Patrick is seven years old. Born with a condition that left him non-verbal and aggressive, his family left Iraq six months ago to find better medical services for him in Jordan.
Dawlat Hijazeen, principal at Good Shepherd Center, heard about Patrick’s condition from Iraqi community members. After learning he was not in school, she scheduled a home visit with the family to find out if Good Shepherd would be a good fit for Patrick.
“The mother had taken him to many doctors in Iraq, but none could help him. I told her, ‘Your son can join our school and we’ll see if we can help.’”
Initially there was no improvement for Patrick, so the staff found a local center that would assess and potentially diagnosis him.
“I sent him two days a week to this center and three days to Good Shepherd,” said Hijazeen. “There was still no improvement and no diagnosis. So the family stopped sending him to us.”
Hijazeen was discouraged, but she couldn’t get Patrick out of her mind. She visited the family again, inviting him into the care of the new special education teacher. To her relief, his mother agreed. After a hearing test, which he passed with flying colors, Patrick’s teacher began using picture cards with him, encouraging him to repeat phrases and practice pronunciation. Patrick’s progress is slow, but there have been breakthroughs.
“It has not been easy to reach him, but the teachers keep trying,” said Hijazeen. “Sometimes he will interact, other times he won’t. Each day we take a new approach. We won’t give up on him.”