Posted on June 13, 2011 - boliviabound
We always work to make ongoing contributions that last beyond the time we are in Bolivia. It is especially rewarding to see an apparent “miracle” one year become a child with ordinary needs the next year. The story of Alan is a great example of this. In 2010, the TC group learned from the waiters in our hotel restaurant that one of the chefs had a son with “problems.” We were told the boy could not speak , understand much, or run well, and could not possibly be accepted at any school. This boy–Alan–spent his days locked up in his home with the TV on, while his brother went to school and his father worked long hours to provide for the family.
We evaluated Alan and found that he did have moderate cerebral palsy affecting his gross motor skills. Through dynamic assessment we realized that he was very smart–he learned everything so quickly. We also suspected a hearing loss. The next day in a hearing evaluation by Dr. Melissa Inniss we learned that Alan had a significant bilateral hearing loss. Somehow Melissa had a brand new hearing aid perfectly suited for his specific hearing loss. The hotel administration was so happy they even changed the father’s schedule so he could bring his son to Camino in the morning. We gave some money to the father for transportation costs so the boy could get home.
When we arrived at Camino this year, we learned that except for one two-month period of time, Alan has been attending Camino regularly since we left. He has learned to sign very quickly. He is also learning to read and write; he can identify all his letters and now can spell and identify his name and those of the other children in his class. This week when we were working on the vowels, Alan actually jumped up off his chair with excitement when he realized that his name had two “A”s in it. Alan wants to learn everything and is completely engaged in school.
In 2010 Alan was locked in his home 8 to 10 hours a day, this year he is in an appropriate school setting, ready to learn literacy and math skills and to acquire more Spanish language skills. When we began our work in Bolivia, this is what we dreamed we might be able to accomplish.