Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Author: Ilze Skuja

We returned from Odessa where we underwent dolphin therapy. It went really well for us; Māris got used to dolphins very fast, since the activities took place in the water (Māris likes swimming a lot) and he liked animals. Activities start outside the water, where the child and the physician contact with the dolphin in different ways (throw rings for the dolphin to bring them back; listen to dolphins’ “singing”; watch them dancing; stroke their tail; draw together with the dolphin, etc.), and only after that they continue in the water. While in the pool with the dolphin, Māris did gymnastics and was swimming on dolphin’s belly; he was also swimming along with the dolphin, while the coach was holding to dolphin’s fin with one hand and supporting Māris by his head with another hand, thus strengthening the spine and listening to the ultra sound under the water. Māris liked these activities a lot; after each of them he said that it was interesting and he liked it, but he was not going to go back in the water. And so it went every day.

In addition to dolphin therapy, at “Nemo” centre we also took massage and did gymnastics according to Bobath approach. Massage was really good. We even regret that we started it only during the second week – we would gladly take the little one to the massage all 10 times, if we knew that the masseur was so good! Physiotherapists were also good; it was worth taking the boy to them (two girls worked simultaneously). “Nemo” offers different other rehabilitation services, for instance, electrical stimulation of speech, magnet therapy, laser therapy; however, we did not use them – electrical stimulations were not recommended to Māris, so we did not try them.

After undergoing this complex course, spasticity in Māris’ hands has reduced and the boy himself has bucked up – he tries to do everything even more actively! :) Therefore, in future we are definitely planning to go to Odessa once again and try out all the available rehabilitation possibilities, about which we found out during this trip, for instance, therapeutic mud. Thank you for the given chance to take rehabilitation course with Odessa’s dolphins!

Author: Ilze Skuja

During our visit, smile and positivism does not disappear for a moment from Maris’ face. Maris is diagnosed with cerebral palsy with spastic tetraparesis that contribute to movement disorders and delay of the development of speaking skills, as well as delay of psychomotor development.

Three-year-old Maris does not sit firmly, he does not rise to his feet, does not walk, but the parents are making every effort to help Maris, having countless physiotherapist appointments, exercise and massage courses. For a long time parents hoped they could deal with this on their own, but when they understood that the costs associated with improving Maris’ health are so great that they are not able to cover them on their own, they turned to us for help. Maris really needs specific rehabilitation and treatment programs that his parents are unable to pay for on their own.

There is a collaborative work of Maris and his mother on the wall of the room – a painting they created together – Maris showed, what colour he would like to see in his picture and mom helped him to put it on canvas. Maris’ mother is treating us with mint tea and home-made apple pastries that Maris really likes. Maris gets along well with his dog Pancis and cat Puikskis :). Maris likes to be photographed, he is smiling and flirting with the photographer.

Maris’ mom tells us: "It all started with the fact that I had a difficult labour – 30 hours long. Maris was entangled in the umbilical cord. Basically he was brought back to life as in the last moments his heart had stopped. We were in Children's Hospital for a month. It seemed like everything will be okay, development proceeded more or less normally, he began to roll, grab toys and suddenly, when Maris was six months old, there was something like a "click" and the development stopped, there even was a regress. Maris did not do anything anymore. The first year was the "year of fumbling about" until we understood that this will not turn out well. We had to find out what to do, how to do, who to better address ... Unfortunately at the beginning we made a bad choice of the paediatrician, who said: "Oh, you are just talking rubbish, everything will be fine." After realizing that nothing will be fine, we changed the doctor and intensively worked from 9 months of age. Currently Maris is crawling, everything comes hard to us. We are fighting for him to start crawling on all fours. Maris uses the potty – it’s the result of our hard work. Maris knows the numbers, he is slowly learning letters. His emotional and mental development is not impaired, Maris has a great strength of will – he does something until he succeeds.”

Maris calls for undivided attention, but to supplement the family budget the mom is painting cartoons for animation studio "Rija". She got the job just recently and it is not permanent, but Maris’ mom is happy about it, and the main thing is that the job can be combined with Maris’ needs. Maris’ dad has a permanent job and he also makes the technical aids needed by Maris. As we all know, the queues to get such aids are infinitely long.

In October Maris re-visited Vaivari rehabilitation centre that helps him to make a lot of progress in his development. After the rehabilitation course Maris plans to attend day-care centre "Mēs esam līdzās", as there are other children in the centre and it would encourage communication. There is also daily physiotherapy and various other activities.

Parents have really put a great effort in the development of Maris, but they cannot afford Maris’ dolphin therapy in Odessa, Ukraine. The total costs of 12 days of stay, transfers and flights are 2060.86 LVL.

Support by each one of us is very important!

Let’s help!

STILL NEED HELP: LVL 1980,86 (of LVL 2060,86; 27.12.13.*):
*We will be regularly updating the names of donators and the amount of provided help
*We will definitely inform about the exact use of the sum in our next photo-report


Aigars Rozentāls - LVL 15,- (12.11.13.)
Anonymous - LVL 10,- (14.11.13.)
Vladimirs Šults - LVL 25,- (20.11.13.)
Katrīna Lūse - LVL 10,- (22.11.13.)
Anonymous - LVL 10,- (06.12.13.)
Anonymous - LVL 5,- (11.12.13.)
Anonymous - LVL 5,- (27.12.13.)

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