Lively two and a half-year-old Oakley and her family were regular visitors to Children’s Treatment Centre Chatham-Kent (CTC-CK) in the days before COVID-19. Oakley was often seen zooming around in her Bella’s Bumbas, a hand-built specialized wheelchair originally created by a New York State couple for their great niece who was born with Spina Bifida. Oakley’s special wheelchair had become too small for her, and in March she was due to come in to the centre to get her first “typical” wheelchair. The new chair would help Oakley sit up higher—that meant a whole new world to explore.
When it became clear that life was not going to return to normal any time soon, the CTC-CK staff decided Oakley couldn’t wait, and they delivered her new chair to her at home. They fit her right there—protected by PPE, of course—and let her take a spin. Wheelchair fit affects both comfort and propulsion biomechanics, and can make a positive difference for a child’s confidence. Getting it right is really important. Oakley and her family can’t believe the difference the new chair makes in her everyday life at home.
Like Oakley, Andrew and Kelly Cleveland’s two-year old Rachel loved seeing her therapists at CTC-CK. She still loves seeing them—now on a screen from home.
Resourceful Rachel quickly learned to wave and interact with her therapists as they provide virtual care—physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. Her family, including twin sister Sadie, all get in on the action—watching Rachel’s exercise regimen and replicating it on the living room floor. Her equipment required an update to keep up with her growth so CTC-CK staff—wearing PPE—make porch visits to Rachel’s home to adjust the fit. Rachel now gets to see her therapists virtually and sometimes at home—that’s the “new normal.”