What did you wake up to on Friday? We woke up to the ocean.
No, I’m not on vacation but God’s beauty can be found in any situation. Even a sleep-deprived, humid one. We were up bright and early, (thanks to Bessie’s alarm clock still running on California time), and then up again to a wonderful breakfast on the ocean. Literally. We hit the road for the hour drive to Rivas to a school called Sor Maria Romero. This school is labeled a “special school” and serves children from the entire state of Rivas with special needs. There were four classrooms at this school; one for the young children (preschool/early elementary), one for later elementary kids, one for teenagers that were deaf/Hard of Hearing, and one for older students (high schoolers). These students had various disabilities, including Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Cognitive Impairments, and (of course), deafness.
When we arrived, the students were heading out to PE, so we were able to observe and interact with them for about a half hour prior to delving into therapy. We were able to assess motor skills, language skills, social skills, and established relations amongst the children. The music therapists started with three older elementary students, while the rec therapist and the SLP started with the little ones. After a half hour, we switched classrooms. We tried incorporating various musical experiences in a short amount of time to show the classroom teachers what they can do with their students. We did movement, following directions, labeling body parts, identifying colors, vocab building (animals and fruits), instrument playing, turn taking, and speech.
The students then took a fifteen minute “breakfast” break. When they returned, we spent some time with the deaf teens, which was Amy and Bessie’s ABSOLUTE favorite part. Spanish sign language is very similar to ASL, so we were able to communicate between our language barriers. We strummed the guitar while the students set their hands on the body of the guitar. We then played the drums, feeling their vibrations. Lastly, we spent some unstructured time with the three high school students, two of whom had DS, and one student with Cerebral Palsy that was in a wheel chair. The girl with DS was a self proclaimed rockstar, took the guitar and promptly started singing “Twinkle Twinkle” in Spanish. The students only attend school for five hours a day, so they departed at noon. We have since had lunch, visited crazy artistic Americans that live in Nicaragua, and wrote a blog post.