Today we had the oppurtunity to visit Chesire Homes. This morning while getting ready for the day ahead of me I felt excited yet unsure of what today had instore for me. I was excited to get to interact with the children and see the children’s different personalities. However, I felt unsure because the population that we were screening that day were all physically disabled and some of the children had mental disabilities as well. I was wrong to expect that the children would be as severely mentally disabled as the other children that we have seen. We originally planned for the children to come in two at a time to get their hearing tested then they would move on to the next room to get a speech consultation. What we did not know was that we were in for a big surprise. Once the children arrrived it was a very overwhelming experience. About thirty children piled in the room all at once. All the children demanded to have your attention and they wanted it all to themselves. At first it was hectic having multiple children fighting over your attention, but once I got out some toys for the children it helped reduce the overwhelming situation. While interacting with the children I really got to see the personalities of a few of the children. There were the two children that just abosuletly loved puzzles. They were really fast at putting the puzzles together which showed they had an incredible problem solving ability. When I began to think about their skills I realized that most of these children had to become good problem solvers really fast. They have all encountered an abundance of situations that requires them to think quickly on their feet. All of the children had a physical disability that make my everyday simple tasks extremely hard for them. These children have to be able to quickly problem solve to accomplish their everyday tasks.
After playing with the children for a while I got the oppurtunity to sit in on a speech consultation with Ms. Masters. I had the chance to observe two different clients. One thing that I thought about during the consultation was just how patient you need to be. There was one patient that was not talking much at the beginning of the appointment. That was hard to see because the teacher was so concerned about the child. Once we brought out the toys and worked with the child for a while the patient was able to say “I want playdoh.” The patient had the ability to talk but because no one had worked with her on talking she was quiet. The next thing that I learned was how determined some individuals are to try to help a child communicate. The other patient I saw had trouble communicating due to her physical disability. The muscles in the patients body were very stiff. The teacher was emphasizing her desire for the child to use American Sign Language but that would not be a beneficial strategy. The child was unable to move her fingers freely. All I could think about was how beneficial the Augmentative Alternative Communcation presentations would have been at Cheshire Homes. It was sad to see that these individuals really wanted to help but had no idea how to. Overall, I loved the speech consultation. It really made me realize how flexible you need to be as a Speech Pathologist.
At dinner, we met with are UNZA buddies one last time for pizza. I got to interact with a few of the different UNZA students. It was really interesting to learn more about their culture. One thing I learned was the proper way to shake an individual’s hand. It was also really Intriguing to compare and contrast their norms to the United States. One norm that is different is the driving manners. In Zamiba, all the drivers are very curtious, they honk to let you in, and no one gets angry at one another. While in the Unites states, we use our horns when someone does something wrong. Next, the group of students gave us chitenges**. It is a traditional clothing item that the women wear in Zambia. They showed us how to wear the Chitenges**. I was so thirlled to be able to bring such a traditional part of their culture back home with me!