Saturday, June 5, 2010

It has been an eventful week filled with language enrichment activities for the children and adult I have been seeing. The four of us girls- Marja, Rachael, Jamie and I all have succeeded in establishing a routine for the children to follow. The kids are clearly getting accustomed to the routine. They will often sing transitional songs once an activity has been completed. When doing classroom activities the babies and children are able to identify some of the animals and the noises they make. For example, pig says “oink, oink, oink.” They know once we have talk about an animal when it is time to say, “hello” and when it is time to say, “bye” while imitating gestures such as hand waving during language activities. I am hearing a lot more utterances from the children, a lot more inflection in their voices, and a lot more social engagement with other children and infants. For some of the kiddos I have noticed they are using more eye contact, object permanence, and means end skills. During my time working at the Haven I have been able to witness many new developmental milestones being accomplished. The children that were not talking are now starting to talk and thrive. The adult I’ve been working is also meeting many milestones. Gwembe, is starting to imitate words and phrases and because he knows a lot more Tonga than English he has been coming with a one on one named Elvis who is able to translate. Gwembe is following 1-2 step directions and is starting to learn yes/no questions. Continuous repetition is needed for him to understand yes/no questions. He is doing a great job and seems to be making great progress. I feel like this means a lot to Gwembe as it seems he was not given many chances in his earlier years. Living in Africa has gotten me to realize how different are beliefs are compared to children with special needs in Africa. I feel I'm making a big difference while educating others with and without differences. I too have learned a lot from these individuals and have to say that what I've learned has made me stronger as a person and prospective SLP. Working at the Havens and at Eric's house has been a truly rewarding experience for me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This week has been a busy week. We wake up at 8:00am eat lunch and then drive out to the Haven where we work with children from 9:15am-12:30pm. We then eat lunch and at 2:15 head on back to work with the children until 4:30. The children are starting to understand the concept of a routine as well. We have done a lot of story time, songs, and feeding and swallowing with the kiddos. I have also been working with an adult diagnosed with MR. He has been working on following 2-step commands and basic yes/no questions. I am getting him to imitate words and phrases in his everyday speech. Gwembe comes with a one on one named Elvis who also speaks Tonga. Gwembe is using a lot more words since I first met him and is even able to follow 2-step related commands given some visual cues/prompts. This has really been an exciting process for me to witness. I hope to see a lot more progress as there is still much work to be done.

At the end of the day I am covered in Shima, milk and every other bodily fluid you can imagine. I have children's songs coming out of my ears and usually am in good need of a shower. Through it all my time spent at the Haven has been a very rewarding experience. I am seeing children meet developmental milestones right in front of my eyes. Today, Hamilton is drinking from a bottle and is starting to eat food. At the beginning we were all worried if Hamilton would make it the first week because he was so under nourished. With lots of prayers and helping hands we have been successful as a group providing speech, language and hearing services.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

First Picture: our night watchman, baby Hamilton- 3lbs and 3 months old, school desks and chalkboard.


These are some pictures of Victoria Falls at night. I will be going back to the Falls later on this trip so I will have some more clear pictures. I also took a picture of Lenards delicious cake and the Protea hotel we stayed at in Livingston. :)