Transitions Special Education Classroom volunteer, Caitlin Smith, finished her first month with a new perspective of the needs and potential of children with disabilities in Guatemala. She has witnessed the impact that Transitions has on children and their families in San Antonio, a rural community about 20 minutes from Antigua. Caitlin recently reflected on her time in the classroom.
The students in the Transitions Foundation’s special education classroom in Colegio Emmanuel in San Antonio Aguas Calientes all shine for different reasons. Some of the students stand out in their ability to read and write – like Osiel, whose abilities so far surpass copying words from the board that he spends writing class jotting down song lyrics from memory. Other students are working on one specific project through which they are able to enhance and develop multiple skills. Lourdes and Rony, for example, have been stitching numbers, patterns and their names into pieces of cloth.
The special education teachers, Edson and Andrea, make the most of the limited reasons in the classroom by using alphabet puzzle pieces to practice spelling. Celia and Julissa are two students who may have difficulty writing with a pen and paper, but with Edson and Andrea’s creative methods are able to show off their ability to spell and recognize names, words and letters using puzzle pieces.
On top of the impressive academic programs, the Transitions Foundation’s special education classroom also provides students with the opportunity for physical activity and life skills practice. Osiel, who came to Transitions 17 years ago unable to walk, is now the goalie in the almost daily soccer games at the school. Odalis and Samuel showed off their cooking skills when the class took a break from its regular routine to make a pizza. With such a diverse curriculum tailored to each individual student’s abilities and needs, the Transitions Foundation’s special education program creates extraordinary opportunities for academic and personal growth for its students.