Area resident Nelly Palma writes book on special needs experience

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 0 Comments

Area resident Nelly Palma writes book on special needs experience
Little Johnny may have Down Syndrome but the congenital disorder doesn’t stop him from making a big difference at school.
Though he struggles with intellectual impairment each day of his life, four-year-old Johnny takes time to reach out to his peers and makes them laugh and feel good about themselves.
Johnny is a heartwarming character in the new book entitled “Johnny’s At School,” which Miami Lakes area resident Nelly Palma wrote based on her experience of working with children with special needs for years.
The book which was Illustrated by 14-year-old Nicole Araujo, is published by Snow Fountain and can be purchased at Amazon.
“This is a bilingual book for children, educators and parents about diversity and inclusion to highlight that every person can make this a better world, regardless of their abilities,” she said during an exclusive interview. “It’s a beautiful story where the hero is a child with special needs.”
Palma, an assessment specialist for Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach, said Johnny helps other special needs students who are struggling day-to-day regardless of his own disability.
He loves looking forward to playing with new children, and he helped turn a student’s frown upside down.
“One day a child was crying and Jonny started making faces and the child stopped,” Palma said. “He’s a child with special needs who is able to help other children with special development.”
Palma, who was an early childhood assessor, said her real life experience of working with special needs children taught her how they can benefit from one another.
“They realize how important they can work together,” she said. “For Johnny, he was happy and cheerful, and other children followed Johnny around in school. “The connection was Johnny’s ability to identify the different needs of the other students, and they enjoyed being together. They found a way to connect and breaking the barrier of limitations of friendships.”
Palma, 49, said she visits schools and evaluates the programs for students with special needs and help them improve the quality of their education.
She said their parents are always part of their kids’ education and depend on the teachers for guidance.
“Parents with special needs kids are always involved,” she said. “Parents are always there asking questions and interacting with teachers. “It’s a very moving moment to see how a disadvantaged child is able to do something to someone else regardless of his everyday struggles. And I have seen that during my career and the teachers and parents play a major role in their lives.”
Palma was born in Venezuela where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Child Development from the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello.
She said she chose to work with kids with special needs because she wanted to make a major difference in their lives.
Palma, who’s married with a 15 year-old son, said she’s touched each time a kid does something to help improve his/her life.
“They are amazing kids,” she said. “It makes me feel good when they come hug me. My work is very important to me because I love working with them.”
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