In Jo's Blog

For some kids, talking is hard, if not impossible. Sakshi’s cerebral palsy has given her a range of distinctive movements and she has difficulty getting words out. But while talking is tough, thinking is not. Sakshi is a bright, articulate girl with a whole lot to say. Her opinions and viewpoints are firm and she is impatient with people who underestimate her.

Having friends who understand and support her helps her succeed in school and in life.Our friend and recent volunteer Terri Moyer saw that in action when Sakshi teamed up with Reanna to enact the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Sakshi had the story down pat and she knew how it all had to play out. Reanna helped beautifully by being her voice, but the action was Pure Sakshi.

She had Goldilocks in her arms and the three bears, in the proper range of sizes, all lined up, ready to come forward for their turns.

Girl with CP in red, sitting on floor holding stuffed bears in her armsShe had the plates of porridge, ready for tasting, with a spoon in each one.

Girl with CP, in red, sitting on floor holding Goldilocks. Small, medium and large bowls lined up in front of her.And though talking is a challenge and she couldn’t say the words, she had the entire story down pat, she had memorized the sequence in which it took place (don’t miss the three beds behind her) and she had mastered the art of the dramatic pause.

Look at the expression on Sakshi’s face!  She’s thrilled with herself. Reanna is having a great time too. And Terri? Terri said that getting to know Sakshi was the highlight of her two months here in India. “Such an amazing girl,” she sighed admiringly on her last night in Dehradun. “I learned so much from her.”

Me too. What I love most about this vignette is Sakshi’s confidence. She’s knowledgeable and in control. She is clear about her ability to communicate, to share a story, yet also aware and not one bit embarrassed about needing Reanna’s help for the spoken parts. It’s a perfect example of accepting limitations (talking) without letting them determine possibilities (communication).

There is so much going on here:

Working from strengths and finding alternate strategies. Learning by doing and helping children to help each other.

Inclusive, activity-based education is good education. We could do with a lot more of this.

(Thanks, Terri Moyer, for the video and the wonderful photos!)

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