Saturday, December 4

A story for children with disabilities to lose their fear of the coronavirus and play again

Miguel and Carmen have fun in therapy It is a tale of friendship and improvement. Its author, psychologist Claudia Tecglen, is president of You live with spasticity, an association that works to improve the autonomy and inclusion of people with this disease. It is a serious motor disorder, associated with multiple disabilities, caused by an alteration of the central nervous system. Just taking into account 5 of its main pathologies, between 300,000 and 400,000 people suffer from spasticity in Spain. Claudia herself, with cerebral palsy, is an example of improvement and a hope for the future for families who live with this reality.

This illustrated story, with two children as protagonists, launches a fundamental message: therapies are a means, not an end. A childhood without play is not a childhood.Play is essential and a vital socialization, learning, communication and inclusion tool. All children have the right and the duty to be able to play with other children ”, they point out from Convives. The story can be downloaded for free from the web thanks to the collaboration of Fundación Banco Santander, through the program Santander Social Tech.

But the arrival of COVID has meant a before and after. If social restrictions have taken an invisible psychological toll, the cost has been especially high for the most vulnerable groups. Among them, children with disabilities, high-risk patients forced to interrupt therapies and, with it, their development process. And the fear of contagion has in many cases prolonged the period of social blockade. Learning to live with the coronavirus has not been easy for them or their families.

This is the case of the children who are the protagonists of this story, based on real events. Miguel has a hard time talking (sometimes it is difficult to understand him) and Carmen needs walking sticks to walk. They both share games at school, where they work with speech therapists and physiotherapists, and enjoy with other class friends. However, the pandemic forces them to stay home. Time lengthens beyond confinement and not only do they miss their routines and activities, but little by little they lose the recovery they have gained. They want to go back to school! And to convince their parents they will have a very special ally.

“Socialization is vital for development, especially in childhood. All scientific studies show that early diagnosis and treatment is essential to expand the future possibilities of people with disabilities, with early ages being crucial due to the level of brain plasticity, among other factors ”, explains Tecglen. The head of the association recalls that “this is the moment where essential skills for self-esteem and social participation are acquired. Therapies are a means to the end: a full life ”.

Santander Foundation: 4.2 million to support the third sector

Fundación Banco Santander has intensified its efforts in the last year to act quickly and adapt its activity to new needs. Of the more than 9 million euros that it allocated in 2020 to the different tasks that it develops, 4.2 million went to social action initiatives, which means almost tripling the funds aimed at helping this type of project. Much of this work was focused on supporting the third sector in finding solutions to the difficult situation experienced by those most affected by the pandemic.

Santander Social Tech is one of their star shows. This project was born in 2019 with the aim of promoting the digitization of third sector organizations and improve their communication, training of funds and internal management. In addition to training workshops, interested organizations receive a virtual personalized advisory service for two months that allows them to advance in their digital transformation. During 2020, a total of 137 entities participated in the courses and 47 of them were subsequently advised. To implement what they have learned, the organizations participating in the training phase can apply for a 5,000 euro grant for their digital development (acquisition of hardware, software, hiring professional services, etc.).