Freedom means different things to different people. For 14-year-old Thomas and his mom, freedom means being as independent as he can be.
Thomas lives with cerebral palsy. Diagnosed when he was a year old, Thomas requires one-on-one care and assistance in almost every aspect of his daily life. Because of his cerebral palsy, Thomas uses a wheelchair and walker to get around. Every afternoon after school, he participates in home-based physiotherapy activities.
As his mother states, “I try to give him as much of real-life experiences as I can, which allows him to participate and experience his days with more direct contact and independence – ultimately feel less dependent on other.”
In all activities, Thomas’ mom tries to motivate and provide a reason to encourage him to be independent and set small goals for himself. Small things like brushing his teeth and turning the faucet on to wash his hands and bigger goals like walking to the bus stop.
Although challenging and time-consuming, Thomas stretches himself to use his walker outside to greet the bus. Thomas is driven to walk to the bus stop, wait and take the bus with others; however, this walking distance well exceeds his standard capacity. “He’s so determined. This is now a big part of his physical exercise program,” his mom explains. “Although it can be exhausting, it’s also gratifying. It gives him the ability to participate in his community and vice versa. Thomas is eager to greet the bus driver, sit and stare out the window like a regular kid.”
Building independence for children and youth like Thomas not only relies on motivation; it requires the necessary equipment. But that equipment can be expensive for families, especially for single parents like Thomas’ mom.
Caring for a child or youth with a physical disability is expensive. It can cost more than $40,000 a year to ensure their basic every day, and medical needs are met.
That is why your support for Easter Seals Ontario is so important.
“The cost to support Thomas is extraordinary and it keeps growing,” says Thomas’ mom. “The financial relief Easter Seals provides for Thomas’ equipment needs is very valuable to us. Especially for his bathing and toileting aids which are essential for Thomas to get by on a day-to-day basis.”
Having the proper mobility and accessibility equipment is vital in building self-reliance and independence. Without the proper personal care equipment, older children like Thomas may not learn how to care for themselves at home and therefore, never achieve the self-esteem that comes with independence. These are experiences most of us take for granted but are achieved by children and youth with physical disabilities with the aid of specialized equipment.
“Thomas’ walker and wheelchair allow him to access his mobility, while his bath chair and commode allow him to use the bathroom independently and to sit in the bathtub and bathe himself. Over and above independence, Thomas’ equipment gives him privacy and dignity which is equally important,” Thomas’ mom states.
“As a single mom,” Thomas’ mom continues, “I simply don’t have the resources for all the equipment Thomas needs. That’s why I’m so grateful to Easter Seals.”
Your donations will give kids like Thomas the opportunity to experience a greater sense self-esteem and independence. Please donate now and make a real difference for Easter Seals kids. Thank you!