By Ali Fung, with content from Shanghai Huaxin Rehabilitation and Education Institution for Disabled Children and help from Xinxin Zhang

Yingzhi Wang is a chubby, cute little five-year-old boy. Everyone at Huaxin Center likes to call him “Yinzhi Bao Bao.” He has cerebral palsy, and he has been coming to the hospital since 2015. The first few times he met the foreign specialists, he felt uncomfortable and unhappy, bawling his eyes out each time. Over time, however, he has grown used to the specialists and now he can’t wait to see them.

IMG_3331During the initial consultations, Yinzhi could only crawl a few steps at a time. He couldn’t control his waist muscles very well and his legs struggled to keep up, causing him to fall over all the time. He faced a number of developmental challenges: he couldn’t stand without support, he couldn’t walk, and could only say a few words. The specialists were patient with him, observing his problems and providing the right treatment for him. The specialists, therapists, and parents discussed and analyzed in detail how best to help Yinzhi.

Two years later, and after more than twenty therapy sessions and consultations with specialists, Yinzhi is able to crawl on his own. This has brought a huge sense of relief to his mother, who had been constantly worried about him falling. She watches him play with the other children, as she relaxes in the background.

OT指导2Yinzhi can now communicate with some basic phrases, walk with the help of a walker, and attend the classes at Huaxin Center. “For so long, he’s dreamt of going to school like all the other kids,” says his mother. “His dream has finally come true! A while ago it was almost unimaginable, but it’s real. He’s doing it!”

Yinzhi’s mother takes him to Huaxin Center’s school every day. Before the classes start, Yinzhi walks in with his walker, shouting “Class is about to start!” He listens attentively to the teacher and actively answers their questions. During break time, he practices his walking skills with his mother, and after rehabilitation training, they play games together to strengthen the muscles in his hands. In playing and interacting with others, Yinzhi is also getting stronger and overcoming his challenges. The other parents all remark on Yinzhi’s progress, referring to him and his mother as role models.

Thanks to his determined mother, the kind and patient specialists, and Yinzhi’s own continuous optimism and cheer, Yinzhi has come so far and has achieved so much.

Helping Hands

Volunteers – medical and non-medical, international and Chinese, individuals and groups – play an important role at Huaxin. Volunteers are needed for therapists, teachers or adults who are experienced with children. If you would like more information about how to volunteer or offer much needed financial support, please contact Ellen Loasby via email: [email protected].