News Release

Basic Wheelchair Training Advances to the University Level

Basic and intermediate wheelchair training programs from LDS Charities (LDSC) are being integrated into the curriculum of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences of De La Salle University-Dasmarinas.

Fourth year students of physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) will take the Basic Wheelchair course by February 2014.

Those same students in their  fifth year will take the Intermediate Wheelchair course to address the complex needs of people suffering from cerebral palsy and other forms of physical disabilities who would need supportive chairs with braces and harnesses to keep them upright, safe and secure.

As part of the training, students will assess, modify and customize the wheelchairs donated by LDSC to properly fit the beneficiaries.

Ma. Cecilia Licuan, Dean of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences, who was instrumental in helping set up the program saw the need to give students a head start in order to produce well equipped professionals to serve the needs of people with disabilities (PWDs).

DLSU Dasmarinas and LDS Charities have been partners in many projects to include the following:

Basic Wheelchair Training  in 2011which certified 20 professors of the PT and OT departments.

Intermediate Wheelchair Training  in 2012 which certified 16 trainees who assessed beneficiaries for supportive wheelchairs.

Advanced Wheelchair Training held this year which certified four professors to train others who were ready for advanced technical instruction.

LDS Charities arranged for Dr. Jaime Noon, one of the authors of the World Health Organization’s  Wheelchair Trainer’s Manual, to teach the advanced course.  Alice Laverdiere, a clinical supervisor from the United Cerebral Palsy Organization, also assisted in the month long training for the teachers.

Week one required each teacher to measure and modify a chair to fit the assigned client. Dean Cecile Licuan, one of four teachers to take the advanced course, was assigned to a client who was unable to sit.  She was able to build a chair for him where he could lay on an adjustable incline allowing him to see people at eye level.  Recalling the amazing experience, she said, “I didn’t even know how to do what I needed to do so I just prayed to be led to do it right.

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Upon completion of the advanced course, the four took a second course on how to do the intermediate supportive chair assessment. As part of their evaluation, they were required to teach the Intermediate Assessment class for two weeks.  Of the sixteen students, three were doctors from the orthopedic department of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) while thirteen were instructors from the DLSU Dasmarinas physical and occupational therapy program.

The goal for the thirteen from the university was not only to perform skills taught but to eventually achieve a level of mastery where they could teach and supervise.

Part of the requirement for passing the Intermediate course was to assess, modify and fit a supportive chair to meet the specific needs of a child. PGH and Mandaluyong City brought fourteen children to be fitted to modified supportive chairs.

Lani, a PT instructor  who modified a wheelchair for one of the beneficiaries said, “Taking this course has expanded my view. It has been an enriching experience which has allowed me to use the principles I have learned in helping the patients more. The best part of this experience is to see the happiness in the faces of the recipients.

The partnership between DLSU-D and LDSC began when Pete Manio of KAMPI, an organization providing services for the disabled, brought the two groups together as DLSU was looking for resources in their medical outreach programs for students.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first participated in a wheelchair initiative in 2003 to provide people with disabilities with a wheelchair.  LDS Charities is an application of the admonition of Jesus Christ to help others in need.

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