Saturday, 17 July 2010


At preschool I work with two boys, Antonio and Santos. Both have learning difficulties; Antonio also has a speech impediment, for which I am ludicrously underqualified to help with. Given that I rarely understand the spanish of the other children, my attempts to help him are an absolute fiasco. I wish I could get him to see a speech therapist. He´s quite a character - at some point i'll try to post a link to a video i took of him playing air guitar with a plantain leaf.

As for Santos, he can be chatty or standoffish, depending on the day. His teacher explained to me that his mother leaves for work at 5 am and doesn´t get home until 7 pm, so his main caretaker is a sister, sixteen years old and married with children. Also, she added, (not bothering to lower her voice, which is common among adult conversation in the classroom here and frankly makes me uncomfortable) the other mothers says she likes to have "mucho vino" at fiestas. All in all, it doesn´t sound like a great environment, so I try to be affectionate with him, though he doesn´t tend to take to it. I understand that not every kid can have a disposition like Olga, who ran two blocks after me one day because she´d forgotten to give me a goodbye kiss.

Anyway, on my third day Santos arrived with a wad of gum stuck in his hair. He kept his head permanently tilted as if someone was pulling it down, and whimpered. I asked if we could cut it out, the director said his mom would get mad. I asked if we could use some peanut butter and was told we´d have to go "all the way to the city for that." The next day he came to school with his head shaved, eager to tell me, as always, about what he´d seen on TV the night before. I worked with both him and Antonio on colors, which has been my project for the week. It´s feels futile that I looked up colorblindness online, having heard that it is common among boys, but the descriptions I found suggested that the mistakes colorblind children would make should have very specific patterns. This isn´t true for either of these boys, who after five days can still neither name any colors nor reliably match them.

On my final day of before preschool got out for summer, only Santos came to school. I was absolutely determined. I decided that the color palette had been a developmentally unreasonable goal and decided to focus the entire morning on green (verde). Towards the end of the period, he was still pointing to red and yellow when I asked him to find green. However, when I walked him back to his classroom, I halfheartedly asked ¨what color are the trees?¨´ I nearly fell over when he said "verde." On the other hand, it had only been five minutes since we reviewed. I probably won't see him again, since I never notice him out with the other kids in the central garden at dusk. So I guess I just have to hope he'll still remember tomorrow.

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