A group of nurses and faculty from Marymount University volunteered at Project Limón in Nicaragua for ten days at the beginning of August. They lent their nursing expertise and were able to get hands on experience with new skills learned at the Los Pipitos Developmental Group. Below is their entry from their blog, #NicaNurses2015.
Tuesday morning we had the chance to work with a group of children called “Los Pipitos.” Those “Niños” have different forms of conditions that result in developmental problems, such as Cerebral Palsy and Down’s Syndrome, and are in need of either physical therapy or occupational therapy. During our experience with that group, we did developmental assessments, physical therapy exercises, speech therapy, and fun activities that help with their issues; such as hopscotch, coloring, puzzles. Working with those kids gave us the opportunity to help them, as well as learn how to work with a variety of complications and improve our assessment skills. Speaking for the group, this was a touching and emotional experience for all of us, as the conditions of the kids had either been worsening or staying consistent over time according to their previous assessment charts.
Elian is a child with Down Syndrome who attends Los Pipitos. One of the facilitators told me that at the beginning of the program, Elian had barely any education, but he has made great strides in the few months he has been attending the center. Thanks to his time at Los Pipitos, Elian can now count up to 15, identify some colors, write some letters, and it is apparent that he loves coming to the clinic and learning. During out time together, we read books and played hopscotch number games, which he loved. Every time he got an answer right, he would beam with pride. As we worked on coloring, Elian showed me the picture he had painted all by himself. When I asked him who it was, he pointed excitedly to his Mickey Mouse backpack, and exclaimed, “Mickey!”. During our adventures coloring, he concentrated carefully as he succeeded in staying in the lines and choosing the colors he felt were appropriate. It was heartwarming to see the love of learning that he exuded throughout our lesson. The smile and wave he gave us as we dropped him off at home dispelled any doubts we may have had before working with Los Pipitos. This is a program worth working with, especially in a country where handicapped children are so underserved by the public sector.