According to project head Addi Lapus’ research and insights, despite therapy being recommended to be a frequent visitor, an average cost for one session an hour would range from P800 – P1000. In addition to the expense, there also seems to be a lack of therapists as there are a number of them that are either not accredited, working abroad, or did not pass. Addi adds, “Kung dito nga sa Maynila, nahihirapan na yung mga tao, paano na kaya yung mga na sa probinsiya?” . Because of the awareness of limited therapy, SPEED partnered with Therafree, an program of University of the Philippines College of Allied Medical Professions Alumni Association that provides free therapy to Filipinos with disabilities, and hosted a new project called Sprout, last February 10, 2018.
The SPEED volunteers were two hours earlier than the beginning of the event. They prepared everything from fixing the patients’ records to setting up a small arts activity area for our guests. When the PWSNS and their families started arriving, SPEED members would first lead them to a table for registration then bring them to seats in preparation for a talk.
As the speaker discussed about the realities PWSNs face and shared advice families may apply to their situations, one by one, the doctors were calling PWSNs and their families to be assessed before they meet with their therapists. The whole afternoon then was dedicated for them to meet with their designated therapists from Therafree. In their one-on-one sessions, the therapists assessed each one of the PWSNs by talking to them and their families. Before finishing their turns, they were given handouts and worksheets that could help them work on their areas of difficulty. As each consultation came to an end, families left with smiles on their faces and positive feedback.
Sprout encourages positive change that aims to help PWSNs in response to the limited therapy availability in the Philippines, highlighting the current lack of medical provision of the government in the PWSN sector. Sprout serves as an avenue for people to know more about this issue on the restricted accessibility of therapy for PWSNs, while also sending out a message for people to respond and be part of the advocacy. Through this, SPEED shows its solidarity with the sector it seeks to serve through concrete efforts to respond to the issues that the sector faces.
Written by Kimberly Robles, 2 AB Social Sciences, a small curly haired girl with a passion to help.