We are so grateful to be learning so much about how to help the twelve special needs boys at Senderos de Amor. To be honest, I had to step out of their room on my first visit. The smell was reminiscent of a nursing home and the sight of the teenage boys in grown-up size baby cribs was just a bit too much for me to process. There were several things that I saw that didn't make sense and concerned me, however, after multiple trips and conversations with staff, I was able to understand more.
On our second trip to Senderos, I met a medical team that had evaluated these boys just a year prior at a public children's home. They were astounded at the progress that they had made. These young men are basically unknown; they have no birth certificates, no known family, no history whatsoever.
On our 5th and 6th trip to Senderos, we were able to talk to Kim Stevenson, an occupational therapist from Texas. After seeing the dire need there, Kim extended her stay to prepare daily routines and to train staff. Kim said, "Although each boy has their own individual needs, they are all in a sensory deprived environment and have been for most or all their lives. When a child is not given the sensory input they need, he will begin to seek out the sensory input needed. If the sensory input is not available, he will use abnormal sensory seeking behaviors to get the input needed. Many times these sensory seeking behaviors appear to be acting out behaviors."
Kim has provided a list of items that are needed for their room as well as their therapy room. Go to my Pinterest board to see these items.
The oldest resident, Cristian, is approximately 24-years old. He lies either flat of his back or curled-up on the bed. He cannot swallow his food unless he is lying flat of his back. He occasionally opens his eyes, but usually looks like he is in pain.
Click here for footage of Adán. He doesn't have a birth certificate nor family. All that we know about him for sure is that he has Down's Syndrome. Adán constantly bites himself and makes multiple repetitive motions.
The three boys in this video are Alex (left), Juvencio (with the whistle), and Valentin. Note their repetitive motions and sounds. It is so hard to understand why the boys are like this.
The boy with the ball is Geovanny. He puts everything in his mouth and tries to eat it. When he is super frustrated, he pulls his diaper into little pieces and eats it. The nurses have to put his pants on backward and tie the waist with a rope to keep him from pulling his pants off.
All of the behavior you saw in the videos and pics are examples of abnormal sensory seeking behaviors.
Daily therapy is needed for all of the boys as well as structured time both in their living quarters as well as their therapy room. Kim is working on developing this schedule as well as training staff and volunteers to work with these boys.
Many items will be needed for the therapy room. We have already purchased a flat screen tv and wall mount for their space. A dvd player is en route. See our Pinterest board for more ideas.