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  • Writer's pictureOCHO


The focus this year was again on identification of needs, safe and effective eating/nutrition/swallowing, positioning and its effects on function, mobility and motor development, play and fine motor, communication and language and the impact on behavior, and provision of resources for both the educators and the families to advance development.True collaboration was experienced by all and was the key for this successful brigade. The interdisciplinary team summarized the team findings daily using a new form created by the group prior to the brigade.  We met with our Atima teachers at the end of each busy day to provide updates to each child’s treatment plan and to discuss recommendations and to plan for the upcoming year.

New this year was the addition of a home environmental survey conducted at the outreach visits that documented housing features, activities done at home and within the community, and issues that each family wanted to discuss during our visit.  On the community outreach visits, we were able to spend 2-3 hours with each family and the addition of Physical and Speech therapy permitted a more comprehensive approach and ability to address not only the needs of the child but also the entire family.  Read what one of the new team members, speech therapist Zeina Mvemba, has to say about her personal experience:

"Perhaps the most memorable experience during the trip as a member of the special needs team was my outreach experience. Kristin Brockmeyer-Stubbs, Quyen Catania, Ruby Pritchett, Doctor Patrocinio Sarmiento, the CRIC teachers, and I traveled 1 hour into the mountains of Atima to visit 3 children whom OCHO had made contact with last year. Unfortunately upon our arrival, we learned that one of the children had passed away 2 months ago. With heavy hearts we started to work with the 2 other children, Mauricio and Maritza. Initially I was shocked to learn that the oldest Mauricio, was 15 years old, due to his small stature. I will never forget the scowl he had on his face when we entered his home. Both Mauricio and Maritza had limited mobility, with Mauricio being nonverbal, and Maritza having a few words such as the name of her Father. I was fortunate to be able to work with both of the children, and provide parent and sibling training activities such as using picture books to facilitate language, as well as using musical toys to learn vocabulary, etc. I think I enjoyed this moment the most because it mimicked the “home visits” that I partake in in my daily work routine in Baltimore. Being able to see this family in their home, and get to know a sliver of their day-to-day was everything to me, and helped me to feel connected to them. Hearing Mauricio’s infectious laughter, and watching Martiza engage with her father in a meaningful, language-rich way helped me to feel like I was an essential part of the special needs team. I look forward to returning to see them next year to share new ideas that I may have, and to see any progress they have made.”



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