How We're Helping Children with Disabilities in Grenada
The room looked like a kid’s dream come true. A few tables were topped with multi-colored beads, fluffy pom pom balls, and containers of glitter. Another table had fresh crayons and stacks of coloring book pages ready to be filled in. And in the back, carefully pre-packaged bags of gummies and candies filled the air with excitement.
For the very first Sensory Day held in the middle of a pandemic, it was a huge success.
A young girl fills a water bottle with glitter, colored beads, and more during Sensory Day.
Sensory activities like playing with multi-textured toys, coloring in pictures, and organizing and tasting different treats help children with developmental disabilities improve communication and motor skills in a fun and exciting way.
Six children were able to attend the first Sensory Day at the end of 2020. And Keisha, our Grenada Program Coordinator, hopes to host events like this more frequently to reach children and their caregivers on the island of Grenada. But Sensory Day isn’t the only way that Keisha is working to expand the work of the program.
“We did the walk to show the community that special needs individuals are created and loved by God, they are citizens of Grenada and should be treated with love and respect.”
Keisha coordinated the very first Special Needs Awareness Walk in October, and a gift exchange for students with developmental disabilities near Christmas. And she trained a group of volunteers to lead parent and teacher support groups on the island.
The Special Needs Awareness Walk allowed parents and caregivers of children with learning disabilities to share their message and educate island residents about the needs of their children. As Keisha told us, “We did the walk to show the community that special needs individuals are created and loved by God, that they are citizens of Grenada and should be treated with love and respect.”
The Christmas gift exchange brought together children from Grace Lutheran and children from St. Andrew’s School for Special Education. Students from Grace Lutheran presented students from St. Andrews with a special gift to celebrate the Christmas season.
Finally, support groups help parents and teachers of children with developmental disabilities learn how to better care for and communicate with their child(ren) and students. During the lockdowns due to COVID-19, meetings were able to move online and continue offering support during an especially challenging time for both parents and teachers.
Volunteers and program participants gather for the very first Special Needs Awareness Walks.
We are so thankful for the hard work and commitment that Keisha Phillip has shown throughout the past year. And we are equally delighted to celebrate her achievement of recently becoming a Level 3 HANDLE Certified Screener.
Right now there are few resources available for parents, caregivers, and teachers of children with developmental disabilities on the island. This new certification enables Keisha to provide caregivers with an in-depth assessment of their child(ren) with developmental disabilities. As the program grows and attracts new families and individuals, this certification will allow Keisha to better serve and meet the needs of program participants.
Keisha, pictured on the far right, received her Level 3 HANDLE certification.