Many thanks to Esther, a Swiss OT, for connecting us with Christine Lydon, who had a group of volunteers doing hearing evaluations. On very short notice I was able to connect with Carmendelia, our substitute teacher, who was quickly able to connect with families who had concerns about their children’s hearing. Carmendelia supported Ezekial’s family in getting to the evaluation. Fortunately he does not need hearing aids. It’s so great building up networks of support, as the needs are wide ranging.
Currently there is a 15 week program provided by the ministry of education to support the training of teachers about children with disabilities, in order to support inclusion. This is a nationwide project. Each region in Nicaragua is watching a video through teleconference and then there are small group activities and discussions locally. Every Tuesday afternoon CIELO de Amor staff are joining 15 other local regular education teachers for this training. CIELO de Amor staff are able to learn and also contribute their experiences to the discussion.
We are also delighted that the teachers at the training have wanted to visit our class to see hands on children with a variety of disabilities and see us putting strategies into place. We were able to show them the structure and routines of our class, including circle time, social time, individual work time. Jahoska the physical therapist demonstrated the use of the sensory brush and discussed the sensory needs of children. Staff showed how visuals and structured activities such as work systems, support the learning of children with autism. It’s exciting to see the government put effort to support inclusion and we are so happy that we can contribute to this training locally, in a very hands on manner. The children did very well inspite the number of visitors in the room.
Ruth Weinberg has returned to the USA to do some fundraising and promotional work. A presentation was given in Oregon to 180 physical and occupational therapists at their annual Therapy in Educational Settings conference. The staff in Nicaragua continue do a great job running the project. We have weekly skype meetings to problem solve and expand on strategies to support the development of the children.
Ruth Jansen is doing an amazing job multi tasking and following up on many projects from wheelchair pick up and distribution, collaboration with ministry of education, to facilitation of the new swimming project.
As we distribute chairs, we also try to pick up unused and broken chairs to fix and pass on to others.
Our first physical therapy and play time at the pool was a great success, as you can see by the children’s faces! We hope to provide this weekly.
We were invited to participate in an all day training on labor inclusion by Esther Shar, a Swiss occupational therapist. Ruth Jansen and Wilmer were our representatives and were very inspired. We hope to have a labor project for young adults in the future.
We helped provide funding so that Yerling could have glasses.
Yes, we are keeping busy! and the work is so rewarding. Thanks for your interest and support. If you would like to make a donation please go to our website at http://www.cielodeamor.org. Every contribution makes an impact directly to the children. Ruth Weinberg volunteers her time, the classroom has been donated and so all donations go toward supporting the children.