Each semester, we get assigned such students. We have been involved in this program for two semesters and both times I have been impressed with the students we have met. I believe they learn a lot by physically being around a child with special needs as opposed to just learning about these kids in the classroom.
This semester, we have had a group of three girls meet our family. Faith loves meeting new people and she especially likes hanging out with "the girls" as she calls them.
|Faith doing Easter crafts with "the girls!"|
|Faith working closely with one of the nursing students|
Yesterday we had "the girls" come to our apartment where we did some Easter crafts in our lobby downstairs. Afterwards, we ventured into the cold and the wind to Wendy's where Faith ordered, but only took two bites of, a frosty.
I always try to think of things to do where they can really see Faith in action, how she tries to use her hands, how she travels from one place to the next, how she acts in different environments. I really want the students we are working with to get a grasp of the challenges and also the joys of having a special needs child. I believe this will help them in their futures when they work with such families.
Last semester we had an occupational therapy major and a social work major and we all went out to the Pumpkin Patch. One of the girls helped Faith ride a pony. They were able to lift her up and transfer her from her car seat to her chair. Like one of them said, you can learn about high muscle tone in class but won't actually know what it is until you feel it for yourself. I love that these students are getting such great hands-on experience and I believe the students enjoy their experience with "Families as Trainers" just as much as we do.
If you are a family with a special needs child and would like more information about the "Families as Trainers" program or if you would like to get involved, please contact: Mary Vearrier her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and her phone number is 425-1495.