Indoor play area – where kids will romp and laugh

Pangga ta Ikaw is excited  to share with you all  that we are in the process of building an indoor play area for the special kids at the Romblon East Central School in Romblon, Philippines.

Enhancement of  motor and social skills

Aside from nurturing the mental development of special kids in the Special Education ( SPED) program it is also important that they develop wholly as individuals, such that their mentors and caregivers need to consider their psychological needs as well as advancing their social and motor skills.

Most of the kids who start school are either shy or just not used to being with other kids, thus they are anti-social or not able to interact well with other kids or even the teachers.

Of course interaction with others is also limited due to poor communication skills. They cannot develop strong friendships with other kids in the neighborhood because they cannot express themselves well.

Growing up, their parents must have focused more on their developmental milestones, like teaching them how to walk on their own or encouraging them to learn to talk, or assisting in their eating skills, but developing social skills might have been put in the background.

Do kids with special needs know how to play?

When we see children with special needs, we might even ask ourselves. Are they able to play with other kids? Are they able to follow instructions on how to go about a certain play?

Of course, just like normal kids, they know how to enjoy ; they even giggle and laugh at the simplest things like blowing bubbles or doing peek-a-boo or catching a butterfly.

Free play would let them become adventurous and creative, as well as develop their motor skills like walking, balancing and running.

I’m happy that the SPED teachers at the Romblon East Central School ( where our project is ) are so passionate in teaching their wards on how to write their names and read the ABCs and they thought of their holistic development by planning to provide them with a mini-therapy area exclusively for them.

Planning for the project

Before we started, we only had a very small amount of money from some small fundraisings for our transportation project like selling pantry products and holding small parties at home for families and friends.

This plan of putting up a mini-therapy area for our kids with special needs is a project which is something big, quite scary at first because we didn’t have enough money , so when the teachers presented their need to me, I brainstormed right away on how to raise funds.

After building the area, we plan to put up  play therapy equipments, like

A mini-trampoline that will enhance the kids’ motor skills and develop confidence and coordination.

and structures like

Sandboxes, where kids can become creative and gross and fine motor skills will be developed, as well as tactile ability, and eye-hand coordination.

and

The sensory path that will develop gross motor skills, balance and body coordination .

thus, we look forward to hours of laughter and giggles for the kids.  Aside from enjoyment, they will also enhance their exercise capabilities and improve their social skills as they learn to play with other kids.

Setting up the Go fund me page and starting the project

Check out our fundraising page-go fund me

We started with a $2000.00 goal in October 2017 and thanks to some generous donors we were able to start the project two months after.

Pangga ta Ikaw is proud to say that we have started to construct an indoor play area at the back of their resource room in December 2017.

Hauling the materials to the site
Preparation of the flooring soon began.

 

 

The stairs were built to enhance the kids’ motor abilities, balance and coordination.

 

Counting while going up and down the stairs will add to their basic math skills.

 

The future sensory area is in place.

Since  the flooring  is done,  building the  roof is next in line and more money will be involved here.

So we raised our goal to $ 5000.00.

We are just close  to the $2000.00 goal this time but I believe that we will reach our ultimate target.

Please visit the Go fund me page and consider helping. We would greatly appreciate your support.

We are slowly getting close to our dream

From a vacant lot

The SPED teachers envisioned an indoor play area for the special kids in this vacant space

to something concrete to stand on, we hope to continue and finish the project .

It was a very fulfilling visit to my hometown and to our ongoing project.

Who knows, it could take a few months to a few years.

But definitely, we will finish what we have started.

And we need your help!

We did a local fundraising in Romblon

My family went to spend the holidays in Romblon, Philippines  in December 2017. Before going, I already planned for something that the community can participate in with the objective of creating awareness of the mini-therapy area project and inspiring the parents and the whole community to support.

The BINGO SOCIAL  done on January 12, 2018  was a great success ! There were screams of joy and laughter as the games progressed. There was outpouring of support from the whole community as well.

We witnessed the willingness to help of a lot of people and we learned that if everyone chips in , something big can be achieved.

Parents, teachers and donors had a great time hoping not only to win but to give support as well.
Games with numbers and stones was a hit to help build the mini-therapy area.

 

In this event, we even enjoyed the participation of the special kids in the program presented before the games and it was a joy seeing them showcase their talents in singing and dancing.

The special kids sang and danced before the games even began to the delight of everyone.

What’s next?

Now that the flooring is done, with some structures underway, such as the staircase and the sensory path, we will continue with the roof in the next few months.

As of today, we don’t have enough money to finish, but we believe that there are a lot of generous donors out there.

We will definitely continue what we have started to offer our special kids an area where they can be free to romp and laugh. And thus, they will develop confidence to walk and run and chase their dreams.

Help us make this vision a reality.

Kindly share your blessings to our special kids in Romblon, Philippines.

Visit our Go fund me donation page  and consider helping. We and the special kids would  be forever grateful for your support.

 

Do you agree that special kids need an indoor play area to develop their motor and social skills?  We would love  to hear your comments and suggestions, please post below.

 

We have an advertising relationship with the stores or affiliate sites we link in this post. We get a commission when you click and buy products or services with them. Your fees are not affected at all and you are able to help the special children in Romblon, Phillipines . 

 

I learned how to put up this website from Wealthy Affiliate. Click the image below if you want to start yours, too. You could even monetize it and earn later. 

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Down Syndrome- Signs and Life Expectancy

When I got pregnant at the age of 43, my greatest fear was having a baby with Down syndrome.

First, because I was an old first- time mom ; second, I had a sister with Down syndrome and lastly, my husband had a brother who was also Downs but died at a young age.

So, when I had my first pelvic ultrasound at around four months, I could not contain my excitement ( coupled with fear ) and asked the doctor ( sonologist ), ” Are you able to see signs in there that my baby will be Downs or not? ”

To my relief, he said, ” Yes, we do usually see a sign, and there is nothing in here. ”

I could have hugged him then and there with the good news.

At around 6-7 months of pregnancy, I had another ultrasound and aside from asking about the gender of my baby, I asked again  the doctor ( my obstetrician ) about the possibility of my precious one having a defect or syndrome.

And of course, when I finally had my son, I looked at him and seeing that he looked normal, I could not believe that this beautiful human being just came out of my body.

He is already a pre-teen now and in middle school. But he will always be ” my baby.”

New moms out there truly understand how it feels looking at and holding your baby for the first time.

Having a baby gives you the greatest feeling on earth!

 

Even if your baby has some “odd” features, like an upward slanted eye, you will surely feel in your heart that your baby is God-sent and your little angel has finally arrived!

But at the back of your mind, you will have those doubts, ” If my baby has Down syndrome, what are the other signs and about his life expectancy, ” How long will he live? “

What are the signs that your baby has Down syndrome?

These are crucial questions especially for first time moms.

And would also include a mom who before birth knows that her baby would be having Down syndrome or another mom who has no knowledge but looking at her baby for the first time sees something odd about his appearance, or some moms who are not at all aware but the doctor tells them later that their baby has Down syndrome.

I believe they would feel that their world is spinning or the other way around, they would gladly accept that this baby is God-sent and whatever he is, they will take care of him and nurture him no matter what.

Here are the most common signs that you may or may not notice right away at birth:

1. Up Slanted Eyes ( Almond shaped eyes )

The outer corner of the eye will be turned up rather than down. The shape is also very similar to that of someone of Asian descent. 

This is usually the most noticeable physical feature of Down syndrome as your child grows up.

Look at the upward slanting of  Nathan’s eyes, isn’t he cute!

2. Flattened Facial  Profile

Because of poor tone in the facial muscles, Down syndrome babies  will not have  much curve from the nose, cheeks or mouth.

Their cheeks seem to hang on the face as well. This is noted  when you look at the baby from the front wherein there is also not much shape to the cheeks.

3. Protuberant Tongue

This is also very typical for babies with Down syndrome. New parents and families  often ask “Why does my baby stick his  tongue out?”

This is either because of a small mouth, large tongue, or simply poor tone.

Mark is Nathan’s cousin ; the genes definitely run in our family.

4.  Single Palmar Crease ( Simian Crease )

This single  crease across the palm of the hand is seen in 45% of children with Down syndrome and  is a result of hypotonia as the hand was not held in a tight fist while he was growing in the mother’s womb.

That means 55% of kids with Down Syndrome  do not have this, but if they have, it’s quite typical.

Don’t get confused though, because some normal kids can also have  a single palmar crease.

A straight line goes from one side to the other side of the palm.

5. Decreased or Poor Muscle Tone

Nathan can easily sit down with legs wide open.
Look! Mark can fold his legs very cozily like a gymnast.

A baby with Down syndrome always  feels floppy or limp.

When you hold him, it feels like he is  going to slip through your hands or arms and if you lay him across your hand, he will look like a wet noodle.

Growing up, they are so huggable because of this.

This is also the reason why they may develop motor skills later than normal kids, thus, usually learn to turn over, sit up, or walk much later than usual.  Their limbs become so flexible as they grow up.

Pangga, my sister, had all those physical signs above, plus she had short stature    ( also typical ) as well.

What was very amusing as she was growing up was that she could  pull her legs up to her face very easily even  when she was sitting down.

Growth and development- how delayed will they be compared to normal kids?

Parents of babies  with Down syndrome need to understand and accept that their angels will develop later than normal kids.

They will definitely learn how to stand, walk and run but not as fast compared to other kids their age.

Different kids develop at their own pace though, so one kid might walk at 2-3 years old, while others walk at around 3-4 already.

Usually, they  can walk on their own between 16 and 42 months with the average being 24 months.

Cognitive learning skills likewise , as well as  thinking,  develop late and impairment  ranges from mild to moderate.

Other common cognitive and behavioural problems may include:

  • Short attention span
  • Poor judgment
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Slow learning
  • Delayed language and speech development

Again, Pangga learned how to talk and communicate but of course, was not able to sustain good conversations.

Unluckily, she did not have any interventions like therapies because she  grew up in a small town where these were not available.

But she learned how to sing ( She had a beautiful voice ! ) just by listening over the radio and watching television or just hearing songs from other peopl

We used to live in a house just a few steps away from a church and even if she did not attend mass regularly, she learned to sing the mass hymns just by overhearing people sing them during Sunday masses.

And boy, Pangga loved to sing that even in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep except her, she would sing at the top of her voice.

When she sang and we would appreciate and clap our hands after her rendition, she would always giggle and have that captivating smile.

What a joy to behold in our family!

Congenital defects-will they have other illnesses at birth?

1. Heart defects– Almost 50% of these kids have congenital heart disease which     can lead to high blood pressure in the lungs, thus the heart is unable to  effectively and efficiently pump blood, and cyanosis (blue-tinted skin caused by reduced oxygen in the blood) develops.

If severe, this could be a cause of death at an early age.

2. Vision problemsMore than 60% of children with Down syndrome have vision problems, including cataracts (clouding of the eye lens) that may be present at birth.

Other eye problems that could occur at birth include near-sightedness, “crossed” eyes, and rapid, involuntary eye movements.

Pangga had near-sightedness and rapid, involuntary eye movements, the latter was the reason why one of her young nieces  was scared of her and did not want to come close to her aunt.

They need to be seen by an eye doctor as soon as possible to prescribe either glasses or surgery.

3. Hearing loss –  About 70% to 75% of children with Down  syndrome have some hearing loss, sometimes because of   structural defect in their ears.

They need to be screened at birth and have regular follow-up hearing exams.

Later in life, or as these children grow up, some other health concerns may come up, such as infection, epilepsy ( seizure disorder ), usually developing for the first two years of life, gum disease and dental problems, disrupted sleep patterns and sleep disorders ( even obstructive sleep apnea ).

Life expectancy- do they live until adulthood?

Definitely they could live until adulthood.

My sister, Pangga, lived until 46 years old.  But because she reached only a mental age of around 5-6 years old, she was always considered the youngest in our family, even though she had four younger siblings.

Pangga always had her favorite toys with her

Mr Joe Sanderson  from Cleveland, who was born in 1936, and is believed to be the oldest person with Down Syndrome, just turned 80 recently.

Another guy, Kenny Cridge, from Britain turned  77 last month.

Mr Sanderson recently celebrated his 80th birthday

The life span of Down syndrome children, however, depends if they have concomitant illnesses, like congenital heart disease and other factors, like development of infections and other health concerns as they grow up.

If properly trained  and supported, some people with Down syndrome can live
independently in a home or in an assisted independent arrangement, and a few even develop romantic relationships and even get married.

Many people with Down syndrome are also able to work or  volunteer, thus, able to contribute to the progress of their communities where they live.

In big countries like Canada, the government usually supports people with special needs starting when they are newborns, and even provide assistance for them later so they are able to live independently and have profitable income.

A great blessing

A family who is blessed with a child or children with special needs like Down syndrome, maybe overwhelmed at first, but with full support within the family and the community as a whole especially the government, these kids can grow up and become productive citizens .

You may have learned of a couple from Australia who abandoned their baby with Down syndrome ( named Gammy ) and just got the normal baby ( they are twins ) born to a surrogate mother from Taiwan in 2013.

Gammy, born with a heart condition, is now 4 years old and lives with his surrogate mother in Bangkok. The family he is now with may not be related to him by blood, but they feel so blessed to have him in their midst.

Truly, kids with special needs bring an immeasurable joy to everyone in the family and there may be lots of challenges raising them, but in the end the happiness that they bring in the household surpasses all these.

 

Do you have a child with Down syndrome? How does your child bring joy to your family? Please share your stories with us.

 

 

 

 

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About US

THE BEGINNINGS

Welcome to my site, Pangga ta Ikaw, dedicated to help kids with special needs to develop their fullest potential.

We started this endeavor in 2015 to commemorate the first death anniversary of Roxannie, fondly called ” Pangga ” by family and friends.

Pangga is my sister with Down syndrome who died at the age of 46.

Pangga in the local dialect means LOVE, and Pangga ta ikaw means ” I love you, ” which I thought is a  very  appropriate  name for our group.

Children with special needs are angels in our midst and need our love and support.
The launching of “Pangga ta Ikaw “…….0n a beautiful sunny Sunday, 10 families gathered together to make the passing away of a loved one more meaningful. They shared food, stories, and their generous hearts to support special kids. — at Crescentview Park Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 28, 2015.

OUR FAMILY IS SPECIAL

My name is Marita, a practicing Pediatrician in the Philippines before I moved to Canada in 2008. I now work as a Clinical Research Assistant in a large university.

I  always have a soft spot for special kids not only because of Pangga, but I also have another special brother, 2 nephews who have  Down  syndrome and another special niece.

They all bring joy to our families and we truly love them and consider them GOD’s gifts to us.

When Pangga died, our family was at a great loss, she was the first ever to pass away in our family of 12.

It was doubly hard for me, because I was not able to go back home for her funeral. I terribly miss her up to this day.

Our family decided to donate to the Special Education program of special kids in our town, part of the money that family and friends shared  for her burial expenses.

That started my desire to continue the legacy of providing love and support to kids with special needs in our town back home.

OUR PROJECTS

For the last two years ( 2015 to 2017 ), we have helped indigent kids in the Special Education program of the Romblon East Central School in Romblon, Philippines with their transportation expenses to and from school.

Most of these kids have to be accompanied by parents who barely could meet their family’s needs and lots of them live in far-flung barangays, some even cross the sea to attend school.

From October 2017, we have leveled up with our assistance by starting to build a minitherapy area aimed at developing the kids’ social, motor and sensory skills.

This website hopes to promote awareness that kids with special needs are part of our society and they are just like us, who need love and acceptance.

Their parents and families for sure truly care for  them but the whole community has a role of providing support for them to develop the best that they can be.

I would love to hear your comments and insights on my website and if you could help financially for our projects, it would be much appreciated.

If you click this link, it will direct you to our Go fund Me page for our present project, the mini-therapy area.

We thank you so much for your generosity, which will go a long way in supporting our special kids.

If you have questions about our project and how you can help or anything about the articles in this website, please post your comments below/ after the post or email me at admin@panggataikaw.com.

God bless,

Marita

panggataikaw.com

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