“Our goal with the research project was really to look at wheelchairs that have been provided for the kids. A lot of them are free wheelchairs that people give, which is very kind … but a lot of times the wheelchairs aren’t appropriate for the kids,” said Jessica Tsotsoros, Ph.D., OTR/L, assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Services, who led the trip.
As the group conducted research, they were also able to work with individuals to help them to better utilize the wheelchairs they have.
“Our overall goal with the wheelchair is to get the kids sitting upright and proud and being able to go out into the community,” said Tsotsoros. They were able to provide reassurance to families that their child was safe, and up off the floor in a wheelchair. Families reported being able to go to work on their farms because they could bring their child along in the wheelchair. Children were able to get outside and watch and interact as their friends practiced soccer. They also work to fight stigmatization of people with disabilities in the culture.
Hailey Chamberlin, a third-year physical therapy student enjoyed all the various aspects of their mission.