Connect : Connect November 2013
27 an iPad was purchased from sales of student handicraft from our Epic Art Café for staff use. Another challenge is teaching staff to screen children for the correct disability so that they are managed in the right environment. There were several children in the special needs classes who needed to be assessed. So with iPad in hand, staff used skills in observation, communication, data collection and recording. Those children with physical impairment in our classes didn't have intellectual impairment so we needed to look for other education options. I met Sok the frst day I arrived. He had cerebral palsy, a big smile and gave me a lot of cheek. He could also speak some English and originally learned the language from lying on a rice mat listening to the radio while his mother worked as a cleaner at our centre. With the assistance of The Cambodian Trust, we reviewed his physical needs, equipment was made and a plan was put in place so he could attend formal schooling. It was a sad time for us, but we knew that attending school is what Sok wanted. He comes home for school holidays, visits us at Epic periodically and is having the time of his life with peers his own age. Pheatra, a second student with cerebral palsy is now in year one in an inclusive setting in a local public school supported by our staff. Pheatra does not have an intellectual disability, but is hemiplegic, meaning he has paralysis of his arm, leg and trunk on one side of his body. After being ftted with ankle and foot orthotics, a walker and a wheelchair, his parents registered him at the school closest to his home. It is rewarding to help staff assist Pheatra each month, meeting with the director and teacher to check attendance, academic progress and physical needs and adjustments. Pheatra has no classroom aide other than his friends to help him with all school activities and personal needs. It is a privilege to work with the staff and children at Epic Arts to share their lives, loves, celebrations and challenges. My counterpart has been with me all the way! I feel confdent she will draw on the experiences we have shared together. The AVID program is one that shows how building capacity and sustainability can transform lives, as it has here at Epic Arts in rural Cambodia.
Connect July 2013
Connect March 2014