Edwin has worked as a physiotherapist with us for four years. His priority is to rehabilitate differently-abled children. The severe cases come to our residential school at Anbu Illam. He also works with some of the orphaned elderly people for whom we care.
The work is divided between children suffering from cerebral palsy and orthopaedic cases.
It is rare in this part of Tamil Nadu but we have a complete rehabilitation centre offering physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, recreational activity and vocational training. Edwin explained: “In remote areas, they do not have facilities like this. Children will live in a very small home, they do not have proper hygiene and some of them do not have proper food. So some children, when they come here to Anbu Illam, they feel like they are in heaven and they feel very happy because they have their own community of people who are also disabled like them.”
Many of the children treated at the centre will go on to receive vocational training and be able to support themselves.
Edwin is part of a team of experts who visit the villages to run rehabilitation camps where children are assessed and treatment plans drawn up and implemented. When Edwin first started working with the villagers, the awareness of cerebral palsy was very low. “There was less communication between the parents. They said their children’s disability was down to an evil spirit or such a thing. But now there has been a lot of communication and they are aware of the condition.”
Edwin gave many examples of children who with the right treatment have gone on to have better lives.
Children like the 17 year-old girl who was injured in her hip, knee, ankle and chest following an accident. After coming out of hospital, SCAD arranged for Edwin to visit the girl in her home.
He said: “She was completely fed up and just had movement in one toe. I saw her X-Ray and other reports. I talked with her doctor. I told her parents that she would be able to walk within three months. That’s the confidence I have.”
Despite the disbelieving parents Edwin’s home-based rehabilitation concentrated on the girl’s mobilisation as well as post-orthopaedic care in consultation with the surgeon.
Edwin added: “Within two and a half months, she was walking on the tread mill and played shuttle, and started riding the bicycle. Now she is in her first year at college, engineering college.”