kids aren’t able to hold their own weight or even stand with assistance, but the users for these chairs do not need any functional ability. They are also configurable so that they can be used for several people throughout a certain height and weight range. Among other things, the chair also has a table attached where we can place our program’s iPad in order for the child to watch a show. Toys can also be placed here, which would be easily accessible and offer the child options for what they would like to do. All of this would entertain the child so much more than laying alone in their crib, with only the ceiling to look at.
Giving them the oppornity to stand upright and move around will help them to build the muscles they will need in order to gain more functional ability of their own. I hope that these chairs will eventually help my children to become stonger, and able to lift themselves up on their own, and gain some independence. I think that it will bring much happiness to their lives.
- How to Help:
Typically a configured product will run between $3200- $4200, plus shipping cost. If I can, I would like to buy 2 chairs. One built for the younger and weaker children and one built for the older and stronger, so that everyone could enjoy the benefits they will bring. If I raise more than enough money to pay for these chairs, I would also like to travel back here after my intersnhip to train the next interns on how to use the chair and to make sure it is actually getting used by each child daily.
I know that a nice wheelchair will not solve all of the problems these children have because of their health and living conditions, but I think that it will help them immensely.
If you would are interested in making a donation, or have any questions, you can contact me at my email: [email protected]
Or donate directly to my PayPal account, using this same email address
Thank you so much for your time!