International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is celebrated internationally on 3 December, to promote global awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability. It also aims to boost integration of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
At VMCH, we like to celebrate independence, freedom and achievements in our community, especially when it’s a collaborative effort between our staff and a resident.
Occupational Therapist Taryn Muller loves to share good news about her clients.
She has been working with David, (43), a resident of our supported disability accommodation in Highett, for three months.
“Prior to a decline in his function, David was ambulant and able to engage in many simple activities of daily living, including the ability to feed himself,” recalls Taryn.
“After becoming ill, David was no longer able to complete this task and has spent the last two years being supported by care staff to feed himself.”
That was until one month ago, when, with support from his house and carer support team, speech pathologist and OT, and suitable equipment, he has been able to engage in this activity once again.
“With provision of a new tray table, adaptive cutlery, adaptive crockery and puréed food, David is now enjoying feeding himself independently daily,” says Taryn. “I’m sure his smile proves how happy he is with himself.”
The tray fits over David’s wheelchair and fastens securely to ensure it doesn’t move around when he eats. It also is adjustable so that it can be placed comfortably over David and he can easily access his meals without risk of it slipping. It is also at an optimal height to increase arm function when moving the spoon from his bowl up to his mouth.
Of course, Taryn isn’t the only one who is proud of David’s achievements.
David’s family are understandably delighted.
“David’s new tray is fantastic,” says his mother, Ruth. “To see him feeding himself again is so fantastic it brings tears to my eyes.”
“We now have re-established independence and some past abilities. It shows that he has renewed strength in his arm and hand mobility. With food as a motivator, we have seen magic! I knew he could do it and I knew he could never forget how to do it!”
Ruth thanked Taryn and House Supervisor & Team Leader, Rishmi, for their persistence to meet David’s goals. The tray has been so beneficial that Ruth has requested another one to be ordered for her son.
David now also enjoys bouncing a ball on the tray as recreation and Ruth is enlisting Taryn’s help to find a musical ball for even more stimulation and enjoyment.
Isn’t it nice when a plan comes together?
Happy IDPwD to all of our exceptional clients and residents, and a big thank you to all our volunteers and employees who work so hard to make a difference in people’s lives.