Jawad is five and a half years old and lives in Amman with his mother. He was born with a developmental disability known as Down Syndrome and has difficulty with social interactions, general communication and pre-academic skills such as identifying shapes, colors or following instructions.
Portage: supporting Jawad’s learning development
To help him develop these skills, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) uses a technique known as “portage,” a home-based intervention that targets children with disabilities and developmental delays and teaches caregivers to better assist their children.
“Each week we come to Jawad’s home to perform activities that help him develop pre-academic skills.” Explains Shaima Anabtawi, HI Inclusive Livelihood Technical Officer in Jordan. “After an assessment, we create an individual plan based on his needs and we set short-term goals accordingly. Within the first month, the goal is for him to recognize geometric shapes, and respond appropriately to basic requests such as ‘close the door’ or ‘bring the glass.”
Jawad’s mother also plays in integral role in the activities so that she can learn how to incorporate developmental activities into their daily routine and continue his progress between sessions. HI’s trained partners help her develop an Individual Family Service Action Plan with activities adapted to Jawad’s goals, the family’s daily life, and their available resources.
Jawad has now been receiving weekly portage visits for over five months and has shown significant improvement. He can now identify basic shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles. He can recognize sizes and colors, and he performs many social interactive behaviors, including initiating interactions with others.
His portage activities are still ongoing and Jawad continues to progress each week.
HI also provided Jawad with a pair of glasses to help improve his vision.
These activities are made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migration.