Junior and his family are a blessing
Little Junior is 3 years old and one of the most adorable tiny humans GOT Ministries gets to work with.
We invite you to
IMAGINE THE IMPACT
we could have in this family
He has cerebral palsy, and crosses his legs and extends his whole body when trying to engage with his environment, because it's the only part of his body that he can somewhat control. We work with Junior to provide an opportunity for his body to experience different positions and engage with his environment. We do this through stretches, as well as activities for supporting weight on his hands/elbows and knees to prepare him for future crawling. Even though this is hard work for Junior by the end of the visits, he makes gurgling noises and cuddles into our side.
We are intentional about communicating with the mom regarding what we are doing, why, and the importance of integrating the therapy in the home. This is important so that Junior can experience other positions daily, which are important for eating, crawling and hopefully someday walking. Through occupational therapy, Junior and so many other kiddos can experience and participate in the world with a higher level of independence.
Junior has shown some significant gains since we began working with him in May of 2017. His mother has been so great to work with, and thankful for the opportunity to learn more about how to help her son engage with his environment.
**In order to have the impact that we desire in this family, we want....
-to encourage Junior's mother, Marta Lidia, in ways to help her son
-to support the family system and educate on the value that Junior has with his different abilities
-to teach the family about Junior's seizures, and how to respond appropriately, as well as the importance of medical care
-to help Junior grow and develop his potential
We seek to provide consistent therapy services for Junior and his family, in order to share hope and love for them, and to support Juniors growth and independence in the future.
Please consider partnering with us to serve little blessings like Junior.
If you would like to sponsor therapy services for Junior, click below to be a THERAPY SPONSOR.
What is occupational therapy?
The definition of occupational therapy according to Webster is:
Therapy based on engagement in meaningful activities of daily life (such as self-care skills, education, work, or social interaction), especially to enable or encourage participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning.
Occupational therapy can be so many things depending on where the services are being provided. While Webster's definition is thorough, our main priorities are: ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING and INDEPENDENCE. The examples above: self-care, education, work and social interactions are things we evaluate. We determine how a disability impacts a child’s ability to participate in everyday activities. When working with children in Guatemala, we use play, games and activities to strengthen their abilities to complete different steps of activities. Therefore, slowly but surely, they develop INDEPENDENCE in their ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING.
For example, we can use a simple puzzle to help the child work on their hand coordination, problem solving, communication, core balance when sitting, ability to follow directions and so much more! These aspects of the puzzle activity are important in normal development and are things we get the privilege to teach our kiddos. Clear as mud?!?! :)
Why would YOU care about the definition of occupational therapy?
Well, GOT Ministries is using occupational therapy services to serve the children with special needs and the community of Santa Maria de Jesus. We desire to spread the love of our Lord Jesus to our kiddos and the community we serve with therapy services, to assist them in achieving independence.
We want our supporters to know how their support of finances, prayers, and encouragement directly impact the community they serve through GOT Ministries. Our partners and supporters are a huge part of our therapy services and are serving the community of Santa Maria de Jesus alongside us through their contributions.
YOU are helping the children we serve to develop life skills in daily living, as well as educating the community of Santa Maria on the value of our beautiful loved ones with special needs. Together we can make an impact and a difference in the lives of those we serve through independence, self-esteem, positive social interactions and success in school. Therefore, their futures are opened to so many more possibilities!
It is hard to think of not being able to communicate our wants and needs to others. That when we speak, others may not understand our language. For some of us, to communicate verbally is how we process what is going on in our lives. There are so many kinds of communication that belong under the large umbrella terms of non-verbal and verbal communication. Communication has been and is a big part of our work here in Guatemala. How so, you ask? Why, I would love to share :) Here are the 4 ways we have been working through communication.
We continue to work on our Spanish language skills with weekly classes, and learn a word here and there of Kaqchikel, the Mayan language of Santa Maria de Jesus. We learn so much of the culture when we learn the language of others. Kaqchikel is actually the primary language of the kiddos we serve in Santa Maria; Spanish is their second language and the language we use when serving them in therapy. So both the GOT Ministries OT providers and the kiddo we serve, get the beautiful opportunity to speak in our SECOND languages :) Check out the map above of all the Mayan languages in Guatemala. Kaqchikel is spoken in the south central region of Guatemala, where we work.
Quite a few of the kiddos we get the pleasure of working with struggle with verbal communication. Some of the kiddos with challenges in this area are the most effective non-verbal communicators. We are not speech therapists and do not pretend to be, because each therapy discipline has such a valuable perspective and role in serving people with different abilities. However, as occupational therapists, we do have the opportunity to work with kiddos on communication. What is the difference?--- SPEECH AND COMMUNICATION are not always the same thing, think about it. Speech therapy and occupational therapy overlap here, but we still look at communication from unique perspectives.
So, this last week, we introduced a communication device to a young girl with cerebral palsy we have served for years. She struggles with verbally communicating when out in the community and when she is nervous, like talking to the boy she likes in her classroom! Oh, man, can I identify and feel for her there! When we gave her her first opportunity ever to use a tablet and keyboard to help with communicating in those challenging environments, she painstakingly typed, "te quiero," which means I LOVE YOU! Be still my heart. Communication is beautiful and so powerful.
Communication among professionals is pivotal to serve the children we work with effectively. This is an opportunity that GOT Ministries has had the privilege to initiate with the amazing team at New Life School. We love to get people together to understand what the team is doing, and how we can come alongside the great professionals who are serving the kiddos every day. GOT has been able to meet with the school psychologist, the special education teacher, the administrator, the principal, and coordinated meetings for everyone to gather in order to increase communication among us. We also want to increase awareness between team members of each of our roles and purposes. To come together and unite in our purpose will allow us to truly provide holistic and comprehensive care to our kiddos.
Who knows what occupational therapy is? If you ask an occupational therapist, he/she would say that no one knows what we do! :) It is a complex and unique job, that gets compared to physical therapy more often than I would like to say. We love our PTs, but OT has a very important role on the team of professionals that needs to be understood better. We, as a profession, have been around for 100 years, celebrating this big milestone this year! Well, you can assume that occupational therapy is even more misunderstood in Guatemala. This specific purpose has been a great opportunity for us to share with the school, and the parents this trip. What in the 'wild, wild world of sports' (as my grandpa would say) is OT?!?! Well, we have been working on communicating this clearly at New Life and have had a teacher in-service to speak into this, as well as a greatly attended parent meeting! What a blessing. If you were perusing around New Life in your spare time, you would also find some great signage outside of our OT room about all the cool things we do!
Look for the next post to answer the daunting question of: WHAT IS OT?
COMMUNICATION IS A BLESSING
COMMUNICATION IS A CHALLENGE
COMMUNICATION IS EVERYWHERE
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.