Thank you Junior League of Yakima!

jlThe Children’s Village therapy pool tile is now a bit brighter – all thanks for this effort goes to the Junior League! The team scrubbed hard water stains from tile around the pool earlier last month. This service project was full of elbow grease!

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Building Friendships Creating Community

melindaChildren’s Village Support:

Building Friendships Creating Community

By Melinda Davis

The day the doctor suggested our daughter Wapasha may have Down Syndrome was a day full of many mixed emotions.  I went from feeling complete happiness of meeting our daughter to feeling surprised, sad, and then followed by guilt and fear.  I was scared of the unknown.  In that moment, I went from seeing my baby as a baby…to seeing my baby with “Down syndrome.”  I loved her with all my heart and didn’t feel good about myself for thinking that when I looked at her.  I didn’t want these thoughts robbing this special time with my baby.  I felt so guilty about the uncertainty I was feeling.  The hospital offered to have a person from the Children’s Village come to see us.  Even though I was surrounded by people who loved us, I already felt as if nobody close to me could possibly understand what I was feeling.  I had all these thoughts stuck in my head.  Then Tracie, a representative from the Children’s Village Parent to Parent office, came to visit me.  She also had a son with special needs and could relate to what I was feeling at that moment.  Most importantly, she told me our daughter was beautiful and that everything was going to be okay.  Everything I was feeling was NORMAL!  I was not the first new mom in this place and we were certainly not alone.  She offered me a “Parent Match” which put me in touch with a mommy who also had a child with Down syndrome.

I remember the day Nadia came to see me.  I was nervous.  I had so many questions.  This was my 5th child and I thought it would be a familiar walk in the park when I came to deliver her.  But instead, I found myself in a situation I’ve never experienced before.  Would she have the answers I wanted?  Who is this mother, is she anything like me?  What if we don’t have anything in common….I wondered how her child was functioning, how had their lives been affected if at all since the diagnosis? What was her child like?  Nadia came in all smiles and very excited to meet us.  I’ll admit I sized her up a bit, but got right to the point of asking her what was her child like, after all that’s why she was here.  As if waiting for a cue, she immediately brought out some photos of her little girl.  Like any proud mother, she went on to tell me how awesome her daughter was while sharing just a few photos with me.  I think she was five at the time.  There she was in these photos….vibrant, smiling, laughing, playing with other children, with her brother, engaged with family, celebrating birthdays etc.  As far as I could tell it seemed life was fairly typical to what you would expect.  I asked her about crawling, walking, potty training, school, talking and anything else I could think of to ask. Her child reached these milestones when she was ready and she seemed confident ours would too.  I asked her about how she felt initially?  It turned out that most the feelings I was experiencing, she also experienced in some way.  Her faith was strong and I needed to be reminded of mine.  She did not seem to carry the weight of the fears I was holding at that time.  She told me it would get easier and that life will just fall back into place.  We adjust and go on.  I believed her.  I was still scared of the unknown, but meeting someone who was living it and seeing the photos of a happy little girl just being a 5 year old helped me so much.  I knew things would be okay. I felt hopeful.

Fast forward three years later, and Nadia and Tracie were right.  Wapasha is an absolute blessing and doing just fine.  She continues to reach her milestones on her own time.  I’ve gotten past “seeing” Down syndrome.  I just see our beautiful girl, her beautiful face and that silly personality!  Do I still worry?  Of course!  But, I’ve found that although we’ve had to experience hospital stays, still work with an Occupational Therapist, have IEPs and other situations we never had with her siblings, that our life has resumed mostly unaltered.  I am content.

I knew three years ago that when I was ready, I would want to help a new mother introduced to Down syndrome when she least expected it.  I knew I would want to bring that love and hope that Tracie and Nadia brought to me.  I would tell her that it’s natural to be scared and what she’s feeling is normal.  I would tell her these feelings get lighter with time.  I would tell her that it’s going to be okay and that she’s not alone.  I would tell her that her child is perfect and destined for greatness.  I would definitely show some photos!  This year I got the honor to be a “Helping Parent” in a parent match and I got to speak to a mommy who wanted to meet someone sharing this experience, and was a bit down the road in the journey.  Our experience wasn’t exactly the same, but we still had much in common.  I shared all those things I said I would.  We laughed and shared stories.  My desire was to pass some of the strength and hope given to me from the mommies before me and pass it on to this deserving mommy.  Together it is better, and I hope I did just that!  As she begins down this well beaten path creating her own trail, I want to thank you “Parent to Parent” for clearing the way!

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Bid now! Support Children’s Village and watch Seahawks/Sounders in style from private  suites at CenturyLink Field

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Prom at Children’s Village, A Mother’s Story

cv3Prom at Children’s Village is an annual event that occurs each spring. It’s organized by the Parent to Parent team and teen volunteers. Teen Club Prom provides an inclusive Prom experience in a safe, comfortable environment.  Program staff and teen volunteers provide that extra support and structure some teens need to help them have a GREAT experience.   Teen participants and teen volunteers take a limo ride, get a photo at the photo booth, enjoy pizza, and dance the night away – –  all in a very supportive and accommodating environment that ensures unique physical, emotional/social, and behavioral needs are met.

Below a mother shares her daughter’s experience at Prom this year.

cv2

“This is Ruby, she is a 17-year old young lady on the Autism Spectrum. Ruby looks forward to Prom at Children’s Village every year.  This is the only time Ruby will wear a dress. Ruby is shy and it is challenging for her to be around big groups of people and loud noises. Prom at The Village is a well-organized event, down to the last detail, which makes  this a place where Ruby is able to relax and enjoy doing something that she doesn’t do regularly. Ruby tells me she feel like a princess. She dances to the music and enjoys the cake and decorations that the staff from Parent to Parent arrange very well.  Ruby’s eyes light up in joy just speaking about the limo ride and the “men in black” which was part of the Prom theme.  As a cv1parent, I do not have enough words to thank every individual that made this event possible.  The joy that it brings to Ruby is priceless.”

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Community of Practice: What is it? What does it mean?

The Community of Practice workshop is an opportunity to bring people together to focus on the bigger picture:  What is a meaningful life for an individual with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities?  What is the vision? What is your community’s on-going commitment?

Ed Holen, Executive Director of The Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council, and/or Betsy McAlister, The Arc of Washington State, will facilitate a one day workshop exploring the Community of Practice efforts in Washington State.

They will share information and planning with an emphasis on person centered planning applications, Informing Families bulletins and other concrete tools from the National Community of Practice LifeCourse Toolkit http://supportstofamilies.org/resources/lifecourse-toolkit/

The afternoon portion of the workshop will look at identifying key partners in our community and discuss what they bring to the table. This includes how organizations can develop community support and services for families as well as how families make connections with formal Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and other state services. In our discussion we will reflect on goals and the next steps.

If you’re interested in attending, please respond to this email by May 20th. We have a capacity of 25-30 participants. Also, please feel free to forward this to others you think might be interested in attending!

Date: Friday, May 27

Time: 10-2:00 pm (arrive at 9:30 am to meet/network with other participants)

Location: Children’s Village, 3801 Kern Rd., Yakima

Lunch provided

 

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Meet Max: Learning and Growing at the Village

m1At first, local mother Brooke Hamilton-Neufeld assumed her son Max was just a late crawler. Max was still not crawling by one year, so Brooke became concerned as most children her son’s age would at least start walking and moving around.

Brooke went to the Children’s Village website for its online referral. The self-referral team, which includes a physical therapist, nurse, and other staff, all evaluated Max and referred him to early intervention services. Starting Max’s early intervention was physical therapist Laura who came to his home for four to five months.

m2As Max got older, he struggled with gross motor skills such as alternating feet when walking, hopping up and down, and balancing on one foot. He was also terrified of heights; this made climbing stairs very nerve-wracking for him. So Brooke and Max began seeing Children’s Village occupational therapist Sue, who they fondly address as “Miss Sue.” Sue worked with the family every week for 10 months. More importantly, “Miss Sue” made therapy fun for Max. Brooke says that Sue would incorporate Max’s interests into the therapy. That way, he would improve his fine and gross motor abilities and stay engaged. To build Max’s core muscles, Sue had him go through obstacles courses that included various exercises. Although Max enjoyed these activities, he had to learn how to overcome his fears. When Sue put him on the swing, Max learned to adapt to moving objects. Climbing a ladder helped Max adjust to unstable things and the heights he’s always dreaded.

m3Thanks to his family and Miss Sue’s support and guidance, Max is now a five-year-old who can stand on one foot, hop, hold a pen properly, as well as cut with scissors. Brooke will never forget Children’s Village and the kindness to her. She appreciates how welcoming the staff is; welcoming her family when they arrive and allowing Max to check himself in. Sometimes, the Village childcare watched Brooke’s two year old son, Miles, while she and Max attend therapy sessions with “Miss Sue.” As Max prepares to complete one more year of preschool, his family still keep connected with Children’s Village for Occupational Therapy. Max is growing up and has fond memories of his time with Miss Sue at Children’s Village.

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Upcoming Events at the Village!

 

Lunch and Learn: Parent Panel

Monday, April 25th 12 -1 PM 

Children’s Village, 3801 Kern Road, Yakima

RSVP: (509) 574-3209; marylynnebrewington@yvmh.org

Three local parents will share how Children’s Village has made such an impact in helping their family and child. Come hear why Children’s Village is so critically important for local families.  

 

A View From Our Shoes

Thursday, April 21st from 6-8pm

Children’s Village

No pre-registration necessary

As part of National Autism Awareness Month… a panel presentation composed of individuals that experience Autism and professionals/loved ones involved with people with Autism will share their stories.

 

Passion for the Village

Saturday, May 21, 5pm

Children’s Village

Tickets: $75/single, $600/table of eight

Join Friends of the Village in a fun evening supporting Children’s Village.  Evening includes: silent and live auction, dinner and inspiring presentation by a local family. Don’t miss this annual event! Register at: www.yakimachildrensvillage.org

For information contact Mary Lynne at 509-574-3209 or marylynnebrewington@yvmh.org

 

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Eggstravaganza at Children’s Village

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Meet Max – Learning and Growing at the Village

At first, local mother Brooke Hamilton-Neufeld assumed her son Max was just a late crawler. Max was still not crawling by one year, so Brooke became concerned as most children her son’s age would at least start walking and moving around. Brooke went to the Children’s Village website for its online referral. The self-referral team, which includes a physical therapist, nurse, and other staff, all evaluated Max and referred him to early intervention services.

Starting Max’s early intervention was physical therapist Laura who came to his home for four to five months. As Max got older, he struggled with gross motor skills such as alternating feet when walking, hopping up and down, and balancing on one foot. He was also terrified of heights; this made climbing stairs very nerve-wracking for him. So Brooke and Max began seeing Children’s Village occupational therapist Sue, who they fondly address as “Miss Sue.” Sue worked with the family every week for 10 months. More importantly, “Miss Sue” made therapy fun for Max. Brooke says that Sue would incorporate Max’s interests into the therapy. That way, he would improve his fine and gross motor abilities and stay engaged. To build Max’s core muscles, Sue had him go through obstacles courses that included various exercises. Although Max enjoyed these activities, he had to learn how to overcome his fears. When Sue put him on the swing, Max learned to adapt to moving objects. Climbing a ladder helped Max adjust to unstable things and the heights he’s always dreaded. Because Max liked knowing what to expect next, Sue implemented structure in her therapy and created schedules for him. For instance, Sue would have Brooke and Max take turns choosing activities. “Having Max feel empowered by providing him a schedule was really helpful,” says Brooke.

Thanks to his family’s and Miss Sue’s support and guidance, Max is now a five-year-old who can stand on one foot, hop, hold a pen properly, as well as cut with scissors. Brooke will never forget Children’s Village and the kindness to her. She appreciates how welcoming the staff is; welcoming her family when they arrive and allowing Max to check himself in. Sometimes, the Village childcare watch Brooke’s two year old son Miles while she and Max attend therapy sessions with “Miss Sue.” As Max prepares to complete one more year of preschool, his family still keep connected with Children’s Village for Occupational Therapy. Max is growing up great and has fond memories of his time with Miss Sue at Children’s Village.

 

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It Takes Two to Talk at Children’s Village

Rhonda Shinn, a Speech Language Pathologist at Children’s Village works with families who have children with a diagnosed communication delay and uses an evidence-based program called It Takes Two to Talk (ITTT) to encourage communication. ITTT occurs in small, personalized group settings and teaches parents practical strategies to help their children learn language naturally throughout their normal day. Children’s Village has been providing ITTT since 2011 and below Rhonda shares a moment about some milestones that occurred in a recent ITTT session:

“As you know, I love teaching the ITTT class because I feel like I can make a difference in a way that is difficult to achieve in individual (communication) therapy. During each session, I ask the parents to fill out a vocabulary list at the beginning and the end of the class. Today, five of the six children more than doubled his/her vocabulary over the 12-week session! One of them tripled his vocabulary!”
The Village provides over 30 different services to children with special health care needs and their families – and the right services are different for each family. There are medical specialty clinics, development evaluations, dental services, occupational and speech therapy, mental health counseling, education services, care resource coordinators and physical therapy. The list goes on. The professionals at Children’s Village are passionate, qualified and committed to local children with special needs.
“At Children’s Village we have the tremendous privilege of being tour guides or navigators to support families on their journey,” Diane Patterson, Vice-President Memorial Hospital said.
If you have a concern about your child’s development, talk to your primary care physician about a referral or start by taking this simple online developmental evaluation or call Children’s Village at (509) 574-3200 or (800)745-1077.

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