I’ve also learned a lot about Make-A-Wish Hawaii as an organization, and to say I’m impressed would be an understatement. One of the things I admire most is their constant desire to adapt and improve the way wishes are granted to accommodate each eligible child in an individualized way. A specific example of this is their recent revision of how wishes are granted for non-verbal children.
The best way I can depict the importance of focusing on this group of children requires a little imagination on your part! Picture this: You’ve just learned that you’re about to have your one true wish granted during a particularly challenging time in your life. You’re exhausted, you’re stressed, but this wonderful opportunity has just been given to you and your family. What would your one true wish be? That’s a lot of pressure for any child to answer. Now picture trying to communicate this without using words.
There are a number of changes happening at Make-A-Wish Hawaii that will truly enhance the wish experience for our non-verbal or non-communicative children. We’re revising our training program to ensure wish granters have the tools and knowledge to understand how non-verbal children are able to communicate. A huge aspect of this enhanced training will be in the awareness of subtle cues.
We’ve also introduced a new communication profile for wish parents and caregivers to fill out, which will better equip our wish granters for their interactions with non-verbal wish kids. We know how important it is to include the entire wish family throughout the process, and this profile brings attention to valuable family member insights. Every child’s situation is different, just like every child’s personality is different. The point is, we’re listening.
I am so honored to be a part of this incredible development at Make-A-Wish Hawaii. We have some wonderful wish stories coming true, including inspiring stories of wishes being granted for non-verbal children. These changes will provide us with the opportunity to reach even more families of non-verbal wish kids!
There are a number of families out there who were hesitant to reach out to us because they didn’t know their child could benefit or qualify for a wish because their child was non-verbal. To those families I say this: your child will be welcomed, loved, and cherished as a part of the Make-A-Wish family! If your child doesn’t use words to communicate, we will still passionately seek out his or her truest wish.
If you have a wish experience you’d like to share, please comment below. I can’t wait to hear about it!
-Jessica Agnew, Make-A-Wish Hawaii Volunteer & Wish Granter