San Diego

Child's Make-A-Wish Goes to Special Needs Classroom Makeover

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted a wish to a special little girl on Monday, and that wish went toward a makeover for her special needs classroom at California Avenue Elementary School in Vista.

Alondra Sophia Lara, 5, has Pallister Killan Mosaic Syndrome, a very rare chromosomal abnormality that affects less than 300 people in the world.

Veronica Lara, Sophia’s mother, said very few of the doctors she questioned even knew what the syndrome is. In the whole 100-year history of the Oceanside hospital where Sophia was born, there had never been a case of it.

“It was hard figuring out her wish because she is a very medically fragile child,” Lara told NBC 7. Sophia cannot sit, walk or talk, and she has epilepsy. 

“There are two other little kids in her class, so we decided to share her wish with her classroom,” Lara said.

Lara added that since there are so many budget cuts in schools, there is not enough money for much of the sensory equipment needed for their class.

With the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Sophia’s classroom now has an awning for students to sit outside and be shielded from the sun, new sensory equipment for their sensory room, a new changing table, a special sensory “pea pod” chair, and a shed for equipment not in use.

Lara said she wanted Sophia to have a home away from home in the classroom since she is in kindergarten now and will be in the school until 5th grade.

California Avenue Elementary offers many resources for children with disabilities, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, adaptive physical education and hearing and vision services, according to their website.

“The school is really awesome,” said Lara. “It services a lot of kids not just in Vista, but Oceanside and different districts. They have very, very medically fragile children here that would otherwise be at home if they didn’t have this school.”

Lara said that although Sophia’s condition is very rare, there are probably other children out there who are underdiagnosed, so she wanted to bring attention to the disability center at California Avenue so other parents can come forward and have their children diagnosed.

Now current and future special needs students at the school can share in the Lara family's wish.

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