Queen consort of Bhutan in 2011
Here is a picture taken in Paro, Bhutan (not far from the little airport).
On December 2nd Lisa arrived in the capital city of Bhutan, which is much more populated, about 80,000 people, but the landscape is still pretty spectacular. On Saturday, Dec 2nd there was an all day marathon with Ability Bhutan Society’s community events honoring people with special needs. There was something like the Special Olympics with disabled kids participating in races and such, and the Queen of Bhutan actually attended and gave out trophies to the kids. Very sweet. She then stopped by our tent and shook our hands which was quite a moment.
The afternoon ended with a forum/discussion of issues facing kids with special needs, with about ten community leaders presenting on various obstacles. They have a lot to tackle as just their infrastructure is so challenging for people with physical disabilities. There was also a lot of discussion about their special education system, practical issues of inclusion vs. special schools, how to get the government ministries more involved, etc. Dr. Berman presented on how the US has tried to tackle issues with various laws, e.g. American with Disabilities Act, IDEA and Free and Appropriate Public Education, IEPs/504s, importance of early intervention, etc.
On Dec 3rd, Lisa visited the hospital with Kie Johnson while Dr. Berman toured an early intervention center in another town.
Today, Dec 4th the team starts their presentations! We wish them the best of luck!
Last night our 2012 Bosnia Autism team arrived in Zenica, and were able to enjoy our first team dinner. It is hot and humid here, and we are without much sleep, but everyone is in great spirits and looking forward to meeting the children, families, and professionals we will train.
One of our volunteers, Elaine Tierney, is studying speech language pathology in PA and has graciously agreed to write our blog during this year’s project. She will be updating our familes, friends and suporters on the highs and lows of our trip for the next two weeks.
Thank you for following our progress, praying for us, and for believing in us!
6/18 Today was our first day of home visits in Zenica. All of the teams set out with inspiring excitement ready to help! We were all impressed with the children and their willingness to accept and learn from new clinicians. Overall, the groups had very successful, rewarding therapy sessions! We concluded our evening at a cozy lounge enjoying drinks and each other’s company.
6/19 Today was our second day of home visits. For some of us, it was a hard morning to wake up since we were out late the night before. We discovered that most families were more comfortable with our group entering their homes, and some parents even participated in our therapy activities. It was so amazing to see them show interest in their child’s success. We had a fun group dinner in downtown Zenica. Anna was presented with lovely gifts from Bojan and this team. Thank you, everyone!
6/20 We finished all of our home visits in Zenica. It was such an amazing, rewarding experience! We hope our insight and advice will help continue the fantastic work done by Bojan and his team. We are all pleased to see our impact on the children and their parents, especially since some of these children would not have had the opportunity to receive therapy services. We will miss them all!
Raising Awareness of the international need for treatment for communication disorders at the San Diego ASHA 2011 Convention in November.