MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic comes another crisis that’s pushing parents of kids with special needs to the breaking point, but specialized programs are helping families cope in these trying times.
Mothers like Yesinia Molina face daily challenges, but hers are far greater because each one of her four children has special needs.
“It’s really difficult. There’s good days, there’s bad days, there are days that are very hard and then there are days that are OK,” she said through tears.
Just before COVID-19 struck, Molina found KidSpace in Miami Lakes, a place to help ease some of that burden on both her and her children.
The focus is on making the learning experience fun.
“Everything through play is definitely the way children learn best,” said Paula Gonzalez, who is the director of the center.
Therapists work with children in a range of age levels.
“My youngest child, I think, is 1 1/2 and my oldest is 14, and they all have different needs. Even though they may have the same goal, they have different activity levels, so it’s hit or miss, so what works with one is not going to work with another,” Gabby Pedrido said.
Pedrido and her colleagues work directly with the kids’ schools to close the loop between their general education and their special needs.
“Even with a typical developing child they have a lot of questions, and these children have a lot of questions but they don’t know how to formulate those questions to ask you, and even if they are and you give them an answer, sometimes they’re not able to understand that either,” Pedrido said.
Molina is just grateful for the support and the improvement she’s seen in her children’s skills and abilities.
“They’ve progressed a lot with their speaking, with their motor skills, everything,” she said.
Data shows that one out of five households in the U.S. includes at least one child with special needs.