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!!