About a 30 minute drive from Ubud, there is a special village, where Ibu Gusti has lived with her family. Her father was a very talented carver prior to the bombings & their property was used to create amazing pieces of work. Today it provides education for all. It’s a safe & caring center. It is calm, well organized & emotionally supporting to all.
In the morning children with learning challenges come to the center. In the afternoon typical children who need support in regular subjects, attend.
I enjoyed watching a special teacher work with 4 children with special needs who had been deemed, un-teachable or asked to leave their area’s public school do to their overactive behavior. They sat on a soft pillow in a circle just like their peers. Their eyes were engaged in the story read by their teacher just like their typical peers. They answered questions & all appeared too really like the story, just like their regular peers.
Most of these children appear to have cognitive delays & one perhaps attention deficit disorder. All have challenges learning to read, write & learn math. The girls came with their heads down with fears of offering anything.
At this well-structured center with people who believe in their capability, they learn. The center is using visual pictures to support, slower pace teaching & first teaches them to be clean & well groomed. This gives them pride.
Ibu Gusti & I spoke about some additional strategies that might help the children learn to write & color. We discussed some ideas on how teach math & reading in more practical ways, instead of through memorization or ditto work. She is going to start, in the new school year, having the students make shopping lists & obtain specific numbers of items to learn quantity. She will also have them cut fruits & count the slices & also begin to see times during the day they can count out items each other need. It is also my hope to bring them the Hand Writing without Tears Program next year & demonstrate how to use at their center. I explained how they might use different grades of sandpaper for tracing the letters of the alphabet or learning to color in lines. We talked about using grips on pencils to help, slant boards for writing & to read books about Balinese children instead of books from other countries.
We discussed how to prepare her students to go visit community places (shops, museums, post office) by using Carol Gray’s Social Story method of using pictures & words to describe those activities before going. We discussed her reading these stories the whole week before they go to the new place. This will prepare them, reduce anxiety, increase communication & understanding.
All four children finished their coloring project, we celebrated their success & their smiles were huge!!!