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    Helping healthy kids find that rainbow

    Alumni Stories

    06 Nov, 2020

    03 : 31

    • Sports medicine technologies are rather undeveloped in China. There is a need for every person to increase an awareness of the issue

      - Dr Peiying Lei, Parent of YCIS Shanghai Puxi

      While launching my start-up in Hangzhou I sent my daughter to a public school near our home for a year. My daughter loved the atmosphere but the school didn't instil a love for learning as it placed too much emphasis on examinations and grades. It was then that we decided to transfer her to YCIS Shanghai in the fourth grade. The school's proud history and reputation for excellence were definitely key in our decision, but what really attracted us was the prospect of an international education with its core value of developing children's personal character and growth. This aligns with my priorities as well.

      I think Yew Chung has done a great job in blending Eastern and Western cultures in a challenging and creative curriculum. Yet, as a Chinese family, we hope to continue growing our Chinese roots to enable the next generation to carry forward our language and culture.

      Yew Chung grants students freedom of choice. When my daughter and I discussed which subjects to select for the term, I noticed there were different mathematics and English classes of varying levels and difficulty. No matter what, I would certainly respect my daughter's decision. Yew Chung's approach doesn't emphasise competition and it encourages teamwork and group learning.

      Teachers come from various cultural backgrounds and employ different teaching methods, which enable students to learn to adapt and thrive in a diverse society. I saw a tremendous improvement in my daughter's academic performance. We were delighted not only because of this, but also because she developed a love for learning and was motivated to do well.

      This kind of learning style allows my daughter to continue with her interest in art and music. She loves painting, playing the violin, and particularly ballet, a hobby she has developed since she was four. For over 10 years now she has not only improved her technique but also learned to enjoy the beauty of ballet. As parents we never focus on winning prizes. We would rather watch her build confidence and enjoy the time on stage expressing herself.

      As with other sports, ballet requires hard work and sacrifice. As our daughter underwent intensive training we found out that the muscles around her ankles did not have sufficient strength to enable her to stand on tiptoe, a common position in ballet. The problem required a large amount of assistance from sports rehabilitation doctors. The ballet teachers and the school principals liaised with my team at the hospital and that was when our professional cooperation began.

      Applied science and sports medicine technologies are rather undeveloped in China and lag behind other countries. There is a need for every person to increase his or her awareness of the issue. We hosted several talks at the Yew Chung and Yew Wah schools to raise the awareness of child development and rehabilitation. This aligns with the values of Yew Chung and Yew Wah, which not only focus on academic performance but on holistic development.

      Earlier our team, which had conducted examinations of the spine for primary and secondary students in Ningbo, was surprised to find that 10 percent of the children had curvature of the spine. Several common problems such as rickets, slouching, and leg length discrepancies were revealed but parents were simply not aware of this and blamed the child for walking improperly.

      Our understanding is some children have a lack of confidence due to problems arising from a curved spine. Some even develop depression and tire of schooling. If parents' awareness is raised, such unfortunate situations can be prevented. If left untreated these problems can lead to frequent sports injuries such as a damaged meniscus that can result in lumbar and cervical pains.

      Nowadays parents understand that sport brings intellectual and mental benefits to a child's development but there is still no understanding of how to prepare for it. We recommend that from primary onwards parents should bring their children for musculoskeletal examination and devise training for weak areas. Not only can this help reduce the number of injuries, but it can also improve children's sports performance.

      We also provide a comprehensive report showing different indicators including the child's musculoskeletal condition, cardiothoracic state and weight, to determine which sport suits them best and at what level of involvement. We identify ways to train muscle groups so as to correct and strengthen them rather than simply focusing on an excessive amount of sport.

      We also take into account the children's nutrition and mental health. For instance, females at puberty experience weight gain but with weak muscles and a high percentage of body fat. This can have a negative effect on their growth and sexual maturation and cause potential mental trauma. There are weight loss and beauty programmes from medical healthcare organisations, but we hope to provide positive intervention programmes by professionals.

      In addition, especially for Yew Wah families whose children transferred from public schools, we hosted talks on child learning, reading skills and attention development, as many children may potentially experience culture shock and new academic challenges. It is easy for parents to misread this, assuming children are being disobedient or lacking in effort when they spot problems with reading. In reality, this is a reading disorder. Fortunately, it can be treated with the help of professional assessment and tests.

      Hand-eye coordination, the sense of touch, and cognitive ability are all part of simple act of reading. Every child has strengths and weaknesses and our focus is to find weak areas and improve them.

      Whether it is the child's learning ability or attention-cognitive ability, these are essential skills for life that will determine success in the future. Teachers and parents alike must create assignments that help develop children with a view to solving any fundamental deficits. Many mothers could then spend more time on their careers or socialising with friends, instead of being tied down at home.

      The name of our centre, Rainbow Fish, is inspired by my daughter. She got it from a favourite fairytale in which Rainbow Fish is the main character. Rainbow Fish has a body full of colourful scales and she is the most beautiful fish in the sea. Yet, she is singled out as arrogant. One day, a small fish asks, "Can you give your smallest scale to me so that I can become more beautiful?" Rainbow Fish does so and is delighted to see how happy the small fish is as a result of this small gesture.

      This story conveys the importance of love and sharing. Our medical technology can become a world pioneer to undertake even the most complex rehabilitation for patients who have undergone heart surgery and to help in the recovery of patients with traumatic spinal cord injury. However, just having the technology and expertise is not enough. Without kindness and compassion it is impossible for us to succeed. We hope to share our professional knowledge with everyone to bring rainbows into the lives of many, whether they are newborns or 90-year-old grandparents.

      YCIS parent Dr Peiying Lei is a medical professor who did her training overseas. She has accumulated considerable experience in clinical care and operations management. She founded Rainbow Fish Rehabilitation Center with "love and sharing" as its core value. The centre was selected for the prestigious "National Demonstration Project". As a school parent, Dr Peiying Lei has frequently given talks at Yew Chung and Yew Wah to inspire families.