Imagine your frustration if you could not make people understand your feelings or needs; if you couldn’t communicate that you were sad, hungry, or bored. In the US, students with special needs receive services from speech and language specialists who bridge this communication gap. Reliable communication skills are the key to the goal of maximum independence for the children of Sohilago.
Our goal is to raise $7,200 to fund a Speech and Language Therapist for one year. This therapist will provide therapy and design communication systems for each child and will work with teachers and families to ensure that children learn to reliably communicate at school, home and in the community.
Falling in love with the children of Sohilago...
From the moment my daughters and I entered the school building we were taken by the children of Sohilago. There was Pedro with his contagious smile, beautiful Pina with a strong will and a mind of her own, petite Rosalea, who despite her small stature, is a giant of compassion among her classmates, competitive Clarita who rules the soccer field without hearing or speech, and Santos, an affable jokester with killer breakdance moves. These were just a few of the children who left permanent tattoos on our hearts. The official reason for our being in San Pedro Del Lago was to study Spanish, but each day we could not wait to return to the school to sing, paint, blow bubbles, or roll yet another play-doh snake.
Over time, through a web of broken English and student-grade Spanish we got to know the dedicated teachers and the visionary director who works without recieving a dollar in salary. We were welcomed into students’ homes and offered coffee, tamales and unlimited smiles. We were invited to join in their celebrations and processions through the streets of San Pedro. All these experiences taught me that the parents and teachers of Sohilago hold the same hopes for their children as we do for our own. Here, in the US, we want our children (regardless of disability) to grow up happy, empowered, and independent adults.
No protected rights to education...
The difference, however, is that in the US we have laws that mandate schooling for students with special needs and that specify that children receive individual education plans requiring speech, occupational, and physical therapies necessary to ensure success. At age 14, US children with special needs, by law, receive vocational training to maximize their independence. The funny, beautiful, and inspiring children of Sohilago have no such assurances. With no government mandate or ongoing revenue, the school is funded primarily through donations.
Please help Pedro, Pina, Santos, Clarita, Rosalea and all the children of Sohilago get the the chance at indepencen that we count on for our children.
- Beth Scholz
- Brad Winking
- Deborah Contino
- Lori Bisser
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