Today was our first working day for the SLHS in Zambia 2015 program and it was at Cheshire Homes. This is my fourth time visiting the facilities, and the third group of students from Purdue who have had the privilege to interact with the remarkable children and staff at Cheshire!
In the morning we divided into groups with students providing hearing screenings to the 30 children with a variety of physical disabilities and also interacting with them, providing some sign language fun, reading, singing and fun play activities.
After a quick lunch we set up our awesome little handheld projector that we purchased just for this program a few weeks ago and were ready to provide a professional development training on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) which surely can help several of the children who have difficulty with verbal communication.
Although there were only 5 staff members who could attend the presentation, the students did a fantastic job with their presentations!!! Way to go Team Zambia 2015!!! The presentation did give some ideas to the staff who requested some materials which the students quickly and efficiently prepared for them! We hope that Cheshire Homes will find the items useful and continue to use AAC with their kids to improve and enhance communication!!
A busy and exhausting day – but we were not nearly done yet!!!
We stopped at Manda Hill Mall and did a little more shopping. The students picked up fruit and snack for lunches while we FINALLY were able to get wifi dongles that work – YAY!! Thanks to the dongle I was able to upload so many photos easily to the blog 🙂 – EVERY student is shown during hearing screening and AAC presentation!!!!
Back to the lodge after dinner at the mall and we met again for our pow-wow. Today’s discussion included:
- First a big “congratulations” to the students for working as a team today and doing a great job!!
- An early indication of cultural acceptance today when a car whizzed by us in the parking lot and a student remarked, “That’s something to get used to”! J
- Students commented on how the children, though having difficulty themselves, helped each other
- Also on how happy the children were no matter their disability
- How they did not seem so “disabled” at all because they were so independent and scooted around as they could to the best of their ability
- How the children knew and followed the rules
- They commented on how most of the children were very cooperative for the hearing screening
- And how they felt it was a very productive day since they did hearing screenings, and had quality time interacting with the children and impacted their day
- However, they acknowledged that in the end, it is they who benefitted far more from the experience than the children at Cheshire!
After a good first day we discussed the activities for tomorrow. We will visit the University of Zambia (UNZA) and hopefully they all get to meet their buddies with whom they have been e-mailing for a couple of months!