Wishesland godsend for those with cerebal palsy

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Delbert (centre) reacts to a toy held by physiotherapist Lines (far right). Also seen are (from left) Delbert’s parents Fu and Then, and physiotherapist Agnes.

KUCHING: Every parent wants to see their children smile. The wait is longer when your child has cerebral palsy (CP), a disorder that can involve the brain and nervous system functions, impede basic things like movements and learning, and postpone the simple things in life like a smile.

Getting a smile out of a CP child is among the things their parents will rejoice over, as told by two sets of parents who spoke to journalists about their life journey with a CP child at Wishesland (Kuching & Samarahan Division Cerebral Palsy Association) yesterday.

Then Yien Yien, 40, and her husband Fu Kuet Sin, 43, are ‘kolo mee’ sellers. Their son Delbert has complications at birth which they suspect led to him to having CP.

“He went straight to ICU after he was born and stayed there for three weeks,” said Then.

The toddler started having fits two or three days after being sent home, increasing in frequency as days rolled by. They spent money on Chinese medicine but it didn’t improve the situation. Fortunately, it didn’t take too long for them to learn about Wishesland and get on the programme.

Wishesland was set up by a group of parents specifically to help children and adults who are living with CP, and function as a support network for their parents or caregivers.

This includes what little Delbert is receiving – massages to improve the blood circulation, a regiment of passive movement to keep muscles toned, and a physiotherapy session with Wishesland’s full time physiotherapists.

The toddler was in bad shape when he first arrived, recalled physiotherapist Lines Landei, 26.

“He was crying all the time, he had the fits, his body movement was very limited,” she said. “Now he can turn over by himself, and the fits are reduced, which means he can focus on expressing himself and playing.”

Her colleague Agnes Winnie, 23, added that little Delbert’s reflexes are much better and he will look at you if you called his name.

“It takes time, and we need to work step by step,” she said. “Next, we want to work on his balance.”

Agnes advised parents with a CP child not to give up hope and work together with their physiotherapists.

With the help of a one-off grant, Delbert’s parents took up a massage course so they can continue his therapy at home.

According to Wishesland treasurer Desmond Hii, they were fully dependant on public donations.

“Our operating cost is between RM2,000 to RM3,000 per month. We managed to raise around RM100,000 during last year’s fund raising dinner,” he said, adding that they were waiting the state government’s approval for them to build a swimming pool so they could start hydrotherapy sessions.

Wishesland has a total of 50 members, which comprises both volunteers and family of CP children. There are 12 CP children in the society coming to their centre for treatment.

The centre at Jalan Crookshank charges RM50 a month for a twice a week session, and RM100 if the parents wish to bring the child in every day.

Those who want to learn more about Wishesland, can call their president Chi Poh Yong at 016-8899428.

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