Meet the children
Phillip is a 16 year old Afrikaans boy who is diagnosed with progressive cerebellar atrophy, ataxia and hypotonia. He was admitted to Elvira Rota Village in October 2015. Prior to that he lived with his family, so moving into residential care was quite an adjustment for him.
Although he understands much of what is said to him, Phillip struggles to express himself through the spoken language. He tends to slur his words and struggles to make himself understood. As a result, he lacked the confidence to join in the singing during the weekly music therapy sessions, although he enjoyed clapping his hands and moving his head to the rhythm.
Our music therapist, who is Afrikaans speaking, spent extra time with him and wrote an Afrikaans song with a repetitive refrain to encourage him to join in and to make him feel more at home.
At last year’s concert, Phillip sang Jingle Bells. He received enthusiastic applause for his efforts from the audience, which has inspired him and given him greater confidence in his abilities.
Sindi is 14 years old. She was admitted to Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home when she was 7 years old, as her mother was unable to provide adequate care for Sindi while she was at work.
Sindi has severe intellectual disability due to complications at birth. Despite her multiple disabilities, she is a very engaging child who is motivated and eager to learn. She may take longer to process motor responses, but she continues to focus intently on the goal or activity being encouraged.
Although she cannot speak, Sindi is eager to develop her communication skills and she understands much of what is being said to her. She always tries so hard and puts in a great deal of effort. She has a gentle and lovely nature, and is most often seen smiling at her friends in the wing.
Johan was born as a healthy, normal little boy. But shortly after his birth he contracted Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system. Muscles can deteriorate to such an extent that the patient becomes paralyzed, and may even be unable to breathe.
Although many people make a complete recovery, Johan was permanently affected – he has profound intellectual and physical disabilities.
Owing to the intensive round the clock care Johan needs, his loving family were unable to cope on their own, and Johan was admitted to LITTLE EDEN in 2000 when he was 2 years old.
He is confined to a wheelchair, which he is not able to move himself. He also wears a nappy and is completely dependent on his care givers. Despite his disabilities, Johan is a contented boy who likes to share his joy with those around him.
It has been eight years since these three brothers were brought to LITTLE EDEN. They all have profound intellectual disability caused by a suspected genetic disorder.
At the time Tshepo (now 16 years) was walking but could not feed himself and had no verbal communication, Pule (now 9 years old) could not walk or talk and Gontshe (now 8 years old) was very low functioning.
Tshepo is now able to express himself verbally and has learnt to make use of his hands for most activities. Pule can walk and talk beautifully. Both Tshepo and Pule now live at Elvira Rota Village where they have the opportunity to experience and participate in various farm activities.
The youngest brother Gontshe’s development has been slower, but he is also showing signs of improved skills. He can now say his own name, can roll over when placed on the floor and tries to put together a puzzle, provided the pieces are large.