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Special Assistance for a Special Young Man
Posted By Cecilia Yepez On May 16, 2013 @ 12:51 am In Country Staff | 1 Comment
Roberto was born with Down’s syndrome. He currently attends the El Triángulo Foundation Monday through Friday where he is learning different skills in order to prepare for a job placement. The Ecuadorian Law of Disabilities provides people with disabilities help to access a job.
In order to improve his social skills, Roberto participates in theater workshops. He also enjoys baking, an activity in which he has shown talent and which could someday become his future profession.
When he was 6 years old, Roberto became involved in our program where he was welcomed, taken care of and respected. Although her little one was safe at the child development center, Roberto’s mother, Victoria thought she should be closer to take care of him, so she volunteered with the local Compassion program.
The other children embraced him without hesitation, but it was evident that Roberto required skilled assistance. Alba, the child development center director at the time, recommended that Roberto’s family take him to the El Triángulo Foundation.
Victoria refused to do so because she thought it was risky for a child with disabilities to go to an unknown place without his mother’s support. Then a tragic event occurred that changed the life of Roberto and his family. Victoria died due to kidney failure and Roberto, his sister, Karen, and his father, Ramón, were devastated.
Karen recalls with tears in her eyes,
“I got too depressed and I ignored everything. After two or three weeks of this sad event, Roberto began to ask for his mother and burst into tears. He cried every night calling out for his mother, and my dad and I had to comfort him.”
The entire family had to reorganize themselves. Ramón asked permission to work at home and assist his two children. But in the course of time, he realized that the task of caring for a young man with disabilities was complicated, so he asked for our help.
“I was forced to seek a place that could help Roberto and the El Triángulo Foundation, suggested by Compassion, was the best place. I believe this was the right decision for my son.”
Ramón made all the required arrangements so that Roberto could attend El Triángulo. We supported him the first year with the total payment of the tuition. The following school year, Ramón was able to bear part of the expenses and we supported him with the rest.
Roberto continues attending the child development center on Fridays and gets medical checkups, food and the glasses he needs.
His adjustment to attending the Foundation has been hard though. Johana, one of his teachers tells us,
“At the beginning he was a very negative person and did not want to be part of the group. He ignored instructions; his attention was scattered. His adjustment was hard and communication was his biggest problem.”
El Triángulo has helped Roberto a lot, and currently he shows good potential to develop emotionally, socially and at work. Johana continues,
“He is now adjusted and stable; he cooperates and participates in activities. He has improved a lot. If I place him in a certain work area, he cooperates. Maybe he doesn’t do it perfectly, but he does it. His emotional skills have also improved. I hope he keeps moving forward, I have high expectations for him.”
With respect to his verbal communication, which is Roberto’s main problem, Johana is convinced that the young man can learn to interact by other means: cards, gestures or images. These tools will enable him to achieve more effective communication with people around him.
Ramón feels happy about the visible progress his son has made and is grateful for the special opportunity with the El Triángulo Foundation. He is confident because he knows that his son now has more possibilities to develop and move forward in life than he has ever had before.
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