Ayllu Test Pilot June 1-September 1
Ayllu, Manos Unidas’ newest program, is now six weeks into its research pilot to test its efficacy and outcomes. We have enjoyed working with all 12 of the families involved from Washington State, Mexico and Peru. Our pilot launch meeting on June 16th included 25+ participating families, volunteers and professionals, all with a hand in this project. Many parents and caretakers expressed why this program is so meaningful to them as they struggle managing their children at home for over a year and a half.
Ayllu offers three components for participants: a proprietary video curriculum, personalized consulting from one of our three consultants, and community engagement opportunities. Ayllu is proudly hosted at aylluglobal.com and allows participants to access Course #1 for this study.
Ayllu’s first published video course, “How to Build a Successful Learning Environment,” contains six learning modules that include pre and post content quizzes, the proprietary videos, a social survey, and homework. The participant’s homework is to send their consultants videos showing the application of the skills they learned in the module —with their own child. The video is then coded for accuracy. Through our video curriculum and personalized motivation, mothers and caregivers are successfully learning helpful strategies to organize their child’s day, activities, and improve positive interactions with their child, producing less stressful home environments.
Through our personalized consultation component, we have been able to better identify the personal struggles these mothers and caregivers face on a daily basis with their children. Every other week the women participate in small group calls and on the off weeks receive an hour of personalized support from their consultant. We are addressing their mental health by giving them a trusted space to share their struggles as well as providing positive feedback, motivation and encouragement for their efforts with their children.
Ayllu’s community engagement component provides a space for the women to interact, share experiences and new ideas with each other. We are also using this space to host open community forums with guest specialists in the field. Please see “EVENTS” to join one of our open forums!
Marginalized Communities and Mental Health
Ayllu’s ultimate objective is to improve learning outcomes of children with disabilities in traditionally marginalized communities. We are currently focused on working with a group of families in Peru, a residential home for disabled children in Mexico, and a group of Latinx mothers in Washington State. Participants in each learning community face unique barriers to accessing tools and strategies that can be applied in their home environments to best support their children.
Ayllu is an important learning resource and space to share experiences and knowledge with specialists and other disabled families. Many of the Peruvian mothers have expressed frustration at the lack of information available to them about autism and related disorders. Furthermore, there are even fewer affordable services available to them as families with autistic children.
For mothers in Washington State, having a program tailored specifically for Latinx families is particularly important, as Latinx children in the US are underdiagnosed with autism. One mother from Washington expressed how isolating having autistic children can be. Because autistic children often look physically like other children, people assume that bad behavior from her children is a reflection of her as a mother. For her, coming together with other parents of autistic children has helped her find a community that accepts and understands her family and their specific needs. Almost every mother could relate to the social stigmas and judgements that frequently impact their family’s everyday life and relationships.
Ayllu and the Family
This past year has been stressful for many parents, but particularly parents of disabled children as they were cut off from many of the resources, school programs, and specialists that they rely on in order to best support their child. Many mothers expressed how excited they are to have a program tailored specifically for them that they can access virtually.
Ayllu’s video curriculum gives participants the ability to view video modules multiple times, allowing our content to reach the entire family. All of our participants are primary caretakers who traditionally take their children to appointments and learn about their treatments directly from specialists. But with Ayllu’s home based videos, the mothers can further include their husbands, siblings, and other family members in the learning and caretaking process.
It was truly remarkable to see all of the parents come together on Zoom to share their experiences and witness the development of a new support network. As we complete this pilot program, we are reminded again of the importance of not just sharing information and resources with parents, but of creating inclusive spaces where they can connect and build disability-centered communities.