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2022 July Heartbeat

water play for child with invisible disability

From the Heart

Summertime! Hot days and nights. How do you get relief from the heat? Shade from a leafy tree, cool drinks, fans, air conditioning, or water play? The kids and adults alike at Shepherd’s Field loved playing with water – tiny wading pools and water fights. The brief respite was energizing and encouraging. We all need a little break sometimes.

But people with disabilities do not always get a respite. July is disability awareness month. A disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. Are you aware of those around you with disabilities?

Invisible Disabilities

Some disabilities are obvious – like limb differences and cerebral palsy. But others are nearly invisible, like hearing loss, impaired vision, autism, and seizures. Your donations to The Philip Hayden Foundation have provided hope for kids with invisible disabilities in China and will soon offer the same respite and hope to kids in Mexico.

graham wearing external hearing device on headband while working on wood puzzle

Graham has profound hearing loss. He lived in a silent world, unable to make his needs and wants to be known. His hearing loss impacted his verbal skills; how can you learn to speak if you cannot hear? Your donations provided an external hearing device and therapy to connect Graham with his world.

JiaYi has poor vision and struggles in school. Her impaired vision makes every task challenging, but her family could not afford medicine and therapy to improve her daily life. Your donations to PHF provided medication and treatment for JiaYi, and now she has hope for the future.

Autism, an invisible disability

Autism affects many children, and researchers are still unsure why the number of children affected by the disorder is rapidly growing worldwide. A spectrum disorder with varying severity, autism symptoms range from mild to debilitating. Learning is different for kids with autism but not impossible. Your donations fund teachers in a Montessori classroom in rural China, which changes the lives of kids with autism and other learning disabilities.

profile of Annie as she happily anticipates her future

And finally, seizure disorders are invisible disabilities. Here in the United States, seizures are often diagnosed and treated with medication. An episode can range from a mild absence seizure to a grand mal seizure. Seizure disorders affect learning and memory, and sometimes the side effects of the medications can be debilitating as well. Annie has a seizure disorder, and your donations provided her with medical treatment and vocational training. Annie is now living independently, thanks to you.

Philip Hayden Foundation continues to be committed to making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children, particularly those with disabilities. With your help, PHF will continue to improve the lives of children for the next 25 years.

Splashing the Heat Away – by Ally Jarvis

Summertime in Langfang is hot and muggy. The heat zaps the energy of kids and adults – and nearly everyone is cranky. Enter water play. A perfect way to cool down beat the heat, and brighten attitudes.

Therapy…In the Pools

There are no rules that require therapy to happen indoors, so on hot days, the PHF Therapy team would have therapy sessions outside…in the pool. This was a brand-new experience for Corey. Corey joined in on a therapy pool day during his first week at Shepherd’s Field. He was still a little nervous about this new journey, but once he sat on the slide that was far too small for him, his face lit up, and we all got a glimpse of Corey’s true spirit.

Unlike Corey, our typically smiley Simeon had a rocky relationship with pool days. He adamantly did not enjoy Aubrey – or anyone else – splashing around in the therapy pool. If a therapist sat with him on our lap, blocking all incoming water, he could enjoy playing with the floating cups.

Everyone knew to stay away from Jason once he got in the pool.  He always seemed to find a bucket to fill with water. Jason’s first target was usually Naomi, the Therapy Department leader, but they always seemed to team up in the end. At the end of each therapy pool day, one staff member was always unwillingly tossed in the pool; I was chosen on more than one occasion! The ayi’s tossed me in while the kids laughed and cheered. Therapy can be fun!

Children’s Day Celebrated with a Water Fight

June 1 is Children’s Day and would always be marked by the first major water fight of the season. It was the biggest water fight I have ever seen! It always started with testing out which pools hadn’t been popped in previous years! Our staff, visitors, and kids were equipped with water guns, buckets, and cups. Any vessel that would hold water was used as a weapon. We scattered buckets of water throughout the area for refilling on the go.

The kids didn’t hold back, so everyone was soaked head to toe. Someone gave Charissa the hose, and I was her first target, even though I was already drenched because Luke had just thrown a bucket of water on me.

I wasn’t the only one that was victim to the kids’ motivation; Lily was chased around by the boys and hid behind whoever was closest. Lily still got wet – but so did her living shield! These pool days and water fights always brought so much joy.  I’m not sure how they managed it, but our fantastic ayi’s always managed to get the kids into dry clothes!

Spotlight on Healing Homes in China

Philip Hayden Foundation is committed to providing medical care for vulnerable children. In some cases, we partner with existing charities, such as this Healing Home. Your donations to our medical fund are providing medication and care for these children.

Meet Galvis, a fireball on wheels. Galvis was born with spina bifida, but not much slows him down. He’s already practicing for the paralympics, challenging the other children riding bicycles. He raced them in his wheelchair, and he even used his chair to help push his friends in their toy car!

Your medical donations fund care and therapy for Galvis, giving him even more reason to grin.

A Fresh Look for PHF

We are excited to announce that work is underway on a fresh look for our website! The updated website will appear in September, be tailored for mobile use, and meet all recommended accessibility guidelines. Another feature will be the ability to accept Venmo, Apple Pay, or Google Pay when you make a donation from your mobile phone. 

The new layout will showcase the stories of children whose lives have been transformed. It will be even easier for you to share stories of kids still needing support to survive and thrive with your friends and family. 


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