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On November 15, 2018, J.J., Jessey, and Matthew visited the Early Learning Center at Children’s Village while their parents took their siblings to various appointments. Matthew was content to simply wander around the back of the room and play with different toys, while J.J. and Jessey hung out at the table and talked with Stacy, the child care supervisor. At first, Jessey was quiet and pensive and didn’t want to do much, but eventually decided to build a structure with the magnetic blocks.
Meanwhile, J.J. was solving a jigsaw puzzle that had dinosaurs on it and talking to Stacy about her love for the “Land Before Time” series. She even told Stacy that she once had a dream that she was a long-neck like Little Foot. When Jessey left to go with his parents, J.J. took over the construction of the building that Jessey had started. She put her baby doll inside and built walls around her. Stacy was a good sport and played along when J.J. told her that the baby doll was taking a nap, even apologizing when she spoke “too loudly” and J.J. had to shush her.
This experience shows how accepting and non-judgmental the childcare staff are and how understanding they are to the different dispositions of the children. The Early Learning Center is a special place at Children’s Village for children and their siblings
On November 11, 2018, Christine and her daughter Dahlia arrived at Children’s Village. They were going to see Alison for Dahlia’s physical therapy. Dahlia is eleven years old and has cerebral palsy. When they came to Alison’s office, she greeted them with a nice, loud voice, displaying enthusiasm and excitement at catching up with the family.
During the appointment, Alison did an excellent job at explaining things to Dahlia in a way that she understood. For instance, when Dahlia and her mother asked, Alison demonstrated some of the exercises that she had been having Dahlia practice and why each one was effective for strengthening her legs. Alison was also very personal and friendly with Dahlia; she remembered with her mother when Dahlia first came into her office at the age of 1 ½. She was good-humored and not stern with Dahlia when she and her mother admitted to her forgetting to wear her brace the night before, while still emphasizing that the brace was important to wear.
Lastly, Alison was able to get Dahlia excited about changing braces for surgery. Dahlia liked the fact that she had several choices. The three braces she picked were a brace with a galaxy pattern on it, a brace with cats, and a solid yellow brace.
Alison is an example of the patience and compassion that Village staff have for the children who come in. They go out of their way to make the children feel good about themselves, even on days where they feel anxious and unsure. At the same time, they make sure to explain what needs to be addressed in a way that makes children comfortable and excited about being at the Village.
Because of your generosity, children with special equipment needs in our community are receiving the help they need. Through the Pediatric Therapy Services Program at Children’s Village, the physical therapist team has processed over 200 ankle foot orthotic orders to help 155 individual children! To put that into perspective, last year in 2017, we only processed 132 total orders. With a couple of months remaining in the year, we have already exceeded last year’s numbers! Thank you for your continued support, you’re making a difference right here in our community!
On October 23, 2018, Katrina Silva took her almost five-year-old daughter, Shealynn, to see Dottie, her speech therapist. When Shealynn was one month old, she was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome. This was when the Silvas first found out about the Village.
When Dottie came out of her office door, she had the biggest smile on her face and Shealynn’s favorite game, “Pop-Up Pirate” clutched in her arm. She shook Shealynn’s and her mom’s hands and invited them in, calling Shealynn her “little friend”. Shealynn and her mom were very excited to see and work with Dottie. Shaelynn was especially excited to tell Dottie about her new toy kitty, that she had also named Dottie. It was rainbow-colored with polka-dots. Shealynn’s mom added, “Yep, not two seconds after getting into the car, she said, ‘His name is Dottie’”.
During the appointment, Shealynn’s mom showed Dottie laminated charts with phrases on them and had Shealynn show off to Dottie the improvement she had made in her speech since the last time they met. Dottie used Pop-Up Pirate as both a motivation/reward for Shealynn after she went through each chart and also a fun way to help Shealynn practice speaking her “P’s” and “S’s” clearly (“I would like a blue sword, please.”). After the appointment, Dottie praised Shealynn on the improvements she had made and encouraged her on the areas yet to improve on.
Dottie is a wonderful example of what therapists at Children’s Village are like. They are friendly and personal with the children and enthusiastic when the children come in. They are willing to lend a listening ear when the children have something to tell them. However, they are also professional with their job; they will let the children know the areas that they need to improve on and will encourage and help them, every step of the way, to meet their goals.
Two years ago, our life’s journey took a different course. We had so looked forward to having a son, but when our son, Japheth, was diagnosed with Apraxia, we never imagined that on this journey we would have so many tears, laughter…a little bit of everything.
Our journey took us to beautiful places where we wanted to stay, but we had to continue on. On our course, we’ve seen very lonely and rainy landscapes, and on occasion we have even gotten a “flat tire”. We’ve encountered people who only stop to stare at us, or point; but there have also been people who provided a hand to help us repair the “flat tire”. We have placed a lot of effort into reaching our final destination.
The Children’s Village Parent to Parent and Holland support groups have been a big part of our experience. They have helped us understand that we are not alone and that none of this is our fault. They have helped strengthen us as parents. We have met more families like us…we are not alone!
We want to encourage other parents who may be unsure of what direction to take; they may have doubts about asking for help. But I encourage you to reach out.
And while you are on this journey of raising a child with special needs, if you happen to see someone else with a “flat tire” in their life, think about helping them, instead of pointing a finger!
— As translated by Maria Pulido for Imelda Ortiz (photo attached)
An invitation from Melia…. Peach’s mom!
Come out to Buddy Walk and support family, friends and loved ones with Down syndrome! This is a great way to get our community together to celebrate differences! People with Down syndrome have beautiful spirit’s, personalities and are full of love! They are really just like everyone else. Our community needs more unconditional love and that is exactly what people with Down syndrome (and other disabilities!) emanate. Come join the fun!!!
~Melia is proud mom to Peach and Coral. Peach is 3 years old and has Down syndrome. She is a compassionate, warm little girl with lots of spunk, a dash of sass and a whole lot of energy!!
The Buddy Walk is an easy walk around the Children’s Village campus to celebrate people with Down syndrome! This year, we’ll offer two walking paths: a short, easy walk and a longer endurance walk (which is less than 1/2 mile).
Children and individuals with special needs will receive Buddy Walk medals upon completion of the walk. We welcome children and individuals with Down syndrome, family members, friends, neighbors and the community!
Saturday, October 13, 2018
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Children’s Village 3801 Kern Road, Yakima
Transitioning from birth-to-three services into the school system comes with a series of changes for you and your child. Be prepared for not one, but several transitions-from early intervention services, to developmental preschool, then on to kindergarten and first grade.
Navigating Your Way: Ages Three to Six is the second in a series of videos that provides a bird’s eye view of services, supports and resources for every stage of life.
Click here to watch the video and download a list of resources for ages 3-6.
Ryan Jr was the miracle child for the 2018 Mr. East Valley Pageant, helping to bring disability awareness and understanding to others. Jr is 5 and was diagnosed on the autism spectrum with Asperger’s syndrome. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects an individual’s social skills, behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. He attends East Valley developmental preschool and his favorite things are Magic School Bus, Play-Doh and Legos!
After Jr was diagnosed the family attended the Holland group at Children’s Village, which is an eight-week program for parents with a child who has been diagnosed with any kind of disability. This group was very helpful for the family to receive the support they needed as they were going through the process of understanding and accepting Jr’s diagnosis.
Jr’s , mom said, “We’ve found that Children’s Village is a great place and has a variety of services all under one roof. If you ask Jr it’s the ‘fun house’! If it weren’t for Children’s Village, we would have been forced to seek services out of town, which would have added more of a financial burden to the already costly care. Children’s Village is truly a blessing for our family and for our community.”