By Wendy C
In the pediatric department here in Meigu, I am gaining the reputation of being a ‘chair-person’. It is not that I chair any committee; but that I have been known to buy chairs for children with special needs.
Three-year-old Michael has cerebral palsy. He has high muscle tone especially in his legs. Under the expert guidance of an experienced Occupational Therapist remotely from Canada, we sourced a chair that fits Michael so that his ankles, knees, and hips can all be at 90° comfortably, relaxing him and allowing him to sit securely, so that he can learn to use his hands.
Two-year-old Gabriel was born with generalised profound muscle weakness. He cannot sit or stand on his own, or even lift his arms against gravity. His chest muscles are weak too, making him prone to chest infections. His older brother had the same condition and passed away around the age of three. I met Gabriel on his third hospitalisation for chest infection. The infant car seat we got him is no match to the electric wheelchair children with similar conditions get in Canada, but at least it allows him to sit upright supported, decreasing the chance of aspiration and chest infection when he feeds.
These two boys have almost no chance of going to school or ever attaining independent living. Their parents have taken the responsibility of looking after them to the best of their abilities; a courageous act of love when the prevailing culture is to measure a person’s worth based mostly on their ability. We are glad to walk with them and support them, proclaiming the counter-cultural message of Imago Dei: made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We all have intrinsic worth and are loved by our heavenly Father, regardless of our gender, race, health, or ability. This is good news.