Dental care for children with special healthcare needs

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Thoughts from Jessica DeBord, Pediatric Dentist at Children’s Village

“As a dentist here at Children’s Village, one of the most meaningful experiences for me is being able to provide the level of care to our families that they would only get in a major city at a premier children’s hospital. Our kids don’t deserve any less than other kids because they live in a rural community. Children’s Village provides families with support and high-level medical and dental care, locally! Children’s Village is a family-centered collaborative team with a common mission to care for children with special health care needs. The Village lets clinicians provide the best care possible for our kids.”

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The heart of the Village…

Children’s Village is a physical example of the love, care and compassion our community has for those with exceptional needs! The staff at the village does so much more than provide just medical services or therapies, they reach out to the entire family structure and provide opportunities that go beyond basic services. “It’s been so great, the support, the amazing therapist that have been here, my son has made so many friends with village staff members, it’s been really fun, really good,  I don’t know what I would do without the people at the village!” – a grateful parent.

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Children’s Village Sib Shops Hearts

This month at Sibshops the kids were each given a box of candy conversation hearts and a colored piece of paper with a heart on it. The instructions were for each of them to write their own conversation heart – the kind they would most like to receive from their sibling with special needs.  It was really neat to see the kids take off and write down what they would like to hear from their sibs.

When we did sharing some of the kids who have had a hard time doing so suddenly were able to share things that they haven’t before. Some of the things they shared weren’t even about them, it was about what they wished their sib could say to their parents. There were a few that wished their sib could say “Mom” or “Dad”. Other kids wished their siblings could say “Thank you for helping me…”

For anyone who helps support Children’s Village, and Sibshops, the coordinators of this special program THANK YOU from the bottom of their hearts. 

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The Amazing Izzy!

Izzy is 12 years old and in the 6th grade.  She likes hip-hop dance, choir, soccer, and is very busy for a young, almost teenager.  One of her favorite activities is the rodeo.  She started at 3 years old with her dad leading the horse as she rode.  Now she rides independently and this year she is attending bigger rodeos!  Her goal is to participate in the Indian National Finals Rodeo. 

Izzy was born with arthrogryposis – which means some of her joints in her hands don’t move much and are bent in one position, but Izzy has a super strong trunk and leg strength to help her do things that she does not have the hand strength to do.  As a baby, she was able to just pop up without the use of her hands, because she was so strong in her trunk and legs! 

A Children’s Village physical therapist and a specialist from Seattle Children’s Hospital came to meet Izzy and her mom in the hospital when Izzy was just 2 days old.  At two weeks old she had tiny splints on her hands and started services at Children’s Village.  By the time she was 4 years old, she had figured out her own way to do most everything and graduated from physical therapy.

Today, Izzy is back at Children’s Village, working with an occupational therapist on how to develop stronger hand and finger control, and for tasks like buttoning and zipping clothing. Her biggest challenge is when she has hands-on activities at school or movements that require hands during her choir performances.  Izzy’s mom is amazed at what she can do and Izzy won’t be limited by what she can’t do!

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Resources for children with disabilities and their families.

Please visit this excellent website for up-to-date information about services and resources for children with disabilities and their families.

Scroll through the website by child’s age, or scroll to the bottom, and visit the ‘bulletins’ under News. Many informative Bulletins about a variety of topics.

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Communication in Children with Down Syndrome and Hearing Loss

Save the Date CCC Family Information Session

Communication in Children with Down Syndrome and Hearing Loss
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Seattle Children’s Hospital,
Wright Auditorium

Types of hearing loss and treatment
Hearing aids and FM systems
Speech production

AAC and PECS/signing
Community resources

Interpreters and childcare for children ages 3 and up who are toilet trained are available
if requested by February 15th.


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The Power of Community

Read Samantha Monterrey‘s story first hand as a new resident to Yakima, as a teen and her involvement in YouthWorks pageants, and now as the Volunteer Coordinator for North Star Lodge, ‘Ohana, and Children’s Village.

“I knew from a young age that I wanted to understand what it felt like to belong to a community. Because of our constant moving, I never truly felt like I belonged to a particular school or community. Just when I got comfortable somewhere, we packed up and left. I never imagined that a rural agricultural town of 16,000 people would become my refuge.

Sunnyside was the first time I truly felt accepted. It was the first-time people of different walks of life would take me and my family in as their own. Fast forward to my junior year of high school. I wasn’t a scholar or an athlete. I blended well with the different social groups but I wasn’t popular. I was comfortable in my own shoes for once in my life and I was content with that.

Advisory was a new concept at the time and one I had zero appreciation for it at first. When Mr. Martinez asked me to be a coordinator for the Mr. Sunnyside High School pageant, I never imagine the long-lasting impact it would have on my life. The very sense of belonging I had longed for had become a part of my youth. I was giving back to my community without even knowing it.

I remember the day I met the wonderful staff of The Memorial Foundation and the tour of Children’s Village and Memorial’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  I remember our miracle baby, her family and how incredibly grateful her parents were that the young people of our community were involved in making such a big impact on the lives of local children and families with special health care needs. We returned to school knowing how important our roles as coordinators and contestants were and we weren’t going to fail in them.

Children’s Village is often referred to as “a beacon of hope” in our community. It is hope for the children and families who receive the necessary services they probably wouldn’t receive otherwise. It is hope for parents who receive a diagnosis of their child and feel lost, scared and confused. It is hope for providers that know that they are helping someone to live a better life. And for me, it is the beacon that reminds me of the true power a community can have when it comes together to take care of its own.

Ten years later, I have found myself appreciating this familiar place for similar but vastly different reasons. As a staff member here, I have come to know and understand the many facets that make Children’s Village a magical place. This is a place that truly changes lives in more ways than we know. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of it.”

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Becoming a parent partner workshop

Do you know of any parents or caregivers of Deaf, Deaf/Blind or Hard of Hearing children who are interested in building their leadership skills? Washington State Hands and Voices and Seattle Children’s Center for Children with Special Needs are holding a free training  in Spokane! This training will help parents effectively participate in meetings, recognize the ways and reasons for sharing their story with purpose and more.

Deadline to register is February 8. Register at Please see the attached flyer for more details.

Any questions, contact Christine Griffin or Kim Arthur.


You can view full details here Becoming a Parent Partner Workshop Feb 10

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Reflection by Laura Reed, Children’s Village Physical Therapist

Children’s Village has always been a celebration for this community … From the days when it was nothing more than a vision in the minds of a few amazing Dreamers… To the day that little John Jones, hard hat on and shovel in hand, broke ground on this beautiful piece of land… To the day our rainbow covered doors opened and children began flooding in… up to this very day … Children’s Village has always been a celebration.

Over the years, we have had the honor of hosting a number of fairly prestigious guests, all who in one way or another have highlighted our mission here at Children’s Village.

Mona Locke, wife of then Senator Gary Locke, met with many families and staff.   Melinda Gates has helped to raise awareness around some of the difficulties raising a child with special needs.  We have had Olympic Swimming Medalists inspire many of our kids while playing and splashing around in our pool.  Ex-NBA great Isaiah Thomas came and “hung out” with kids, giving hugs and lap time to many!  Tipper Gore, wife of then Vice Presidential candidate Al Gore met with families to hear about their concerns and challenges.  Even the amazing Bert and Ernie, straight from Sesame Street, graced our halls, bringing smiles and joy to many!

And while it was an honor to host these kind and very public figures, it is every day that we get to meet so many true heroes.  Because right here… Right in our own backyards…

Every day there is a new family who is learning to live their lives with a child who has special needs….  And that family is feeling Anxiety… Fear… Joy… Isolation… Hope…Despair…Anger…Elation…Concern….     And yet they walk across our bridge and through those rainbow doors….   With their 1 month-old baby.  Their 2 year old.  Their 8 or 12 year old child…

And when they hand over to you the most precious thing in their lives.   There is no GREATER honor

The Children’s Village is a home of Triumph.  Right here in these walls.  Triumph happens every day….

It is the mom you meet at the elevator, who is bursting with excitement because her child, who has been on a feeding tube for the first year and a half of his life, just ate 2 bites of cracker and a spoonful of applesauce!  She leaves today full of pride and hope for her baby!

It is the mom who calls you at 6:30 one night, because even though they have an appointment to come and see your first thing the next morning, she can’t wait that long to tell you that her 3-year old just stood up all by himself for the very first time!

It is the 9-year old with Autism, who comes running down the hall, waving a card in his hand so excited to show you the very first invitation he has ever received to a birthday party…  “LOOK!   I have a FRIEND!”

It is the mom who moves here with her 3-year old daughter, who cannot begin to utter the words “cerebral palsy”.  As a matter of fact, she covers her mouth and whispers while saying this in front of her little girl. And after a month of feeling the support of Children’s Village, not only is she able to say “cerebral palsy”, but is able to say it without shame or guilt, ready to teach the world about it, and is now able to instill confidence and empowerment in her child. 

This child was one of the first children to play on the playground at the Children’s Village.  Several months later, this family moved out of town, to a different county.  And do you know what???  One evening as I turned on the news, guess what I saw….!  This mom’s face, filling the television screen!  And do you know what she did??  This mom was instrumental in rallying her new community into building a playground that was accessible to ALL children! 

TRIUMPH!!And do you see?   Triumph is not contained within the walls of the Children’s Village…

It is not contained within the walls of a child’s home….Nor their school. Or church. It is not contained within the boundaries of this town.

Not even within the boundaries of this county!

Through our littlest heroes and the incredible families we serve, the compassion and caring of the Children’s Village touches many lives.  Triumph spreads beyond these walls, and beyond this county, to inspire and give hope to many.  Many who are already on this journey, and many who will find themselves seeking information, acceptance, hope, sharing, and triumph.

There is still time left to make your end of year donation… consider supporting the good work that is performed at Children’s Village by DONATING HERE.

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