Saturday, October 10, 2009

Healing hands

"Healing hands"
Sun.Star Davao, Oct. 10, 2009

Born prematurely at 6 months old, Kym Siapno is deaf, blind and diagnosed with cerebral palsy. But, even with these physical challenges, Kym’s devoted parents, Denton and Cathy, are determined to have their young daughter live the best life possible.

Through the Internet, the Siapnos discovered Neuro-Respiratory Therapy (NRT), now called The Scotson Technique (TST). TST was developed through more than 13 years of research and practice by Linda Scotson.

Like Kym, Linda’s son Doran had cerebral palsy. In December 2004, Cathy and Kym travelled to the United Kingdom to undergo training for TST.

The drug-free technique is a “unique, predictable, deeply restorative rehabilitation therapy for children and young adults with disabilities caused by brain injury such as cerebral palsy, microcephaly, floppiness; developmental delay; learning disability; autism; vaccine damage; epilepsy; dyspraxia; head injury; stroke; scoliosis; and neurological syndromes (and even spinal injury)”.

The Scotson Technique

“As a result of TST, Kym laughs a lot now. We can already bring her to malls and even on out of town trips which she enjoys. We used to feed her with blended vegetables and fish, now she can chew her food and whenever we feed her she acknowledges if ever she still wants more”, describes Cathy, a registered nurse.

And if sleep was a problem before, now Kym sleeps from 8 to 10 hours or up to 12 hours uninterrupted.

“The greatest help that TST has done to Kym is for almost 4 years now she never had an asthma attack and has never been hospitalized. All her maintenance drug (steroids) has been discontinued and all she takes now is vitamin C”, she adds.

“TST relies only on the use of face towels which parents will use in making very light massages on different areas of the body. We thought that this would be a perfect setting for the Filipino family since there has been a steady decline in the number of physical therapists (due to the nursing trend) and expectedly, the cost per session became higher”, discusses Denton.

The Siapnos were quite impressed with Kym’s improved condition that they invited Linda Scotson and her team to come to Davao so that more children could benefit from TST. Linda sent her senior therapists from the Institute for Advanced Neuromotor Rehabilitation to the city last January 2007. It was the first time ever that the training was conducted in the Philippines.

Healing hands

Inspired by The Scotson Technique motto, ‘We can advance’, Denton and Cathy aimed to make the TST training sustainable and to be able to accommodate more Filipino families. During the British therapists’ first visit, each of the families had to raise P25,000 to cover the training costs. While there are some families who can afford, sadly, most cannot.

Thus, the Healing Hands Center for Brain-Injured Children and Adult Foundation was established as a registered charity foundation by the families and friends of special children in Davao City. The center is located at GEM Village in Maa.

“As parents, we realized how challenging life can be to have a child with special needs so we thought of a way on how to extend services to the less fortunate families so that their special children can also undergo various therapies to appropriately address their needs to develop their motor, cognitive and communication skills”, explains Cathy.

The Healing Hands Center’s goal is “to provide essential therapy to children diagnosed with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cerebral palsy, learning disability and developmental delays and at the same time, share these with parents to promote involvement and participation”.

The center started its operations last March 2008 with 30 children being assisted and provided therapy by trained professional staff who are volunteer occupational therapists, physical therapists, teachers and nurses.

“It is our desire to extend our services to more developmentally challenged children, help them become productive and independent. We passionately wish to continue assisting more families through a community of generous hearts and kind spirits”, smiles Cathy.

“We have a list of children who need intervention but the family cannot afford their therapy. So, we are knocking on the hearts of generous individuals to help sponsor a child’s therapy through the ‘Foster a Child’ program”, encourages Cathy.

Benefit concert

This coming October 16, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., Fullhouse Events and Productions will have a comedy show dubbed as “Todo Tawanan sa Dakbayan”, with the Healing Hands Center as the chosen beneficiary. The performing artists are Tuesday Vargas, Rufa Mi and Pekto with tickets sold at P300, P500 and P1,000 (silver) and P2,500 (VIP).

“Other than the guest artists, some special children will show their God-given talents too”, shares Cathy.

“We guarantee that you will not only enjoy the show but at the same time, make a big difference in the lives of children with special needs. The proceeds of this show will be used to build more therapy rooms and if God permits, we can also put up a small gym for the children, which is very important for their development”, hopes Cathy.

Truly, Cathy and her team are not only gifted with ‘healing hands’ but also of hearts overflowing with love to nurture the special children’s indomitable spirit.

Are you willing to spend time with the kids of Healing Hands Center? Be a volunteer! Call Cathy at tel. no. (082)2448888 for more information.

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