Tuesday, August 8, 2017

CCT Volunteer McKenna Tychsen Second Blog Post (Hope Home)

McKenna Tychsen
Hope Home
{July 9th-July 25th}

A few weeks ago, I said I would go into detail about each of the children! Here you are!

We have 10 children at Hope Home, however, not all of the children live full time at the home. Each child, very unique in their own way, has specific need which we do our best to cater to in each activity we do throughout the day. Here, I go into more depth about the complexities of each child we work with.

1) Bella, 4 years old, (almost 5!!) with a fatty acid oxidation deficiency and a developmental delay. The fatty acid oxidation deficiency is a condition requiring her to eat every couple of hours, If she doesn't, it could be very serious and turn into a hypoglycemic episode. Bella is also deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other. She is a VERY sweet, intelligent and dedicated little girl with high potential for success, but can distract you easily with her adorable charm to get out of something. During our learning portion each day, Bella is always very attentive and interactive with the lesson. We work with her to improve discipline, fine and gross motor skills as well as basic educational material, such as colors, days of the week, numbers, etc.

2) Little Guy, 2 years old, was born premature with respiratory problems, so had to have a trachea placed in his throat. Now, he is a very active and talkative little boy. Very smart for his age! It is sometimes hard to know if he fully understands English, (for me to understand him at least) however, he has an easier time with Thai and listening to the Thai staff. We are working with Little Guy on his basic educational skills like learning the Thai and English characters and basic words, as well as colors numbers and other beneficial life skills.

3) Tadpole, 3 years old, came to Hope Home when he was about 1 and a quarter years old. He has Down's syndrome and is one of the sweetest and outgoing kids you'll ever meet. His adorable smile and big hugs will get you every time. He has the most energy of all the children, always running around and getting into some sort of ruckus or mess (usually with Little Guy) but is a blast to be around. We work with Tadpole to improve social and mental skills in our education bit and throughout daily skills. We also try and improve his attention span keeping him focused and interacting with others for a longer period of time while staying focused.  We also are working with Tadpole to develop his vocabulary in English and Thai, learning colors, numbers and basic life skills.

4) Yannie, 7 years old, has a developmental delay, but she loves playing shakers and rattlers, coloring and making messes!! She has a contagious and boisterous laugh as well. At Hope Home, we work on Occupational therapy with Yannie. We do repetitive activities such as put certain items from one box to another in order to work on her focus on one activity at a time as well as her fine gross and motor skills.
We've also been trying to improve Yannie's health, so we do fun activities such as bending down, grabbing balls out of one basket and having to lift her body to put it into another basket, like basketball, but repetitive action of shooting the ball in the hoop!

5)  Will, 20 years old, has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. He is also recovering from stroke caused by shunt complications. Will struggles with communication. He is non-verbal, but can make some sounds and slightly points to things that he wants. We try to help involve him in activities and learn but at his own pace and capabilities. We also work on his motor skills and mobility with physiotherapy each day.

6) Clark, 12 years old, has cerebral palsy, but is probably one of the most able children I've ever seen with cerebral palsy. He is very intelligent and is able to use his limbs and noises as a clear way to communicate. We have also adapted ways for him to use his communication strengths (such as his legs and feet) to form a device which speaks when he presses the buttons. He know where each button is and what it says, so it is a good way for him to show his expressions without being able to verbally communicate them. We've also been working with Clark on his standing and arm mobility. These are both skills which will aid in helpful daily activities such as eating himself, or brushing his own teeth. Clark has a lot of potential, and from the three months I've been here, I've already seen many improvements. Keep it up Clark!

7) Yindee, 9 years old, has severe cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a chronic lung disease. Yindee has had a rough few weeks, however, maintained a smile the whole way through. There was a bug going around Hope Home and a few of the kids got sick with a cold and a fever. Unfortunately, Joy's immune system isn't strong enough to fight against the bug, and it quickly turned into pneumonia, and due to Joy's previous conditions, it affected her very badly and she had to be taken to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) in Chiang Mai. She ended up staying there for 15 days. She is doing a lot better now though!! She's back at Hope Home. Yindee is a very sweet, beautiful and a true pleasure to be around. She enjoys musical sounds and silly faces!  She has limited muscle control and struggles to sit/ stand or move on her own, in need of assistance in everything, however we are working on it with her! We work with Yindee to help her communication skills (she uses her eyes as a way to say what she wants), motor skills and muscle strength/ mobility with things like holding her head up while sitting.  Eventually Hope Home wants to have Yindee work with an electronic communication aid, but for now, we've made giant charts so we can see the movement in her eyes for communication and learning techniques.

8) Dontri, 5 years old, has cerebral palsy, multi-cystic encephalomalacia (scars on the brain), micro-cephaly (undersized brain), epilepsy, a heart defect, and is blind. Dontri is a sweet little boy with an adorable laugh and smile, but with very little ability to communicate. Dontri is very sensory oriented. He needs a lot of different types of stimuli but not all at once, which may be overwhelming for him. He likes textures, calm music, head being rubbed, being held and certain smells. We've been working on having him sit up when possible so he's not laying on his back all the time (so muscle development), as well as an educational system we developed specifically for him, which includes a brail alphabet in English and Thai. As of now, we can't really tell how much he has retained, but it's a start!

9) Namchock, 10 years old, has Down's syndrome and very poor vision and goes to a special education school during the day. I don't get to spend too much time with Choppy because he leaves for school before I get to Hope Home and comes back just before dinner, and I leave right after dinner. BUT... for the time that I do spend with him, he never fails to put a smile on my face. He has such a unique personality and is a sweetheart. As for what my other coworkers have told me, they work with Choppy on his attention span. He gets very distracted very quickly.

10) Andy- 13 months. Andy was born two months prematurely, however, doesn't express any characteristics of a disability. Because he is so young, it is difficult to tell. However, Andy is very sweet and is just now starting to babble. It is quite the task to get a smile out of him, but once you do, it's the cutes little grin with only two front teeth!  We work with Andy to improve basic motor, cognitive, physical and social skills, such a waving hello and goodbye, putting a spoon into his mouth by himself, drinking out of a cup, putting objects into a box, etc... he seems to be developing quite normally so far. (I have only been here three months, but babies grow fast!!)
He loves to try and walk, with our assistance, but soon he'll be able to do it by himself!

As the weeks dwindle down, I can't help but reflect on my time here thus far. From the classes I took at Chiang Mai University, to the friends I've made along the way and the impact the people have made on my life over the course of my three months here. People at Home Home, TEAN friends and every genuinely kind, random person I've met in Thailand. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity I've been given and have loved and cherished every moment of it.  I couldn't have asked for a better summer, I've learned a lot about myself, a better view on different disabilities and how to adapt to their abilities, Thai culture,  medicine, and the world around me. I'm now headed to travel for a bit but will stop by Hope Home before I head back to the states, for another goodbye!

Sah-wa-dee-ka for now!

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