Making It Work

During our team trip to Peru, we visited some of the families that lived in communities outside of Lima. We took a subway train followed by a bus then a small 3-wheeled taxi and then followed that with a long and winding walk up the side of a mountain. It is hard to think that the children do this twice a day so they can attend a school program for Deaf students. The trip took us close to 2 hours one way and we were lucky that we didn’t have to wait for our connections very long.

 

Working beside the teachers and use of an English-Spanish dictionary is a major part of what we do on our trips. Here in Peru, we spent time prior to class reviewing the teaching material and determining how to make the teaching of that material more accessible for the Deaf students. Together, we discuss how hearing loss will impact the student’s learning in the classroom and different ways we can change up the classroom to better accommodate the student’s needs.

 

 

Stories in sign language allow the students to enjoy literacy but also helps teach new signs and to increase their comprehension of longer signed sentences. The Deaf students in Guatemala arrive at the school at different ages with very little knowledge of sign language. The teachers need to build the student’s language skills first so they then can teach the academics. Stories are a good way to do this in a fun way. Unfortunately, Spanish story books can be difficult to find up in the mountains in Guatemala. We spent one day driving around several villages and the large city of Coban and were able to find only 10 books in a café run by an American- the books were actually her own children’s books that they outgrew.   Each trip we hope to build on the libraries that we helped the teachers build in each school.