It’s been a very full, fun, informative, and rewarding week. Sandy a newly retired special education teacher, came on Saturday, with her niece Natasha. Natasha did a fantastic job translating, as well as building many new friendships! Her positive, supportive energy both with staff and children, and willingness to help out in all kinds of ways was such a gift. Sandy with her many years of experience, was able to demonstrate an incredibly wide variety of strategies without even knowing the children, and made an immediate impact. Sandy’s flexibility, adventurous spirit, kindness, and support to me was priceless. Thank you both so much! We packed in as much as we could in their short visit. Here is a glimpse of their week in La Concha!
Sandy and Natasha brought two more wheelchairs with them, and we bought a few on the way to the airport. We have now brought over 11 specialized wheelchairs at no cost aside from the airport pickup!
We enjoyed delicious coconuts on our way to La Concha! Sandy brought some great materials with her. It was amazing how much we were able to teach with the help of the wind up snake and horse!
There were so many memorable moments. Sandy has so much experience and was able to jump in and demonstrate powerful and useful strategies, that I know we can continue. Sandy showed us how to position toys for easier engagement. She showed us how to help Darling make choices, by bringing the toys midline and then moving them in opposite directions, and watching her eye gaze for her choice. So simple, so effective! Sandy also taught us how to empower Darling by having her share the beads with her mother and aunt. Darling’s squeals of delight brought a smile to all of our faces.
Sandy taught us how to build length of engagement and expand skills, using work systems. It was incredible to see how she was able to virtually wean Nelson off of his dependence on eating plantain chips in one session.
Sandy showed us how to be patient and take time to wait for the child to initiate communication. Everyone was thrilled when Gina initiated signing “more”. It has been great to see Nelson initiate getting the stop and go card, to play red light green light. This week was the first time he has done that.
Sandy taught us strategies to teach math, literacy, and cognitive skills. It was great to demonstrate to our staff, parents, and also the teachers who will have them integrated into their class next year.
There has been lots more socialization recently from Yerling helping our new student Carla on the playground, Brithany wanting to sit on Darling’s lap, Wilmer playing a social game with Nelson, with Nelson initiating to continue playing.
Sandy gave a presentation on strategies to use with children with autism. We had a great turn out of parents, staff, director of the special education school, and staff from the nearby towns. Sandy was very flexible, as the initial plan was just to have people from La Concha, but last minute other staff showed interest even though they are still on school break.
We also found time to have some fun! From going to the beach, watching folk dance practice, lunch with my host family, and a farewell party. It has been an incredible week! Look forward to Sandy and Natasha returning. A week simply is not long enough.