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Wheels of Life: a discussion group for people with spinal cord injury

November 20, 20175:14 PM

Sharing similar group experiences is a good way to strengthen and help people cope with adverse life situations. At the Centro de Educação e Pesquisa em Saúde Anita Garibaldi (CEPS), in Macaíba-RN, professionals from the Adult Spinal Cord Injury Clinic (CLEMEA) created the living group Rhodes da Vida. This health education action includes fortnightly meetings with people with spinal cord injury attended by the Service to talk about issues that may contribute to a better quality of life and autonomy.

On November 10, 2017, the group held its fourth round of talks at the Paulo Freire Auditorium, CEPS, with the theme “leisure and quality of life for wheelchair users”. At each meeting, a professional and a wheelchair are invited to present topics and direct the conversations. In this last meeting, the physical educator specializing in inclusion, accessibility, sports and leisure for the disabled, Marília Rodrigues da Silva, and the wheelchair patient of CLEMEA, Aletisandro Freire de Macedo, coordinated the work.

Marília began her speech explaining that leisure has a different meaning for each person. There are those who consider leisure spending a whole Sunday at home, watching television, while for another leisure is to practice a radical sport. Based on this principle, she brought several leisure options for wheelchair users in the Natal-RN and Macaíba-RN region, informing the rights, benefits and contacts of groups that organize such activities. “The wheelchair, like other people, is a political being who needs to join other similar individuals in order to seek and guarantee their rights,” says CLEMEA / CEPS supervisor of physical training and trainer Heloísa Britto.

Coordinators of the fourth meeting of the "Wheels of Life" discussion group.
Professionals from the Center for Education and Health Research Anita Garibaldi (CEPS) talk to wheelchairs and accompanying persons.

Accessibility is a major challenge for people with spinal cord injury


Throughout the meeting, each participant reported their own experiences. However, a cross-cutting theme was accessibility. “People with spinal cord injury can have a good quality of life, performing various activities, but the main difficulty is full access to the desired places,” reports Britto. An example of this, reported by wheelchair users, is Ponta Negra beach. Its access slopes are very steep, which represents a real challenge. In addition, complaints about parking spaces for people with physical disabilities that are often not respected are common.

The next meetings of the living group Rhodes of Life will have as parabolic sports themes, neurogenic bladder changes, sexuality, among others. In addition to this health education activity, CEPS’s Adult Spinal Cord Injury Clinic (CLEMEA) has Physiotherapy, Clinical Psychology, Neuropsychology and Neurology services. To integrate the service, interested parties should call (84) 3271-3311 and schedule a screening process. The purpose of this clinic is to provide patients with functional independence, emotional stability, and autonomy.

By: Luiz Paulo Juttel / Ascom – ISD
Photos: Luiz Paulo Juttel / Ascom – ISD

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Santos Dumont Institute

A private and non-profit organization under supervision of the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC) that pursuits the mission of promoting education for life, forming citizens through integrated teaching, research and extension actions and to contribute to a fairer and more humane shift in the Brazilian social reality.