by Derek Franklin
Parents of children with learning difficulties and special needs are not always educated about the condition their child is living with. Local culture can mean a child is isolated from society, often seen as a bearer of bad luck, and in many cases these young children are ridiculed by neighbours and unable to attend educational institutes.
The Father Ray Foundation has been taking care of abandoned, orphaned and neglected children and students with disabilities for almost 40 years. Recently the Foundation opened a center where children and teenagers with special needs can receive the support, education and the therapy they need to reach their full potential.
Thanks to members of the Worthing Steyne Rotary Club, the Father Ray Foundation now has a new sensory room.
The children most likely to benefit from the sensory room are those youngsters with cerebral palsy, autism and ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Children will spend time in the room with their parent, giving them a place to relax and develop their play and learning new skills through touch, sound and light.
Soft flooring, bean bags and colourful cushions make a soft and comfortable place for a child to relax. Once a child is feeling secure and calm they will be able to control the environment of the sensory room. Senses are stimulated or calmed with the effective use of lighting, sounds, different textures and visual effects, all of which are controlled by the user.
This new facility would not have been possible without the support of Worthing Steyne Rotary Club, in particular club member Pauline Fox, who visited the Foundation whilst her daughter was working as a volunteer English teacher.
As someone who has worked in the field of child welfare for more than 30 years, Pauline, who is currently chief executive officer of Worthing Scope in the UK, knows the importance and benefits that a child can gain by using a sensory room.
After witnessing the work being done with special needs children in Pattaya, and also seeing the lack of facilities and funds, she persuaded her fellow Rotary members to give their support to the children of Thailand. Funds were raised in Worthing and whilst on holiday in Pattaya Pauline oversaw the planning and construction of the new sensory room, as well as providing education for the workers and parents of the children.
At the opening ceremony on January 24, and on behalf of Worthing Steyne Rotary Club, Pauline accepted a certificate of thanks from Father Peter, president of the Father Ray Foundation.
The Father Ray Foundation is seeking volunteers trained in physiotherapy and willing to commit just a few hours each week to help these young children with special needs.
More information can be found at www.fr-ray.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org