Casa San Marco: A home for children with special needs

NPH Dominican Republic has programs that serve a sizable population of children in the country who have special needs and don’t otherwise receive professional support or help.
March 15, 2019 - Dominican Republic

A smile from a boy at Casa San Marco.

There are at least eight million children with disabilities under the age of 14 in Latin America and the Caribbean. Very commonly, they encounter discrimination and they are limited in their ability to access medical care, education, even resources basic to survival. They are challenged in the exercise of rights others take for granted.

In Latin American countries, school integration has advanced a lot. More and more students with disabilities have the opportunity to get a quality education by studying at and being included in regular schools that beginning to comply with principles of equality.

For its part, special education for these children in the Dominican Republic is "needed" or lacking. Directors and teachers of various education centers have cited that this is largely due to the lack of support, resources, or interest by the State. It is estimated that there are around 18 million students in the Dominican Republic with some type of disability who are currently attending standard schools.

Recognizing this need, our NPH Dominican Republic school has worked hard to include and serve children living with disabilities in our education programs. Our goal is to provide an inclusive environment and allow them to develop their skills and abilities to their fullest potentials, with the possibilities afforded to them through Casa San Marco.

In the Casa San Marco program, we provide children with disabilities or special needs with the care that they require, which includes all of the elements needed to promote their development within an adequate environment. Casa San Marco is large enough to house up to 20 children and their caregivers. It also serves as a rehabilitation house with several specialized therapy rooms (including physical, speech, hydrotherapy, occupational, and sensory) located onsite.

Additionally, we also operate Casa Santa María, which gives us the capacity to serve an additional 10 children with various special needs.

Casa San Marco currently serves 14 children who live inside the NPH home. NPH is continually evaluating new cases encountered by our social worker. We regularly enroll new children into the program as their cases are approved.

Additionally, Casa San Marco offers help to seven children of varying capacities who belong to vulnerable families living outside our home. They are supported with therapies and medications, and NPH works hard to collaborate with and include their families in an effort to better the children’s living conditions.

It is important to note that in addition to the children who belong to the Casa San Marco program, we also work with children who have other conditions, such as Down syndrome and attention deficit disorder.

At present, 14 children of differing capacities live in Casa San Marco, 13 of them with severe disabilities. The group comprises six males and eight females, between the ages of 12 and 26 years old. Our children have a range of cognitive and motor diagnoses, among them cerebral palsy, autism, agenesis of the corpus callosum, and Rett syndrome.

At NPH, these children have a structured and stimulating day-to-day life. Group activities, trips to the park, various therapies, and other more sporadic events ensure that they are receiving all of the conditions and care needed to help them improve and thrive each and every day.

The love and dedication given to these children is evident—in their eyes and in their smiles. We have a fantastic team of professionals who feel at home with these children and who work hard every day to make each child’s life wonderful.

Alba Pérez   
Communications Officer




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