Angels in our day and time!
This week at Celebrity English we are fortunate to be able to interview Tammy Armstrong. Tammy is a highly educated expert from the field of “education and training for individuals who are severely disabled” and serves as the Director of Developmental Training at the world class Little Angels Center for ExceptionalCare in Elgin Illinois.
"Love, care and support, just like Family!" is one of the motto's at the Little Angels Center for Exceptional care. Let’s take a look inside the world of Little Angels
Alex Graham: Please tell us a bit about ‘Little Angels’ and the story behind this phenomenal center.
Tammy Armstrong: In 1958, Pat Wasmond, a registered nurse and mother, began her life’s mission to help children who could not help themselves — and to always love them like her own. Her passion began simply by opening her home to a prominent doctor’s child who required 24 hour care and support. It didn’t take long for word to spread about the exceptional care this child was receiving and soon others came to Pat for help. Pat, along with husband Bob opened their home to several disabled children in need. And with that, Little Angels was founded. Now, over 50 years later, Little Angels has grown into a 57 bed skilled care nursing facility caring for children and young adults with complex physical, developmental and medical needs. Our residents are all in wheelchairs, require total assistance for all activities of daily life and are in need of 24 hour nursing care.
Alex: The Little Angels Developmental Training Program has implemented the most modern and up-to-date training techniques for young adults. Can you give us some specific training methods or techniques used to create the best possible environment for the participants?
Tammy: First you need an environment and activities that address all 5 senses. Our residents learn best through a variety of sensory experiences, due to the physical and cognitive challenges they face. Our Snoezelen room is a perfect example of providing a multi-sensory experience through modern technology. (Pronounced Soo-zlen. This is sensory stimulatory equipment that was created, in Holland, specifically for individuals with severe sensory impairments.) We can customize the experience to meet a variety of individual needs. Secondly, you need to make use of the technology available now through a variety of adaptive devices and communication systems. These adaptive devices can give an individual independence and control over their environment with a small movement of an arm, leg or head. There are communication systems that will “talk” for individual using body movement and even just an eye gaze.
Alex: Also, Could you give us a general example of the day in the life of a Little Angel?
Tammy: Our resident’s days are not unlike yours and mine. They wake up and face the same activities and events we all do. School aged residents get ready for school in the morning. Eat breakfast, get dressed, and get primped and beautified… True, they need assistance with all these activities, but they help to the best of their abilities. Then it’s out the front door to their school bus. Our residents who are over age 21 get ready for their Day Training Program with the same morning activities. This program is adjacent to the Little Angels residence so they can just be pushed in their wheelchair directly to their program. At the end of the day they all come back home and have group activities, eat dinner, have quiet time to watch TV and listen to music and get ready for bed.
Alex: Having a child is a life-changing event for parents and sometimes children come into this world in need of some pretty complex medical needs. If a new parent is facing this type of life challenge what advice would you give them.
Tammy: Learn how to look for and accept help and support. You know the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well with a child with severe disabilities and health issues, it takes a large, compassionate, loving village. There are many folks out there who either have gone through similar experiences and can help you or who are put on this earth to help people like you. You may have to search a little bit, but there are many people out there who are able to and want to help you.
Alex: What are some of the biggest misconceptions you hear from people on a regular basis?
Tammy: People assume that our resident’s lives are sad or that our residents are sad. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our residents are who they are. This is the life they have been given and the only life they know. They can’t walk, but they have fantastic, comfortable wheelchairs in which to get around; they don’t talk but they sure do communicate; they have likes, dislikes, they love and are loved in return. They lead happy, fulfilled, loving lives.
Alex: What have some of these wonderful ‘Little Angels’ taught the people around them?
Tammy: Unconditional love – these individual love their families and caregivers, regardless of who they are, how much money they, where they come from or what they do. They demonstrate great perseverance. They work diligently to make best use of their skills and abilities, despite the many challenges to accomplish goals. How to simply just enjoy life!
Alex: I saw on The Little Angels website a very unique button called ‘Angel Songs’. What is ‘Angel Songs’?
Tammy: Angel Songs is a gala that we hold annually. It’s a fundraiser, but just as important, it’s a celebration of Little Angels. We celebrate our resident’s lives, their accomplishments and we celebrate the staff and friends who love and support these individuals.
Alex: For people who want to get involved or help out, what can they do? How can they connect with you?
Please check out our website at www.LittleAngels.org Sign up to receive our newsletters. If you live in the Northern Illinois area we’d love to give you a tour of our facilities and introduce you to our wonderful residents and staff. For questions or information please contact Mary jean Adkins at 847.741.1609 x 101.
Alex: Thank you Tammy Armstrong for this wonderful, informative interview!
Tammy: You are welcome and thanks again for this opportunity.
Alex: Special thanks to Mary jean Adkins, Director of Development at Little Angels, who was an indispensable part of this fantastic interview!
I am Alex Graham of Celebrity English and privileged to be blessed by the "Little Angels" today! Best wishes and love to these extraordinary people!
Never met an Angel?
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