15th years ago, when we started the choir project with our patients, it seemed that it did not have much to do with the comprehensive rehabilitation we offered. Today after so many moments lived through the choir and so many experiences to tell, we can say that it has been one of the best ideas we have ever had.
The choir can be defined as the final exam of comprehensive rehabilitation.
The main consequences of being born with a cleft for everyone are the alterations in communication and implications it has for self-esteem, socio-emotional skills, and social relationships as a consequence of language alterations added to the physical stigmas left in the face. Although the physical sequelae will be corrected through treatment, this is not done in a single moment, nor overnight; It is a process that will take at least the entire growth period of the patient. This is how the final result is not achieved before approximately 25 years of age, resulting in the child or young person having to live with his appearance throughout the growth stage. It is also important to highlight that, in any case, there are always some lags that show that the patient was born with this condition.
With this in mind, we can understand why it is so valuable that patients can belong to a choir. Singing and doing it in front of an audience demonstrates the degree of rehabilitation in language and the strength and security they have gained that allow them to appear before an audience.
Young people and children come together through singing to share experiences, learn new things, strengthen their skills, and represent their institution. Many patients have passed through the Fisulab choir who have felt the contribution and support that this experience offers them to accept themselves and show themselves to the world with their cleft palate condition, without fear or qualms.
For us, the rehabilitation team, it is very grateful to see them represent the Foundation. Last December, the choir was invited by different companies to accompany the novenas and Christmas celebrations. They performed at a hospital, a shopping center, and three companies where they proudly sang Colombian Christmas songs before a varied audience of workers from different areas, demonstrating that limitations are in the minds of those who do not dare to overcome them.
World Smile Day has been celebrated on the first Friday of October since 1999. In the year
2001 the creator of the Smiley Face passed away, but the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation was created, in honor
of the designer. As of that year, this foundation is a sponsor of World Smile Day. Each
Funds are raised each year for charity. Joy and good deeds are encouraged throughout the world,
and it is encouraged that, at least for a day, we be kind to everyone to spread our joy.
Since 2017, that day has been related to patients with cleft lip and palate,
as an opportunity to honor patients born with this condition who
work so hard to get their smile back; and with it, the functionality of the
language, their self-esteem, and their place in society.
At FISULAB since then we have implemented celebrating with children and their families.
This year, last Friday, October 7, was our big celebration. after 2 years of the pandemic, we finally
resumed attendance at this kind of event, and we invited all children to the foundation. The
children enjoyed dancing activities, pool, and sand games, as well as new experiences with
It was an unforgettable evening for all and the best
way to celebrate WORLD SMILE DAY, encouraging and creating consciousness in our community to keep up the good work for the children with cleft lip and palate.
Recently we wanted to del ve into the world of our young people. We have carried out working groups to learn about their experiences and their perceptions around the socio-emotional aspect and the impact of being born with CLP when facing difficult stages such as adolescence. Based on these experiences, we want to develop a program to provide the youngest with better tools to face growth and the passage through the different social spaces that are implicit in it.
It is well known that children with cleft lip and palate are at high risk of having alterations in their socio-emotional development. Low self-esteem and adjustment problems are some of the issues that are frequently mentioned. Since its inception, Fisulab, aware of this situation, has worked comprehensively with patients and families to develop and strengthen social skills and self-esteem. Despite the efforts, we have detected that adolescence represents a greater challenge than what was foreseen for them. Adolescence is a difficult but necessary period to go through to consolidate ourselves as adults. During this period, young people strengthen their personalities, discover their interests, and prepare to join the world of adults. It is a stage full of confusion and challenges where it becomes very important to fit into the groups. We have detected, among patients with CLP, many cases in which it even seems that all the previous work has been lost in the intricacies of facing society from the position of the adolescent.
From group work sessions with adolescents and young adults, we have understood that being born with a cleft lip and palate is like living on a roller coaster, as described by a young woman, with emotions that fluctuate strongly. Many of the experiences that any young person goes through, those who have been born with the condition, feel that it is worse for them. They mostly feel forewarned when they are going to face a social group. They feel judged on first impression and are afraid to interact with others. They believe that those who do not have that condition are in a bubble of privilege.
They thank the pandemic for the use of face masks; They say that for them it was a time that allowed them to go unnoticed, at least from the moment of the first impression.
Despite these feelings, most of them have managed to develop their life project according to their interests, and all this is thanks to the support of their family and the opportunity of having received a comprehensive treatment for which they feel grateful and fortunate. They can look back and understand that all these experiences left them with deep learning that makes them stronger to face the world.
The general result of the meetings has been a powerful space that they appreciate. They mention that these meetings between peers allow them to talk with those who have had similar experiences and this is proven very positive. It allows them to share, learn, release, and grow around their condition. Some had never had this type of experience and ask to establish them as routine spaces.
MOTIVATION IS WHAT MAKES YOU START, COMMITMENT IS WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING
The commitment of our patients is very important for the progress of their treatment, which is why we take advantage of a year end farewell full of games and activities focused on commitment. We managed to identify what they need to put on the shirt, looking for possible solutions so that nothing hinders their progress.
Finally, they wrote down their commitments and signed their shirts with their own handwriting, some with drawings, others with words. A great day to reach great achievements in 2022
At the end of the day we had the opportunity to share with each of them a gift, a snack and a nice Christmas present.
The result was achieved with total satisfaction by being able to provide our children with a space of trust and respect where they can share emotions, interests and motivations that stimulate their cognitive and social development wich is so important in everyone's life.
This is how we close a new year after 21 efforts and achievements
Our choir also shone this Christmas season, when our FISULAB choir had its presentation at the Christmas Carols Concert 2021, a virtual event held in the United Kingdom. The result was very satisfactory, showing great progress in each of the members thanks to their commitment in each of the rehearsals. Today we say with pride, what a great presentation.
A DAY FULL OF HAPPINESS AND SATISFACTION
Sharon arrived in Fisulab in 2010 when she was 11 years old, from that moment she began the arduous and long journey of her treatment. She was diagnosed with a left unilateral cleft lip and palate sequela, where she identified with some speech difficulties that affected her communication.
She started her treatment from speech therapy and orthodontic support during all these years; In the middle of this process she underwent osteogenic surgery which contributed a lot to her treatment.
Today we want to share with you with great happiness the culmination of her treatment, managing to overcome her speech difficulties, improve her physical appearance, her bite, the appearance of her teeth, but above all, improve her way of relating to the world.
We congratulate Sharon for this great achievement, people like her are an example for all, because with perseverance and effort everything is achieved.
Each year, we unite and celebrate our condition with our pairs throughout South America. All of the foundations that treat this condition on this side of the continent gather around the "Cleft Lip and Palate week" in order to create awareness around this condition and about the importance of an integral treatment in all of our patient's processes.
We maintain our virtuality in a lot of our events but we mixed it with some face to face events like our now well know talent show, in which many of our kids took the opportunity to show us what we are able to do when we bring out our hidden talents and our inner strength. This was a space that allow all of our patients to show themselves as capable and very talented human beings.
This show was so successful that we had to postpone our closing time due to new kids wanting to participate.
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