Sunday, April 24, 2016

HOT HOT HOT...means REST after lunch!

Betsy, Theresa and Jocelyn had a futon-like couch to 'rest' on after lunch- but I didn't have a picture!  A "siesta" with a fan was great for all of us! Heat records were set all around the Philippines during Week 1 of the Speech Mission!



Warm wishes from Colorado children to Philippines!

Thank you to the children at Deane Elementary School in Lakewood, Colorado, U.S.A, for the beautiful cards for the children attending the cleft palate speech therapy mission in Ozamiz City, Mizamis Occidental, Mindanao, Philippines!The cards were so special since made by children from our "home"! The sentiments and well wishes were priceless! Pictures of mountains, snowmen and words of encouragement ..."be yourself!" "Feel better" and "good luck with therapy" ... To name a few! Pictures below are of the children reading their letters and sharing their pictures!!


PICTURES...T Shirt Painting Day!

T shirt Day was fun for all!
 We brought 40 white tshirts of varying sizes with us... with 24 patients, we were also able to provide t shirts for the siblings and the younger helpers too; each speech therapy student had to have a parent, sibling, or guardian to assist with practicing speech the 2 weeks.  Those who did not have someone to bring- were provided a helper from volunteers- often family members of the COHSEC staff! We had not anticipated the large staff that supported our 2 weeks, including 12 staff from the Community of Hope Special Education Center, adult volunteers from the community, and the Sisters of St. Columban who run the Center.  Additional t shirts were bought in Ozamiz so EVERYONE could join in the fun! 

T shirts were decorated with Sharpie permanent markers/pens and then dripped with isopropyl alcohol to set the markers! The alcohol drip makes for beautiful 'bleed' of colors!  Here are some pictures from the day(s) we designed the shirts; a future entry from our closing "Culmination Day" will show the children and most adults wearing their shirts!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Finally ... A blog entry!! From Tuesday April 19th (day 8):

Today's therapy (Tuesday April 19th here) really showed the level of progress that can be made for most of the children with a 2 week intensive speech therapy model!  Of course our reaction as in past years is that we'd love to have 2 more weeks, months, years for some - which is closer to what would be provided at home in U.S.! But the children, parents, volunteers and staff have worked very hard to accomplish so much in a short time!

Lots of busy days have left little blog time! And wifi is available in evening... When we crash relatively early!! But here's a few pictures to give a picture of our therapy days!

8 full days now of 2 sessions (sometimes more) of speech therapy, per child, per day! We have 22 patients with cleft palate repairs; additionally we see 2 other children from the Community of Hope Special Education Center (COHSEC) for daily speech therapy. When we finish speech therapy with our children with cleft palate ( usually about 4:30 or5) we have worked with other children from COHSEC with developmental disabilities,teaching their special education teacher (Lorena)and physical therapist (MaryFe) strategies for addressing speech and language development with their students! This has in some ways proven to be more challenging with such limited resources! There is no limit though on the compassion and commitment of the teachers and families at the Center! A shout out and thank you to the local speech pathologists and OT's in Denver for your donations of materials, toys, supplies and books!! They have been well received and put to use already!! 

We have only  2 days of speech therapy left! The first week seemed long (the record setting heat was the main contributor!) but now that we're nearing the end of the speech mission, we are sad to think about saying goodbye to friends made and children near and dear to our hearts! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A few quick pictures from Sunday afternoon-screening day!

Screening day- Sunday afternoon after our arrival in Ozamiz City!  The children and families were so excited to get started with their speech therapy. So far we have 20 patients with repaired cleft palate for speech therapy, as well as about 10 from the Center of Hope Special Education Center run by the Sister's of St. Columban missionaries.  When we are working in the different cities around the Philippines, we like to assist the special education programs when possible. Since their is NO speech therapy available here, we feel it is important to bring speech therapy support to the schools or foundations supporting the children with special needs. The Hope Center has been instrumental in arranging the follow-up speech therapy for the children after their palate repairs. For the last 2 years, the mission has been bringing the patients to Dipolog City (4 hour drive each way) from Ozamiz to Dipolog!  With an additional 14 palate repair surgeries by Dr. Geoff Williams and the team from International Children's Surgical Foundation this past December 2015- there were originally 35 children pending speech therapy! About 12 children have been unable to attend the 2 weeks of intensive speech therapy; a few more are still expected next week for screening and possible speech therapy.


 Theresa Snelling and Jocelyn Noble, pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists from Lakewood screening a few of our younger patients! This is Theresa's 12th mission in the Philippines (her 7th with ICSF) and Jocelyn's first speech mission in Philippines; Jocelyn and Theresa participated in an ICSF mission to Pucallpa, Peru in 2013.

Betsy Straka, Speech-Language  Pathologist from Colorado Springs, Colorado, screening one of our older patients who's palate repair surgery did not happen until he was 15 years old!  Speech correction at this age is difficult, but no impossible as previous speech missions have shown!This is Betsy's second speech therapy mission with ICSF!

Add caption

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Special Education Center; Kabankalan City

 We went to the Special Education Center in Kabankalan City to meet teachers and staff on Tuesday afternoon. We were introduced to the high school (and above!) class for children and adults who are deaf and hard of hearing. The students were enthralled during our little "talk"-all signed/interpreted by the teacher Ma'am Meloday! They were particularly amazed at how tall "Sir Al" is! There reaction to his height can not be hidden:-) We returned on Wednesday morning to work with a few students and share some speech therapy strategies and materials with the teachers. I met with students in the class for the deaf and hard of hearing and Cynthia shared her expertise with staff and students in the class for students with autism and cognitive impairments (their description). The class are large and crowded and the students still look happy to be there! The warmness of their welcome is overwhelming! Many of the "students"-some in their 20's- also live with MA'am Meloday in what they called a "boarding house"; it was what I think we would describe as a group home! 40 children/students live with her and as she stated she is with them 24/7! She was a bright, engaging teacher/mother (a few she had officially adopted) and worked miracles on a daily basis! Their materials are old, books are few, and technology all but non-existent!  As Cynthia and Al noted-not a smart board in sight. (Something most schools have in U.S.) The teachers indicated they had access to one computer at school -in the office. Some of the teachers had tablets but none for school or student use. The students were engaged, respectful, and learning. In the class for the deaf; "1" student had "1" newly provided hearing aid. The teachers were very excited about the prospect of more hearing aid fitting from mission/corporate sponsors. However, fitting the aid requires follow-up, repairs and batteries-all of which would be difficult if not impossible for the students who are so poor. As noted in other parts of my blog-we have to remind ourselves of what we can provide-and what we can't! The better news was that some of the  youngest of the children in the deaf and hard of hearing class were getting fit with aids through corporate grant monies-but we didn't get a chance to see the younger children. 

Cynthia is mid-flight, on way home to Boise, right now but she'll write a post about her experience in the class for students diagnosed with autism that I'll add later. Cynthia also took a box of toys, books, and materials to the special education school on her last day (Al and I left 2 days earlier; about 6 children remained for therapy into days 10-12 of therapy). We had so much extra and the special education center will use the supplies for students!!