JoAnn attended the PTA program at Indian River Community College, FL and did a 2-month internship at Fellsmere Elementary, where she worked with Juan. JoAnn graduated with her AS degree on May 7, 2006, and has an interest in pediatrics.
I walk into the classroom and I do not see children running around or frantically raising their hands asking questions out loud all at once. There are no little terrors running around like Tasmanian Devils at the back of the room. All I see are a room full of little angels just trying to hold their heads up straight. On a good day Juan can hold his head up straight for only a few seconds, with support. He is a four–year-old child and assessments indicate his abilities to be in the two- to four-month-old range. He may be one of many children with significant developmental delays but he is "One in a million" to me.
The children in Juan's room are learning reading, writing, and arithmetic through play strategies. They are engaged in music and songs describing body parts and describing shapes, manipulatives, or fine motor and sensory play. Juan is learning to repeat behaviors by using his body for modified sign language in which he uses his hands to demonstrate that he wants more. Juan says good-bye by putting his hands up to his lips and blowing you a kiss.
Upon initial evaluation and assessment of Juan's abilities his doctor stated that, "Many of the items in the visual reception area were impossible for Juan to do at this time due to his severe motor impairment."
But we have many great tools with new current therapies and products so that Juan has the opportunity to beat the odds of a seemingly hopeless existence. The Rifton High Back Mobile Chair now gives Juan the opportunity to see things and engage in reciprocal play. His Prone Stander allows him to bear weight, giving his bones strength. The tray on this product allows him to participate in classroom activities such as painting and drawing while standing.
Outside of the classroom, when it comes to recess, Juan can now also engage in "Play Time." His Pacer Gait Trainer gives him the freedom to run and play with his classmates. He can play catch, and even attempt to kick the ball with his buddies.
When Juan’s doctor examined him using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning, his scores indicated that he has developmental delays in all areas. However, she also stated that there were other indicators of a higher potential for him than would be suggested by his current scores on the Mullen. Because these Rifton products allow Juan to interact and engage in so many more activities, I believe that Juan may very well reach that higher potential. The use of these Rifton products is promoting the strength of Juan's neck and upper trunk muscles, as well as his stabilization and endurance.