My Life In India
Because, really, it is about time!
Okay, here is what happened. India decided that it no longer liked Weebly (this website platform that I use to publish blog posts). I could no longer access my blog while here, per some sort of governmental regulation, which I didn’t quite understand. I still don’t quite understand, but the ban on Weebly has been lifted in India and therefore, I can write to you all again!
So, it is with great urgency that I finally share with you my student, Chloe. September 27th, 2017 marked three years at SCH for Chloe. Three years of immeasurable growth, laughter, joy, and absolute love. For this kiddo especially I am eager to see what unfolds before her, I am eager to see what beautiful blessings life brings here in the years to come. I am eager to see what beautiful blessings she brings others—again, I know with certainty it will all be too wonderful and too immeasurable.
Chloe is the energy found between the pendulum bounce of two swinging pigtails. She is pure smiles and a holy, endless laugh that bubbles up into the air and runs through your brain and sticks with you a bit longer than all the rest. Her laugh is strung together by the Creator of the Heavens.
The way Chloe puzzle pieces words and thoughts together daily reminds me that this girl is earthshattering. Her brilliance is truly inconceivable. Her experience and interaction with the world is a dialogue I feel so privileged to observe. She is brave. Bold to try and to learn and to grow and to understand and to play part in all that unfolds around her. Her exuberance reminds me to fall in love with learning and exploring and discovering and living everyday.
Chloe has pluck; she has kindness; she has imagination; she has incredible growth behind her and in front of her.
Chloe is an expanding universe.
About Her Vision
As you all know, all of my students have visual impairments. Chloe is totally blind. She has bilateral congenital anophthalmia. She is a braille reader, and relies on tactile information to participate in activities and interact with her environment. Chloe very efficiently uses all of her available senses to process and synthesize the information she gathers into clearer concepts and new understanding about the world she lives in.
About her Academic Skills
Chloe is working on so much right now! It is marvelous to see.
About her ECC Skills
To quote an old blog post... The ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum) is something I will mention over and over again in my blogs, so here is a simple definition: The ECC embodies the skills individuals with visual impairments need to live independent lives, to successfully interact with the world around them, and to engage with the appropriate learning materials. Depending on the individual's level of vision, their ability to learn through observation is limited to hands-on, interactive instruction. For this reason, specialized educators, provide instruction in the following categories and their respective subsets of skills: (1) assistive technology, (2) compensatory skills, (3) career education, (4) recreation and leisure, (5) orientation and mobility, (6) sensory efficiency, (7) social skills, (8) self-determination, and (9) independent living skills.
There is so much to say about Chloe's developing skills in each of these areas, but for today, I will focus on two: Orientation and Mobility and Social Skills.
About her Academic Journey
In a long ago blog about my student Jeanette, I wrote a bit about her academic journey. Here, I will reiterate the sentiment that I fully believe that my students’ unique histories should be told at their own discretion. However, I think Jeanette’s story and Chloe’s story are both so similar to so many children around the globe who go without equality in their education because of a misunderstanding of their disability.
Like Jeanette, Chloe is not currently attending a local school here in India. Chloe was registered to begin school in June. She would have been attending a mainstream school, two days a week, with the support of our incredible teacher, Nimitha. Because of changes in staff and management, the school originally delayed her admittance until July before finally and ultimately denying her entry. The school created every excuse to deny her. In their rejection, they have demeaned and belittled her because of their ignorance and fear.
Chloe is more than they could ever possibly conceive, ever possibly imagine. She is more than the predetermined limitations they have wrongfully assigned her.
Without school, Chloe is still getting a wonderful variety of services. She goes to LV Prasad for braille instruction on Monday through Thursday. She also goes to voice and music lessons Wednesday afternoons. Also, on Wednesdays, she also goes to dance class!
At home, Chloe receives instruction in small group or one-on-one settings with four instructors: Nimitha, Elizabeth, Nikki, and myself. In these classes she works on a variety of developmental, conceptual, and academic skills. I am confident that we can provide her with valuable instruction. I am confident that we can build an enriching environment for her to thrive in, but there are so many lessons that a structured school setting would be able to provide that is difficult for us to replicate.
My Dreams for Her Future
This is the last and probably the must important piece of my blog. This is the stuff I keep closest to my heart. This is the stuff that churns in my mind in every, every, every spare moment. This is what I dream, pray, yearn for Chloe's--and every child's--life. There is not much I can say besides these three points: Family, Education, Independence.
I say these things over and over about my students, but I hope that their absolute significance is not lost in their repetition. I hope that these dreams will not become commonplace or overlooked no matter how often I utter them. I hope, rather, that our desire to see them fulfilled will become more resolute, more absolute, bigger, fierier, all-consuming.
This girl is a world-changer, hope-breather; she is a lionheart.
Thank you for reading!
I ask that you join me in prayer for these things, these wonderful wonderful things in her life. I also ask that you consider how you can be part of her life. Check out the links below to support Chloe!