Monday, March 26, 2018

Jerry's House- ST. MARC

I had the wonderful opportunity of spending 5-6 days in St. Marc at Jerry's House. 6 months ago I was able to help them hire a rehab technician Charles to work with their children. For the past 6 months I have been trying to find a time to go and evaluate their children and write treatment plans for their technician to follow. Rehab Technicians know how to treat from treatment plans but do not have the schooling/education to evaluate and write treatment plans.

It finally worked out that I had a week between my time with my family in Cap Haitian and my time helping with the Special Needs Health Fair in Gressier/Leogane area. I was able to bring 2 of the Rehab Technician Volunteers Claudette and Panier who have been serving at the Miriam Center with me so they could learn from watching me evaluate, treat, and educate their staff how to work with each of their 13 kids.

During the week I evaluated each of the Jerry's House's 13 kids, wrote individualized goals and treatment plans (and wrote them up in picture form) to help with follow through, and then measured each of the kids so the following week at the health fair we could make them customized equipment. The following week all but 2 of these families came all the way to Gressier for the Health Fair for 2 days where they received education, specialized bracing for their children and customized equipment.

Take a minute and get to know each of the amazing children and their mothers. I am so excited to see what God has in store for this program and each of these children and their families.

Jerry's House has 3 children that live in a Foster home

1. MEET JERRY- Jerry was rescued from the St. Marc hospital where he was abandoned. When he was rescued he was close to death and severely malnourished. God saved his life and through that journey the concept of Jerry's House was born. He is THRIVING and you would never know he came close to dying from malnutrition. He is a funny and happy kid. At the special needs health fair he got hand braces, foot braces, and a specialized chair.

2. JEDIDIAH- He was also abandoned at the hospital and spent 6 months with little touch or interaction. He was rescued and placed in the Jerry's House where he receives lots of love, touch, and food. He is severe with Microcephaly and Arthrogryposis. He has alot of physical deformities. At the Health Fair he got bilateral hand braces and foot braces as well as a bucket chair. 

This little fellow STOLE my heart and if I was able to and in a place to adopt this little man would have been mine ;-p But even better is that when I arrived the staff didn't do alot with Jedidiah. They were scared of him and thought he was super fragile. After watching me work with him and love on him and move him in all different way and hold him in a variety of ways and positions...the staff started holding him more, working with him, and began saying that He was their child! Love how God works!

3. FERNANDO- was rescued from another orphanage that did not know what to do with him. He is Autistic with ALOT of sensory seeking behaviors. I was able to teach the staff about sensory input and how this will help calm and organize him. He requires lots of proprioception and vestibular input. His favorite treatment activity is having someone lay on top on a therapy ball on top of him and roll over top of him. Fernando is non-verbal but once he started to get sensory input and I started integrating some simple signs like "more" and "finished". He was able to learn them and start using them. This kid has so much potential and can't see what God has in store for him. He got foot braces at the Health Fair.

The other 10 kids are apart of the outreach program that was opened in collaboration with Jerry's House. A few of the parents with children with special needs were hired as staff to help with the 3 kids living at Jerry's House. These mom's bring their special needs children to work with them. The other mothers have specific days that they come to the center and receive activities & therapy for their children. 

1. FIDNAIDA- has been apart of the program for a few months. Her mom works at the Jerry's House. She has CP and is super smart and loves to do therapy. She is super determined especially with fine motor activities. During the health fair we were able to make her a chair with a tray to be able to work more easily on her fine motor skills. She also received AFO's and a walker to start learning how to walk and increase her mobility. Ps. Her smile is contagious!

2. FRIDLAY- Has been apart of the program for months. His aunt is actually the foster mom for the Jerry's House. He is in school which is AWSOME since so many children with special needs are not allowed into school (thankfully another 1 of his aunts is the director of the school). Friday spends alot of his time outside of school at the center. He is very mobile and gets around on his knees. He loves playing basketball, bouncing on the therapy ball and any type of vestibular or proprioceptive sensory input. His smile is so contagious! At the health fair we were able to fit him for AFO's to prevent his feet from becoming more deformed. Hand braces to prevent wrist contractors and place his hands in a better and more functional position and a new chair with tray to allow him to better participate in school!

3.NOUDLAY- His mom is also 1 of staff working at Jerry's House. He was the first outreach child to join the program. He has come far over the last 8 months! He is a spunky young man who is loves to play. In the past month he had the chance to stand for the first time with the help of a STANDER and he absolutely loves this new view on life! During the health fair we were able to make him a chair with a tray so he can sit to play and also started working on a stander that he will be able to have at home so that days he does not come to the center he can still stand. He was also fit for Foot Braces.

4.CHRISTIAN- He has hydrocephalus and thus has lack of head control. He has a mom who obliviously loves him! He would much prefer chilling in a lying position all day and does not enjoy alot of movement. BUT if you move slow he will tolerate it. He has ALOT of potential and I am excited to see what consistent therapy will do for him. At the health fair he got a specialized chair made which allows him to sit up now :-) He was also fit for AFO foot braces and a stander was started but not finished (it will be finished on the next visit)

5. ABICHEK- I believe he is fairly new to the program. He has CP and sensory processing difficulties. He is not a fan of movement or light touch. He calms with deep pressure and firm touch though. His mother is young and overwhelmed as he cries alot and currently his only calming mechanism is breastfeeding and so mom is CONSTANTLY breast-feeding. I worked with mom and the other staff at the Jerry's House on alternative techniques to try calming with outside of breast-feeding. Unfortunately he was not able to make it to the health fair. 

6. MARC EMMANUEL- He is a spunky boy who has ALOT of potential with consistent therapy. He is very smart, eager to learn, and a involved and dedicated mom. During the health fair he received AFO's and a stander and as he gets stronger is can be turned to a walker. He also received a specialized chair with a tray to work on his fine motor skills. 

7. JUNE- Is the sweetest little girl. She has CP but is a strong and determined young lady! Her mom works and so a friend or relative brings her daily but her mom comes and picks her up at the end of the day. With therapy she has great potential of gaining some good skills! At the health fair she received foot braces, bilateral hand braces, bucket stander, and a customized chair with tray. 

8. SAMMANTHA- Sammantha has mild CP. She has a spunky personality and is determined. She is very independent and has learned many adaptations. She is in school and able to feed and dress herself. She will benefit from therapy to help with her overall gross motor coordination, hand eye coordination and lifting up feet to decrease falls. She did not go to the health fair as all she needed was foot braces which we were able to send back for her. 

9. JUDENS- His evaluation was actually his very first day at the program. He was shy and scared during his evaluation but each day during the week his little personality emerged. He has hemiplegia which means 1 side of his body does not work. He has great therapy potential and the ability to regain some movement in his affected side and good potential if his mother follow throughs on activities at home outside of his therapy time at the center. At the health fair we were able to fit him with hand brace, foot brace, and a walker. 

10. BRIDLINE- came on my very last day there. Her mom heard about the program and came seeking help for her daughter. She had taken her to therapy at the local hospital but quit taking her because all they did was with her lying down. Her mother had sought out an EEG for her daughters seizures and you could right away tell how much her mother loved her and would do anything to get her help. I spent a few hours evaluating her and getting to know them. They then were able to join the trip to the health fair and she was able to get foot braces, hand braces, a stander made, and a specialized chair with a tray made. Her mother was so grateful and eager to learn anything that might help her daughter.

Day 1 of the health fair was a very LONG day for the families and kids. They left their homes at 3:45AM to start travels to the Fair. They arrived around 10:00AM. The first thing that happened was all the equipment that we had started to build the day before the kids were fitted in to see what adjustments needed to be made to keep moving forward. The families then took a lunch break and quick nap. Then they went through the 10 educational stations and learned a variety of information that will be helpful in caring for their kids. one of the stations they learned how to massage, stretch, therapy brush their child and were given a therapy Brush and laminated picture handouts to help them remember. They also received a therapy ball for at home and were educated with picture handouts on appropriate therapy ball activities to do with their child. 

Day 2- the children who have swallowing/feeding concerns were able to get a full speech and swallowing evaluation and educated on strategies to do with their child. All the kids who needed foot braces were fit for braces and shoes. All the kids who needed hand braces had custom braces made. And all the equipment was finished and had a final fitting. 

It was a crazy busy few days but so worth it!

All the equipment and all the families piled back in the 15 passenger van around 4:30 to head back to St. Marc. All exhausted but all excited about all the equipment and help they received for their children. Not only that but it was a bonding experience and all the mom's and families grew closer and stronger relationships.