Four ADA International Fellowship Program Hosts traveled to Brazil, Kenya and Tanzania to provide technical assistance to former Fellows as they implemented inclusive education projects planned during their Fellowships. Hosts from the University of Montana, University of South Dakota, University of Vermont and Minot State University travelled in the Fall of 2017.
Spring 2017 Hosts Selected for International Inclusive Education Travel
Four AUCD network members were selected to travel to Kenya, Tanzania and Brazil through the ADA International Fellowship Program, an inclusive education professional exchange initiative sponsored by U.S. Department of State and administered by AUCD and ICI-UMass Boston. The awardees are Martin Blair, Director of the Montana UCEDD, Evan Borisinkoff, Director for Research and Evaluation at the North Dakota UCEDD, Wendy Parent-Johnson, Director at the South Dakota UCEDD, and Amy Starble, Augmentative Communication Consultant with the Interdisciplinary Team (I-Team) at the Vermont UCEDD.
Dr. Blair, Dr. Borisinkoff, Dr. Parent-Johnson and Ms. Starble provided technical assistance to inclusive education projects implemented by ADA International Fellows from Kenya, Tanzania and Brazil who they hosted and trained at their UCEDD in April and May of this year. The projects, which the Fellows planned with them in the spring, address a wide range of education issues, including teacher training, early intervention for deaf-blind children, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) supports and services.
Each UCEDD awardee spent two weeks in their Fellow’s home country this autumn, engaging with children with disabilities, families, education leaders, government officials, and other stakeholders. They shared best practices with local advocates and service providers and will also connect with U.S. Embassy officials who promote educational exchanges between the United States and other countries.
Amy Starble supported ADA International Fellow Renata Bonotto in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Renata, the Executive Director of the Instituto Autismo e Vida (Autism and Life Institute), implemented a project that educates key Brazilian stakeholders in disability rights and education about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Renata’s project has informed teachers, speech and language pathologists, families and advocates about AAC methods applied at the Vermont UCEDD and how they can be used to address communication barriers and literacy challenges in children with disabilities.
Martin Blair supported ADA International Fellow Elizabeth Shiakamiri in Nairobi, Kenya. Elizabeth, a Programme Officer at the NGO Sense International, created an early intervention framework for Kenyan children with deaf-blindness/multi-sensory impairment at the Montana UCEDD. Her project enabled 30% of all deaf-blind children under the age of 3 in Kisumu County, Kenya to be enrolled in local early intervention programs of their family’s choice for the first time.
Evan Borisinkoff supported ADA International Fellow Martin Kavua in Nairobi, Kenya. Martin, a senior lecturer at the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE), collaborated with Dr. Borisinkoff at the North Dakota UCEDD to design a teacher training initiative that will share universal design for learning (UDL) methods and practices with lecturers at KISE, Kenya’s premier institution for teachers who support individuals with disabilities. The resources developed through the project will eventually inform more than 4,000 teachers who partner with KISE in delivering education to children with disabilities in Kenya.
Wendy Parent-Johnson supported ADA International Fellow Goodluck Chanyika in Moshi, Tanzania. Goodluck, a Programme Officer at the NGO Childreach Tanzania, is implementing a teacher training initiative called the ASET-KIE Project (Advancing Special Education Teachers’ Knowledge on Inclusive Education). Goodluck and Wendy will support ASET-KIE by developing an online educational network for teachers that can be used throughout Tanzania. Developed at the South Dakota UCEDD, Goodluck’s project remotely provides accessible virtual teaching resources that focus on Tanzanian Sign Language (TSL) and inclusive education principles.