Environments for children with special needs to flourish

A place where our children with special needs can develop and learn.
September 26, 2016 - Dominican Republic

The teacher Fiordaliza with her students at school

In a census made possible by the National Office of Statistics and UNICEF, over 80,000 girls, boys and adolescents have disabilities. This represents 11.8% of the total number of disabled population in the country, with a distribution by age; 3.6% are children under 10 years old and 8.2% are children and adolescents between 10-19 years old. In both cases, there is a difference between girls and boys in which more males are affected than females.

In our home we care for 29 children with special needs; there are fourteen with severe disabilities and fifteen with moderate disabilities. Our children present cognitive, motor, and combined disabilities which are stated in their diagnostics. These children have disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, cognitive delays, Rett syndrome and more.

NPH has a house built specifically for children with special needs, Casa San Marcos, where thirteen of the children with the most severe disabilities live.

We work to help our children with special needs develop and reach their cognitive potential. We help them achieve simple tasks which are valuable to them such as how to hold things by themselves and with their own hands. Others are receiving education so that they can be professionals in a technical job in their futures. The special needs class in the school consists of six children with varying needs. The class is under the extended schedule from 7:45am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.

The rest of the children with special needs either have a specific program in San Marcos consisting of special attention, therapies, and crafts or are distributed throughout different grades in the school.

The teacher and helper in the special needs classroom work each day to offer personal training to the kids. They say, “Working with children with completely unique needs is not easy, but we like the work we do and know that it is worth it.” The activities that the class takes part in are:

• Meaningful Learning: The focus is that each student learns sequences, which is taught by playing dominoes. Using fruits and clocks helps teach numbers and shapes. This part of class focuses on learning the days of the week, the months, the seasons, and the weather.

• Floor Activities: During this time, everyone sits on the floor to relax and do things such as listen to stories and play with blocks. This works on another aspect of shapes, letters, and colors.

• Artistic Education: This time is to encourage creativity using crafts, recycled materials, and paint. The class also sings and watches videos and movies. So much progress has been made from all of the students. A few achievements we would like to emphasize are:

Nidia* was unable to concentrate when she started in the special needs class. Now, she can identify the whole alphabet and can read posters.

Gastón* was a restless child who did not know his numbers. Now he can complete activities with his hands and can count to 20 without problems. He continues to learn each day!

Next school year, the teacher Fiordaliza has plans to have a tournament and workshops in her special needs class.

*Names are changed to protect the privacy.

Daniela Candelario   
Communication Officer




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