Maia Turland

Making life easier, one step at a time

Maia Turland is a spirited, community-focused Grade Ten student at FE Madill in Wingham, who knows a lot about facing challenges head-on. Maia uses a walker to get around, and has done so since she was a toddler. She has an acquired brain injury that has affected her ability to walk independently, speak clearly, and coordinate her movements smoothly. None of these things prevent her from giving her all to whatever she is doing, but they do slow her down.

Maia grew up in the Teeswater area, and is the fifteen year old daughter of Joanne Howe, of Teeswater and James Turland of Kincardine. She has been a dedicated and enthusiastic student and friend, a recognized volunteer and award-winning public speaker. She speaks to share her own experiences and advocate for others. The community has been very responsive to Maia’s warmth, persistence, and empowering message. Her big brothers, Simon and Connor, have been keen supporters and advocates on her behalf.

Over the years the family have pursued a variety of privately funded therapies for Maia. These have included Craniosacral Therapy, Chiropractic, and Conductive Education. The expense of these vital services has become impossible to sustain on our own. At this time, as Maia is growing up so fast, these therapies are more essential than ever. Her increasing independence, mobility, and desire to communicate clearly with her peers, teachers, and the world around her have prompted the family to ask the community for help.

Maia and her Mom have plans to attend a five-day Dolphin Assisted Comprehensive Therapy program that takes place each summer in the Bahamas, where young people with disabilities are supported by a multi-therapist, multi-discipline team. Time is spent each day in the warm waters of the Bahamas. The therapists and the dolphins interact with the clients to help them relax, move their bodies in ways they may not have been able to before, and learn new skills. The five days are very full. Former participants’ benefits have included pain reduction, increased ease in breathing, reduced spasticity, enhanced strength and flexibility, and better sleeping patterns.

Joanne, Maia’s Mom, says they have had positive results with Craniosacral therapy in the past, which is the primary approach of this program. They look forward to seeing what gains may occur. They also plan to begin one-on-one sessions with a Craniosacral practitioner in London, who will be one of the therapists at the program in the Bahamas, in the near future.

One other approach they are considering is attending a five week Conductive Education residential camp, here in Ontario. This program has been highly successful for children with cerebral palsy and acquired brain injuries in improving independent mobility, fine and gross motor skills.

All of these programs make a significant difference in the quality of life, and potential for independence, that physically challenged children can attain. Unfortunately, none of them are publicly funded at this time, and therefore remain relatively inaccessible to the families who need them most.