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ECD Team - Conference Day

Journal 5 - Thursday

The joy of learning was all around us today!! Today the ECD Team worked with Hospital Valle de Sula and the Pediatric Association of San Pedro Sula to provide a conference on FOB’s Early Child Development Program at the Hotel Copantl in San Pedro Sula for the pediatricians and other guests. The day started out with the anticipation of sharing our love for how the body of a child develops with such precision. What we also learned was how our own neurological system can so easily be shifted from a regulated state to that of sheer panic when Plan A doesn't work out.

Technology can be our friend, as well as something we want to curse. We want to thank our families as well as our team members for working so hard to make our presentations appear so seamless. Though many worked so hard to produce the presentations, technology was a challenge on this day. In the end, it appeared to our audience that we did not have a care in the world, only lots of love that we wanted to share with those that have the same passion we have for our universal children.

Dr. Velez started out the presentations with sharing how poverty can impact the entire growth of a child’s neurological system. He also spoke of how this translates into an economic issue on a more global level. Kristie Zupancic, DPT, followed that conversation with a thought provoking discussion regarding the normal progression of gross motor development that the infant takes during the first 12 month of his/her life.

Fatima Lang, OTR-L, followed that with and explanation of fine motor development and sensory regulation. If a body is unable to filter what is being thrown at them, his or her development will be challenged to learn in a well-regulated way. Kathy Anderson, OTR-L, helped us realize how hard it is to actually eat a meal, allowing us to understand the perspective of a child with developmental delays! We were all very thankful that our systems were intact, as we all needed a sour candy break at that point in the day!

Last but not least, we had the pleasure of enjoying a much needed laugh with Irene Jarett, M.A., CCC-SLP. She shared that speech and language development is so much more than stringing a bunch of words together. We need a reason to communicate. We are social beings even as young as 2 months of age. Autism was a hot topic as many participants wanted to know what causes this elusive disorder.

We would like to thank the rest of the team who helped contribute to our day. Peter van der Heide is a wiz at the computer, Ruby Gomez-Martinez, Lily Johnson, and Christina Vargas-Sanchez who made sure that we had lovely candy to keep us awake, Kelsey Stewart who was the best “baby” (for demonstration purposes) ever and Julie Wong who was the mother hen!

We had over 100 participants attend this conference from a wide range of backgrounds. Not only did we have teachers, pediatricians, parents, therapists, medical students and nurses, but the press as well who wanted to share our message with all of those individuals who can make a difference. Now is the time to ensure that all children can expect a better life! We had several sponsors who helped with the success of the day. They included: Hospital de Valle, Glaxo Smith-Klein, Mead Johnson, Nestle, CDC labs, and Bussie Pharmaceuticals.

The immediate feedback from the participants of the conference was “we want more!“ They were thirsty for learning what they could do to improve the lives of the children that are in their communities. I have heard this saying many times: “Together we are better!” We all believe that we can make a difference in each and every child we come across. The love for children is a universal sensation that this team has, hands down!

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