Cerebral Palsy Association Spreads Christmas Cheer!

On Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December 2013, the Cerebral Palsy Association brought cheer to children and families of persons with Cerebral Palsy through the hosting of their Sensory Christmas Activity. Family members of children with Cerebral Palsy in the regions of Dennery, Babonneau and Castries were treated to a movie at Caribbean Cinemas whilst the children attended a Sensory Party at the Sure Start Preschool in San Souci. The party was hosted over two days, with two groups of eight children on each day to ensure that all thirty two children received the care and detailed supervision needed.

A wide range of therapeutic activities were available and tailored to suit the needs of each child in developing their motor abilities.  Volunteers provided massages; physiotherapy, arts and crafts, sports, games and a number of other stimulating and interactive activities took place within the setting of the Sensory Room.

Source: The Saint Lucia Mirror

Cerebral Palsy Association Restructures

The Cerebral Palsy Association of St Lucia in keeping with its mission to assist and advocate for the rights of persons with Cerebral Palsy, has restructured its executive to ensure that the objectives and goals of the association are met.

The executive consists of Daria Robinson Ernest- President, Diane Leonce- Vice President, Kezie Stanislaus-Secretary, Crystal Louis- Deputy Secretary, Deseree Desrivieres- Treasurer, Sherma Cenac and Emma Augustin – Public Relations Officers.

In 2014, the executive’s focus is on sourcing specialised equipment for the children affected by the condition. The equipment received will enhance the quality of life for the Individual and will also support the families in providing better care.

Source: St Lucia News Online

Celebrating Abilities : World Cerebral Palsy Day

“Rising above physical challenges” is the mantra of the organization raising awareness of Cerebral Palsy.

Wednesday 02 October 2013 marked the 2nd Annual World Cerebral Palsy Day observed locally by the Cerebral Palsy Association of Saint Lucia, in addition to some 30 countries around the world. Emotional remarks by President of the Association Daria Robinson-Ernest, revealed the heart behind the organization, as both she and Vice President Diane Leonce are parents of children living with cerebral palsy.

Mrs. Ernest said “this observance is crucial in building a bridge in society between what is considered normal and what is not.”

She asked those in attendance to look beyond these differences and to embrace ones uniqueness. Ernest went on to explain the importance of raising awareness as, “time sensitive”

Source: The Voice

Cerebral Palsy Association hosts “Respite Day”

The Cerebral Palsy Association of Saint Lucia’s(CPA) primary objective is to support children and their families who are affected by Cerebral Palsy. TheAssociation recently had the pleasure of hosting its first “Respite Day” on Sunday, June 2nd 2013 at Spinners in Union. The aim of the day was to give parents some much needed time off,and enjoy the company of each other whilst having lunch and drinks at Sandals Halcyon. The President of the Association Daria Robinson-Ernest states, “We recognized that parents, especially those who care for “Special Needs Children” deserve some form of a break to relax and unwind. As a result, we felt that it was necessary to allow them to celebrate their parenthood during a period where Mothers and Fathers are celebrated the world over.”

Whilst the Parents enjoyed lunch, the children were engaged in an Arts and Crafts Program to encourage the use of their hands, which is important for learning basic skills like eating and dressing. The assistance of the group Believe in Volunteering, the Adventist Community Services, a Special Needs Activity coordinator, along with teachers and other volunteers made this program a success. Our play mats were also donated by Q Homes Ltd, which ensured that the children could play in a comfortable and protective area. The children got to explore with sensory bins and materials which would encourage creativity through stimulation.

Parents also got the opportunity to de-stress by having back massages done compliments Shawn’s Spa and make-overs compliments Lisa Weekes.One of the parents’ Peter Stanislaus expressed “I could not imagine spending my Sunday in a better way. This was truly a surprise.”

The Association continues to advocate for continuous therapy for the children, early intervention, and specialized programs in schools to further develop these individuals to be contributing members of Society.

The CPA also commends the Government for taking the initiative to introduce a monthly stipend of $ 200.00 to families with challenged children. We do, however, believe that a lot more can be done in areas like Education. Universal Early Childhood Education should be especially accessible to this group of children who depend on early stimulation. This would then alleviate an approximate output of $ 16, 800.00 to families who also have to purchase medication and other specialized equipment for their children.

We appreciate the first step by the Government in recognizing that we have a major issue with childhood disabilities and implore them to continue exploring ways to curb the numbers from increasing whilst making life accessible for those inexistence through health, education and social benefits.

The Solar-Powered Wheelchair

What started as a class project turned into an award-winning invention for a group of University of Virginia students. The engineering students created a solar-powered wheelchair.

The group of students spent many grueling nights working on the invention all in hopes to finish it in 90 days. After three months, the wheelchair is up and running, thanks to a lot of hard work and the sun.

Alper Sirvan’s life just got a little bit easier. He has cerebral palsy and lives in Turkey. He has never met the students who built the solar-powered wheelchair but he’s benefiting from the group’s success firsthand.

He pitched the idea for the sun-powered wheelchair from Turkey, where he entered it into the “Change My Life in One Minute” contest for World Cerebral Palsy Day. The engineering students thought the idea was brilliant and took on the challenge – and it was quite a challenge.

“It got to the point where we would be sitting there at midnight and we’d go, ‘you know, this just isn’t working’ and tear the whole thing down and start over,” said Dennis Waldron, who worked on the wheelchair.

Waldron says the group had to tear down the wheelchair four times before they finally got it right. Group members say they look forward to sending the finished project off to Turkey so Sirvan can use it.
Sirvan currently uses a wheelchair that he has had for years and told the students he has a hard time getting it up and down hills.

“In his entry he wrote that in a lot of places there they don’t always have access to always-on power, so if they need to get around it’s a huge mobility issue for those people over there that don’t have power all the time,” Waldron said. Steven Bennett, with United Cerebral Palsy, says the students’ invention is about more than just science. “It’s really about humanity, it’s really about making the world an easier and better place,” Bennett said.

The students were granted $20,000 for the invention. They say they are using part of the money to ship the wheelchair off to Turkey and are giving the rest back to United Cerebral Palsy.