Friday, 11 March 2011

End of Term

For you avid readers of my blog, you will know a bit about the school for children with special needs that Eileen and Carol (that's Carol in the picture) run from the basement of our house. I mentioned last time that I think they are amazing and that the work they do is beyond brilliant, so I thought it was time for a better description of what they get up to.
For children with very severe disabilities school like this is pretty much unheard of over here. Most will be completely uneducated and will spend most of their time at home, some never even leaving the house. For Eileen and Carol to come here with all their training and skill is a real blessing and they provide a very unique learning environment for these children.

I am continually amazed at the way they are able to teach and encourage development. This picture is of a science lesson Eileen taught about taste. It's really science like you've never seen it before but the kids seemed to like it. They tasted various types of food to learn about sweet, sour,
bitter etc. It was good!

They have also put together a sensory area which the kids retreat to during most lessons. There are music and lights, and various programmes which have been developed to encourage sensory awareness. One programme Carol uses includes (gentle) patting with spatulas, scrunching with pot scourers and flicking with mops. To the unitiated like me this seems very weird, but it's good especially for children who spend a lot of their time lying on their backs or in one position. There's probably a lot more technical stuff to it than that, but that's my limit of expertise! I just trust the experts.

Carol is going back to England in the middle of April and Eileen is going back to Scotland at the beginning of May. They have established a really good work here and while they have been looking for a replacement, nothing has been found to carry this work after they leave. They have been working really hard to establish some kind of provision for the future and are working with the parents of the children to try and put in place things that they may be able to do amongst themselves. Carol and Eileen are beginning to work out how to engage the education system here in their duty to educate these children, but it's a bit of an uphill battle. While by law these children have a right to education, the training and resources are limited.

God has used Eileen and Carol mightily in this field but their time here is now almost over. If you like to pray, please pray that the work that has been started here would be just the groundwork for something much greater. I think that it is important for the parents to begin to demand and fight for the education that their children have been promised by the state and it may be that with this school leaving, and with the support of Carol and Eileen while they are still here, they will begin to establish contacts and networks and will flourish in their goal of getting their children into school.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ali, this may be a stretch and not very useful but I know of a great Armenian organisation called Bridge of Hope that does education and early identification work with children with disabilities in Armenia. Over the past years they've had some success engaging the Armenian government to uphold the right of these children to an education. It may be they have some good advice? Their website is: http://www.bridgeofhope.am/system/index.htm
    Fiona x

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