Depending on the needs of any given insitution, I have worked at every level:
Helping with everyday care, alongside regular carers
- As a physiotherapist’s assistant
- As medical manager
- Training and guiding staff and volunteers
- Taking sole charge of a grouphome
- Stepping in as acting children’s home director to cover people’s holidays
Whatever the description of my position, in every case I look around to find out what could be improved, for both children and carers. As I go, I offer solutions, advice and training to bring about these improvements. I provide the institution’s management with my recommendations in daily or weekly reports, a list sent towards the end of my stay, or through a lecture given to selected staff, depending on their preferences.
In these homes apart from working to increase the day to day comfort and enjoyment of life of dozens of babies, I have been instrumental in the survival of several dozen children who were in critical condition. Also have I brought about drastic, life-changing improvements in the lives of several dozen more children by improving their mobility through physiotherapy, weaning babies with dysphagia and/or oral aversion off feeding tubes after longterm dependence, discovering a wrong diagnosis, or by overseeing a change in medication resulting in less sedation.
In Brazil I was presented with the opportunity to do a series of short internships at CAMS (Complex for multidisciplinary health treatment)/APAE (Association of Parents and Friends of Exceptionals), which provides rehabilitation treatment for children with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, multiple disabilities and autism. I spent time there with experts in the fields of:
- occupational therapy
- speech therapy
- medical – consisting of neurology, paediatrics, genetics, psychiatry.
I am also happy to help institutions with finding ways to move their children to family-based situations, either by re-uniting them with their families and providing the families with support, or by setting up a foster care network for children who really are unable to return to their families.
What I enjoy most about what I do, is the exchange of learning new things in every location, and teaching people things that are new to them. That is what makes it all worthwhile. That and seeing children happy!
An insight into some of the work done in China: