Special Intern for Special Needs Thai Kids:
Mundo Exchange Intern Jessica
Special needs is what we call children with developmental delay or physical challenges. The Thais have a way of saying something along the lines of brain and body don’t work normally, so I’m pleased to have instituted them using the words Special Needs Children. The teachers like it and understand that it sounds much nicer.
I visited a new school today to assess it for future volunteers, this week working with a class special needs children. I met their teachers, with all lovely names, one of which means sky blue and while it’s a lovely name she herself is not so lovely as she’s strict, seems obsessed with sharpening pencils and having order, which in my opinion is not the best personality for working with special needs kids. But as the day progressed there was a need to have the good cop, bad cop strategy. They are extraordinarily sweet and kind so it balances out.The kids are fantastic! So incredibly sweet and affectionate. I miss hugs and believe me, today, I got my fill. The children are 8 students, 3 with downs syndrome, 1 dyslexic boy and the others with developmental delays. We started the morning with exercises and counting (I can now count to 10 in Thai) and then watched videos with a woman singing and dancing. The kids loved my doing it with them. One little girl in particular loved doing this in front of the mirror and especially loved when I’d pop in behind her image. We did numbers and some animals in English and I was pleasantly surprised by their pronunciation abilities, which were more advanced than fully abled kids I’ve met thus far. We then painted and colour and I was amazed by their patience while waiting for setting up and by their individual talents. Staying in the lines with a watery paint brush was difficult for me but some of the kids were excellent at focusing. One of the little girls with downs syndrome has incredible penmanship with Thai letters.
I’ve worked with special needs kids in the past, one on one as a mediator, with boys with autism, multiple scororsis and a little girl with spinabifeda in the wealthy town of Aurora. These children are from poor farm families or without parents and they were equally as talented, as loving and as adorable. I’m looking forward to spending more time with them. I feel already that this would be an excellent volunteer placement for someone with experience working with special needs people. Of course, you must have patience and the heart to do so. It’s funny to me because I am a woman with no patience but when I’m in this setting I have the patience of a saint. It’s a wonderful thing to have the chance to be your best self.