19-month-old Maria lives with her five-year-old brother and mother in a rented room in Guatemala. Maria’s mother used to work selling tea in the market, but due to Maria’s special needs, she has had to quit and is dependent on her in-laws for money and for the small room in which they live. Maria’s mother says that Maria’s favorite things are to listen to classical music and to watch the world around her.
Maria previously received treatment for acute malnutrition thanks to Watsi donors. She has recovered well, and is nearing a normal weight and height for her age. Now that she has grown bigger and stronger, and her life is no longer in danger, she is in need of physical and speech therapy to catch up on developmental milestones that she has missed out on because of poor nutrition and because of microcephalus that she was born with. Microcephalus is a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected, often due to abnormal brain development.
Despite being over a year and a half old, she cannot sit up on her own - a developmental milestone that most healthy children reach by six months of age. She has not begun to speak yet, either, and is in need of special therapy to help her develop mentally and gain motor skills.
This treatment, which costs $452, will give Maria intensive speech and physical therapy for six months, helping her to catch up with developmental milestones, and helping her become more independent. This treatment will help Maria develop the strength to sit up on her own, turn over, and crawl, and help her learn to communicate.