My Best Day in Leeds – Carli Barborotto
Today was one of the best days I've had while visiting the UK. I began the day with the "Little Pips", a program for disabled toddlers and their parents. It was the end of the year party and the kids had so much fun! The children are able to enjoy enrichment programs while their parents form a social support network funded by a government grant and held at Hollybank Trust. I was greeted by a hug from a three year old little boy with Autism. That hug made coming to Leeds worthwhile and summed up why I came. I held a 7 month old little boy with Down syndrome and played with him. Then I spent time with a little girl with cerebral palsy, issues with her lungs, and hearing impairments. She was climbing on me and playing with my hair but I still enjoyed every minute of it. Seeing the smile on her face made my day. Before coming to Hollybank, I was thinking about using my Speech and Language Pathology degree to work with toddlers in early intervention and being in the "Little Pips" room confirmed that today.
I spent the afternoon in the Assistive Technology room where we worked with a 21 year old man. He has been at Hollybank since he was nine and his motor skills have improved so much that he was able to purchase his own iPad and control buttons so he can use it at his own leisure. The iPad came in today, so we were able to see his reaction when they gave it to him. His face lit up and he was able to play games and enjoy himself.
So far my experience at Hollybank has been very rewarding and I've learned so much. There is a strong sense of community here and everyone makes you feel welcomed and part of the team.