The training the Stan Cassidy Foundation funded for me was a world away, but ended up being closer to home than I’d ever imagined.
Editor’s Note: Colin Hood is a physiotherapist with the Paediatric Team at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation. His specialty is in neuro-developmental work.
I sit in a small, simple hotel room after 40 hours of travel. Exhausted, sweating, hungry and terrified. It has been 2 and half years since I left the comfort of my friends, family, and 8-4 physiotherapy job to travel to the other side of the world and attend a 2 month course that changed my life. I still “feel” India sometimes in an aromatic biryani, a vibrant sari or in a flurry of car horns.
So why, you may ask, was I sent to southern central India?
After searching for several years for a course being provided close to home I finally found the 8-week NDT/Bobath Certificate Course in the Management and Treatment of Children with Cerebral Palsy and Other Neuromotor Disorders. (The Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association (NDTA) has been providing courses on treating children with cerebral palsy since the 1970s.)
The course was being provided in both Montreal, Quebec and Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh, India. I prepared my application for the first ever Stan Cassidy Foundation Research and Education Grant, and wouldn’t you know, India was cheaper than Montreal!
I submitted my letter, my budget, and my hopeful smile and began to wait. It was a beautiful day in July that I got the email telling me I would be the first recipient of the Stan Cassidy Foundation Research and Education Grant. This would allow me to travel to India and spend 8 weeks completing a highly stressful and challenging course. Yahoo?!!!? I packed my bags that October of 2012 and four flights later I was in one of the largest cities in India.
Over the weeks I worked with 2 remarkable children. A beautiful little 2-year old girl with diplegic cerebral palsy who was shy and quiet, and a proud young 13-year-old with determination and a smile from ear to ear.
Thousands of miles away surrounded by different languages, religions, cultures, climate you would think I would completely lost.
I felt at home.
I felt at home with the patients and my colleagues. These children with Cerebral Palsy in India were so much like those back home that I see every day. They dreamed of being and doing so much and looked to me to help them achieve it. Their parents had the same questions:
“Will she walk?”
“What should we be doing?”
“Can he do more?”
When I got back from India, I was able to share my learnings with all of my colleagues at the Stan Cassidy Centre. The foundation gave me an invaluable therapeutic tool in my NDT course but also gave me an appreciation for my job and the responsibility I have to the families I work with.
My course taught me more than what was in the 300 pages of notes.
It taught me that working in rehabilitation has universality. The parents and children we work with at the Stan Cassidy Centre (like Hyderabad) just want to have a life. To have a home life, school life, work life, community life. And I’m lucky enough to help them figure out how to do just that.
Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation