By- E. Christie Afualo
My husband and I have three wonderful children. Mason, our 12 year-old, has Down syndrome. He received early intervention services from Children’s Village, and he and our family continue to be involved in different events and activities at the Village. In addition to having developmental delays, Mason was born with a gastrointestinal malformation that required four surgeries. We have interacted with many providers, both medical and developmental, and have felt fortunate that most of those interactions have been great.
These are some specific ways that the providers at Children’s Village have supported Mason and our family:
- Being professional. Providers who “know their stuff” and share their expertise are invaluable. It’s true that I’m an expert on my son, but sometimes I just want to be a mom, not a therapist or teacher. I’m grateful to have professionals like therapists and teachers at Children’s Village who work with Mason so I can enjoy being his mom.
- Showing interest. I appreciate providers who show interest in Mason and are excited to work with him, not just as a project or a job, but are truly happy to engage with the cute little boy with funny habits or the older boy with not so cute habits. These dedicated providers at Children’s Village demonstrate that they are invested in Mason’s success.
- Being genuine. I appreciate providers who are genuine and show integrity. They treat our family with respect and kindness at all times, whether or not we’re directly working with them. They don’t speak poorly of us when we’re not present.
- Being prepared. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what questions to ask. The providers at Children’s Village are prepared and are able to anticipate some of our family’s needs and then offer appropriate guidance that makes our journey easier.
- Being knowledgeable. Our family has benefited from providers at Children’s Village who share their wealth of knowledge. If they don’t know the answers to our questions, they can find someone who does. They are adept at connecting us with other families and providers, services, events and helpful information.
Our interactions with providers at Children’s Village have been particularly positive. We cherish those relationships and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the special providers who have made a difference in our lives.
Tristan was 5-months-old when diagnosed with a brain tumor that caused uncontrollable seizures. He endured hundreds of seizures every day even with the help of medications and chemotherapy. Doctors at Children’s Hospital explained that unless they removed the left side of Tristan’s brain, the seizures would eventually kill him. The solution was a 4-hour hemispherectomy surgery.
From the beginning, Tristan has exhibited an internal strength that is astounding. There was a chance the surgery would prevent him from ever walking or talking, but the 13-year-old is an athletic, talkative teenager who loves karate, gymnastics, soccer, basketball and swimming.
Part of Tristan’s therapy at Children’s Village was in the pool. Tristan learned multiple swim strokes (freestyle, backstroke and butterfly) at Children’s Village. Swimming increased his strength in his affected side and he is now able to swim better than some of his peers. His mom plans to sign him up for swimming when he begins high school in Selah this fall.
Tristan’s dad has shared that the first time he ever saw Tristan smile was when he was in the pool at Children’s Village at the age of 8 years old.
Read more about Tristan in the Yakima Herald Republic here: http://bit.ly/1lfruxF
Way to go Tristan!
Parent to Parent is dedicated to supporting families raising children with special needs.
Learning that your child has special health or developmental needs can be an emotional experience.
Parents and caregivers often have questions and concerns as they learn to adjust.
Personal support from another parent who has a child with similar needs can help!
Look across the bridge for the door with a HEART above it . . . and come on in!
We are here for you!
Parent to Parent Staff:
Maria Pulido (bilingual) – 574-3297
Amy Berkheimer – 574-3234
Liz Cruz – 574-3266
Kristi Messer – 574-3257
*What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
*Would ABA work best for your child/student/client with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
*What ABA services are available in Yakima?
Kacie Sears, BCBA, Sarah St.Mary, Lead Teacher, Cindy Myers, LMHC, and Kamilia Calderon, LBAT
Date: February 25
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Where: The Barn at Children’s Village
Childcare is available!!
*Please RSVP to 509-574-3267 to reserve your child’s spot
By Lori Garcia, facilitator and Family Resource Coordinator at Children’s Village
A story about the impact of the Holland support groups at Children’s Village.
“The Spanish Holland Support Group is a group where many mothers share their everyday experiences and challenges with their child with special needs. One mom shared that she just wants to be able to go to church but her son will not sit during mass. He just cries and the last time she went the priest asked the parents to keep their children quiet. Needless to say, she did not return. Support from other moms in this group supported her and provided strategies for helping her son sit through mass. Another mom said she has been taking her child to Pegasus Project for weeks and her son just cries and refuses to get on the horse. She also received support from the group and was encouraged not to give up. Another mom was struggling with the transition of her son going to developmental preschool. She was having a hard time because her son would leave on the bus crying. On the seventh session, they all shared that their children were progressing so well that one mom has gone to church twice with her son. She changed her son’s behavior by talking to him about what they were going to do and then talked before going into church. Another mother shared that on the fourth session of Pegasus Project her son simply got on the horse with no complaints. She is so glad that she stuck with it. And for another mom, her son went to school today without crying and just waved bye!”
Holland is a great way for moms to connect and share the journey of raising a child with special needs. There is a morning, evening and Spanish group scheduled for this spring. Also, once a parent graduates from Holland, Parent to Parent offers continued support opportunities each month through Holland Reunion groups.
For more information, contact: Tracie Hoppis, Child and Family Services Supervisor
This week we celebrated Calcoe Federal Credit Union’s grand accomplishment of reaching and surpassing their $10,000 pledge for the Children’s Village expansion. Jackie McPhee, Children’s Village Director and Jenny Falk, Board Member for The Memorial Foundation accepted the check from Leslie Johnson, CEO for Calcoe Federal Credit Union. Employees, Board Members and family members of the Calcoe team were on hand to celebrate the achievement and tour Children’s Village.
Thank you Calcoe Federal Credit Union for your support of Children’s Village!
Morgan is 4 years old and began coming to Children’s Village when she was 3 months old.
She comes to Children’s Village for feeding therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, Early Intervention Program, and Speech Therapy. She works with John Fielder, a Children’s Village Speech Language Pathologist, weekly and now they will be at Pegasus Project for hippo therapy. John uses Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) when working with Morgan. This technique was developed by Gayle Porter who is a Speech Pathologist with over 25 years hands-on experience working with people with complex communication needs.
PODD has helped Morgan communicate more effectively with emotions. Morgan has a PODD book and has been able to recognize and say the names and sounds of animals through her book. Her PODD book also helps Morgan communicate emotions and feelings. Morgan uses a “Total Communications Approach” which means she uses PODD, sign language, and words to communicate.
For her parents, her biggest accomplishment has been the amazing gains she has made with her speech. She is talking and using many more words than she ever did before. They are so proud of her!
Without Children’s Village, coordinating Morgan’s care would be very difficult. Children’s Village is a second home to them and has provided all that Morgan needs at one familiar and comfortable place.
Watch this short video of Morgan using PODD with John at one of their sessions:
By Stephanie Badillo, YouthWorks council member and Davis High School student
During this past week, YouthWorks council members have been focused on giving tours of Children’s Village for high school pageant contestants and their families. Everything about this place is amazing and I realize, along with others, how fortunate we are to have this place that helps children with special healthcare needs and their families too.
While preparing and giving tours, I learned so much about Children’s Village; more than I had known before. The Village makes everything for the family simple. For example, in their Pediatric Dental Clinic, they not only provide services for the children in need, but also for their siblings. There is no need for parents to take their children to different dental clinics. The Village also has a Drop-in Early Learning Center where parents are able to drop off their children while their other child is receiving treatment at the Village and there’s absolutely no charge to the families.
The high school pageants and the contestants will raise money and a part of these donations will be given to Children’s Village. These donations help the Village to continue to provide these much needed services. I know Children’s Village has made an impact in my family’s life and is needed by others here in the Valley.
I first learned about Children’s Village when my little brother, now age 8, was treated here. When he was a toddler, we noticed that his speech was not developing because he wasn’t able to hear what those around him were saying. His doctor sent us a referral to Children’s Village and this was where he began his speech and language therapies. My family noticed a major improvement in him and we were all so thankful.
Children’s Village in the Yakima Valley is a valuable program for many. It has helped my brother and family as it has many other people. The high school pageants help contribute to the Village’s success in helping children with special needs, their families and also the community.
By Yaly Aguilera, YouthWorks Secretary
My fellow YouthWorks members and I toured around Children’s Village the other day. I was fascinated by the kid-friendly building! Walking along Miracle Street, and seeing the signs recognizing the major donors, I was delighted to know so many companies in the Valley support Children’s Village. With the help of these generous donors, this support system gets stronger and stronger each day.
One thing that is important to recognize is that Children’s Village is not just for the children who have developmental needs, but also for the families of these children and the community. The Parent to Parent Support Group is helpful for parents of newly diagnosed children with health concerns and in this group they can receive encouragement and support by a trained parent who has a child with special needs.
While walking around Children’s Village, I could not help but remember about my uncle, Juanito, who has down syndrome. When he was born, the doctors told my grandmother that there was no way that he can live any longer due to many heart related issues and complications. No support was given to my family at the time, however, my grandmother overcame that barrier with faith. I realized how blessed our community was to have Children’s Village. Considering my grandmother and Juanito live in Mexico, it was difficult for him to receive physical therapy and medical treatment. It’s a blessing for many families and children in our society to receive that sense of comfort and support through Children’s Village.
Children’s Village brings families together and creates a unique and supportive atmosphere where they can learn and grow together. Children’s Village is about faith, hope, and support.