Archive for July, 2016


July 2016 – 16. July, 2016


Click here for link to July Photo Album:

It has now been more than six months since we moved to central Vietnam post language study in February. By now our use of Vietnamese to manage life feels less challenging although still limited!

Esther is beginning to see some changes in the patrons and response to the therapy.

Here are a few surprises and observations:

- A hug from C, our house helper, as she realizes I honestly like her cooking.

- The 13 year old, Tai, is now able to speak without twitching and explores a new physical challenge expressing satisfaction with his skill.

- The 4 year old Bạo An with Cerebral Palsy is learning to crawl using his arms and legs to move to the toy across the mat.

- Eleven year old Nguyet is joining other peers on the floor as they play using her own initiative. And she calls to her Dad verbally when he arrives to take her home.

- Three year old Hiếu, born with Cerebral Palsy, verbalizes in communicative exchanges with the therapist.

- H who speaks only to herself, has begun smiling and making eye contact with others here at the center.

- Twelve year old Long, expresses his happiness by singing to himself at noon time after lunch. Beautiful notes of a Vietnamese tune.  He does not express himself verbally and yet his singing expressions give a beautiful message of peace and joy.

- Other notable changes as seen from daily observation are – children using their utensils to feed themselves, using the rest rooms properly, sharing toys and looking out for the other person, and standing in space to copy physical movements each AM.

A new activity has been working with three young children who come just for the therapy session and who have more involved physical disabilities due to cerebral palsy. Since they are still young there is more hope the therapy can prevent secondary issues. Although I spent several years at the beginning of my OT practice at a center for children with cerebral palsy, it is different here being the only professional, instead of part of a comprehensive team. There are written resources in both Vietnamese and English with some being an adaptation of the English version. Caregivers and adults here in Vietnam are literate and interested in written material to some extent. I am trying to pick some materials to handout as I have a limited ability to explain the nuances of what is happening and why. As in any culture,  the desire for “fixing” ones child or of making things all better is quite high. I can only love and share what I can and know and believe that this will be received.

img_0857One special event this past month was two days of training on community based rehabilitation for about 50 health workers from the district.  We found out about it because they used the meeting room at the center for the training.  Along with the local staff we were able to join in the training and practice sessions using some of the same persons Esther works with in therapy at the center. We were pleased to learn one of the instructors, Dr. Tran Trong Hai, had supported MCC’s work by Gail Dick, an MCC Occupational Therapy Rehabilitation Volunteer in Hanoi in 1996.

Last month we took a few days away to the town of Hoi An.  This was a rejuvenating break.  And in mid-August we plan to take a vacation to the US to be with our little grandson and daughter and husband, in California.  He should arrive early August!  On this trip we will also fly to the east coast for a few days to visit Paul’s dad who is nearing 90.  We return here September 10 after a bit more time with the “new baby and parents”. Please understand that this visit, our intention and focus is to visit and be with immediate family. Your thoughts and connections by email, and phone to our US former home phone number encourage us. We love to hear of your lives and work.

This month we want to share a little more detail about the daily activities at the Day Care and Rehabilitation Center where we work. Click here for a description of the rehab activities.

Click here for link to July Photo Album:

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