The WHO estimates that about 2.4 billion people worldwide live with a health condition that can benefit from rehabilitation, a process that helps people whose ability to be independent in their day-to-day activities is compromised due to illness, disease, surgery, disability or just old age. Despite the critical need for rehab services, such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, clinical psychology and more, more than those who need them in some low- and middle-income countries have no access to them.
At Latika, our family-centered approach requires us to customize our interventions to the strengths, needs and goals of the families we work with. Every intervention’s different because every family is, making it impossible to be all things to all families everywhere. And so, we made it our mission is to provide specialized services locally and help others, elsewhere, do the same.
Part of how we do this is by training future professionals and policymakers to help build a better world for disabled children. Sandeep Khanna, Director, Therapy Services, explains, “The idea is to sensitise more people about disabilities, disability-related topics, and how physiotherapy is conducted with disabled children and young adults. Their curriculum doesn’t teach them about how wheelchairs are used, for example, or how orthopedic or orthotic devices are prescribed. We give them that practical exposure so that they can use their skills when working with disabled individuals. It’s also about encouraging them to be more inclusive, generally”.
This year, we had 39 Physiotherapy interns, both graduates and undergrads from SBS University and 41 students from Dolphin PG Institute of Biomedical and Natural Sciences come in for specialised insights from a multidisciplinary team working with developmentally disabled kids. Our association with Dolphin Institute goes back two years.
“It was a great experience being around such experienced professionals. I was amazed to see how the organizations works so efficiently. I’ve never experienced such a healthy relationship with family, children, teachers and professionals. I’d come with a smile on my face and return with a bigger one. I got emotionally attached to some of the students. We’d dance and enjoy at the morning assembly. I feel grateful that I could do my part as a physiotherapist and help them,” said a student intern.