Since it is Saturday, and no school, we had the opportunity to do home visits with Gita, a teacher at SGCP. Home visits are a part of SGCP’s services, teachers visit homes twice a year and some physical therapy is offered at home to train parents. The two students we visited, Supriya and Darshan, are sponsored by Trillium, as their families would not otherwise be able to afford to send them to school.
For Supriya, the visit is very timely as she will soon be transitioning to a regular school in her neighborhood. SGCP has been working on her mobility and life skills, so she is now able to get around with a walker, feed herself, and use the restroom independently–all criteria for her integration into a mainstream school. At her home the Gita and the parents talked about how some neighborhood families were wary of Supriya going to the local school and so they will plan to have Supriya’s younger sister attend the same school to model support. As Westerners, we were surprised by the informality of the meeting and the lack of discussion about logistics, such as how Supriya would navigate the steep stairs and unpaved, muddy terrain between her home and the school. But they just figure these things out, they don’t need the ten-point plan signed by all parties.
When we arrived at Darshan’s he was 532 pages into Harry Potter and had his Nepali-English dictionary out to look up “dazzle”. He is a talented writer and artist himself. Through SGCP he has learned to read and also write using a head switch to operate a computer. He is the only literate person in his home and the books are from SGCP’s library. For Darshan, he will continue to the long commute to SGCP since his school, which is across the street from his house, will not accept him.
Today’s home visits were a really powerful experience and certainly gave us a deeper understanding of barriers far beyond the cerebral palsy that these students face each day and also the resiliency they embody because of the creative support around them.