China Mission Trip: Our last days in China
Today, the occupational therapists spent time with the children in the welfare center. The conditions there are drastically different from the ICC portion of the orphanage. The speech language pathologist and occupational therapist worked on seating for a child with cleft palate for proper positioning during feeding. The Cole occupational therapists also educated several other team members about positioning children with cerebral palsy to facilitate normal movement patterns that they have not yet developed.
All three therapists split up in the evening to experience different elements of Chinese life. One experienced Karaoke, a popular leisure activity in China, one rested to prepare for climbing one of China’s top 5 sacred mountains the next day, and one relaxed with a foot massage, a common activity for Chinese to unwind from the day. Sunday is the ICC’s team day off and the team made plans to enjoy the one of our last days in China!
Anna, the resident occupational therapist, organized for each of the children to visit a local park over the next two days. It is a very big endeavor that requires managing strollers and wheelchairs for each group into a small bus. This is a big deal for the children because they may only leave the orphanage 1-2 times a year. The two Cole Health occupational therapists accompanied their assigned group of girls with varying disabilities to the park. Several caregivers from ICC joined us so every child was paired one on one. ICC team members brought fruit to share with the children at the park and everyone had an opportunity to ride a small train a couple of times. There were smiles all around on the visit and many tired eyes on the way home.
This afternoon, our speech therapist gave an important training to the local caregivers regarding feeding. Her efforts have dramatically improved the nutrition of several babies, transitioning them from formula to solids.
In the afternoon, the team had the opportunity to buy goods that were made by some of the children in the orphanage in the vocational center. The occupational therapists were especially happy to know that the older children were given opportunities to develop new authentic occupations and skills through the vocational center.
The Cole Health team participated in a debriefing covering the time spent on the trip. This process proved beneficial to the therapists who were able to take the time to reflect on all of the experiences of the mission trip and was a great transition for the trip home. Our therapists certainly saw many smiles and made connections with the children. They shared fun moments, and improved the safety and quality of life of many of the children!