Making services accessible to special needs children
The task of making our services accessible to all special needs children and their families can be a daunting one! The children that we serve usually live in some of the remotest regions of Mongolia and have no idea that there is any help available. Our first goal then, is to find these children and their families. To do this we work hand-in-hand with the local medical professionals by setting up developmental screenings for one or two days in the capitals of each aimag. The doctors in the “soums” (counties) are then notified and send us all children that they suspect of having developmental problems. By working together, we are able to locate the families that need our help!
Recently, three of our staff at the Reaching the Light Developmental Center, partnering with Blue Sky Aviation, took to the skies once again to locate special needs children. It was late September and they were to conduct a screening at the hospital in Tsetserleg, Arkhangai. Just at that time, however, the central region of Mongolia was hit by a snowstorm! These weather conditions are inconvenient as they delay our flights. But in the case of land travel, they can actually be very dangerous! Travel from Ulaan Baatar to Tsetserleg can take more than 8 hours in good weather, and with snow, the risk of becoming stranded on deserted roads is very real! As it was, though our team was delayed one day, they arrived safely the next day in Tseserleg. There we evaluated 45 children with all types of disabilities, such as seizure disorders, general developmental delays, and cerebral palsy. As the needy children were identified, many families were scheduled for a two-week therapy/parent-training session later in the year. Two families, eager to come right away, soon found themselves, with our staff, on the 1½ hour flight back to Ulaan Baatar! As they landed, our team felt such gratitude for Blue Sky Aviation, and all the “on the ground” medical folk in the countryside areas of Arkhangai aimag who joined with us to truly make these special therapy services available to all children who need them!