Jun 25, 2021

Meet "A" who Taught Herself Three Languages!

A and teacher Gabriela
A and teacher Gabriela

How does an almost 7- year old child whose native language is Romanian, teach herself to read fluently in English and is now working on acquiring Japanese and Russian?  And, by the way, she taught herself to read in Romanian as she does not yet go to school.

We almost wouldn't have believed it, if we hadn't met "A" ourselves!   And YES, you read that correctly... I got to meet "A" myself.... in person !!    Delia Foundation CEO Laura Larkin and I were finally able to travel back to Romania, having gotten permission from the Romanian Consulate as a humanitarian aide organization.  In June, we spent two weeks  in Barlad and the surrounding villages that we serve, spending time with "our" kids and foster families.  We got to give hugs to the special children living at the orphanage and meet with the orphanage director to start new plans in helping her build out an indoor/outdoor play space for the kids. Laura and I also got to deliver food to and check on some of the families who receive emergency meal supplies through our organization. 

The highlight of our visits is always getting to know the children who attend Delia's Learning Center. We are continually amazed by them and how much progress they make with the loving, careful guidance of our team of psychologist, teachers, and new speech therapist.  "A" astounded us with her potential. Her unique abilities have been directed so that in the fall she is now able to attend school, while still receiving support from our staff. 

Diagnosed with being on the autism spectrum, "A" had a good deal of behavioral issues when she came to us and did not understand how to properly socialize with other children, other than her younger brother. Our teachers soon realized that her keen intellect and inquiring mind had no outlet or focus. Little by little, with a lot of 1:1 attention, "A" has begun to learn how to interact more positively with others. 

Still wondering how "A" taught herself to read and speak other languages? When asked, she says "tv, the tablet."

There is no explanation other than that her beautiful mind works differently than others!  We are thankful to be able to embrace "A"'s differences and help her and our other kids with autism to grow according to their needs.

Special Note: While in Barlad, a well-known journalist from the region's most respected newspaper came to interview us and learn about Delia's Learning Center. The link to the article is below and will open in English if you copy the link into Google Chrome! Please read!  

Wishing everyone a beautiful summer on behalf of myself and co-founders Laura Larkin and David Conway.

Psychologist Lidia working with siblings "M" & "V"
Psychologist Lidia working with siblings "M" & "V"
Co-Founder Lauren plays a matching game with "A"
Co-Founder Lauren plays a matching game with "A"
The power of a snuggle with Co-founder Laura
The power of a snuggle with Co-founder Laura
Many benefits of speech therapy for autistic kids!
Many benefits of speech therapy for autistic kids!

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Mar 16, 2021

La Multi Ani! Happy Birthday !

La Multi Ani!    Happy birthday to us!

Spring has sprung in Barlad and our special kids are blooming!  

February marked two years since Delia's Learning Center opened our doors to special needs children in Barlad, Romania.  Last March, we moved into a more spacious new facility enabling each of our staff to have individual rooms to work with the children while still having larger spaces for group activitivies.

The move also gave us a small outdoor space. In just a few weeks, the weather will be warm enough for us to begin planting a vegetable and flower garden with the children. We can't wait!  

We are amazed at the progress the children are making. For some, that means gaining self-esteem and learning to work independently while for others it is learning the joy of reading. We share their excitement at learning to count and understanding basic mathematical concepts. Since many of our children have few social interactions with other kids, we are thrilled to see them now develop friendships and understand appropriate social behaviors during playtime.

So much to celebrate and be thankful for, despite the tumult of the past year. We want to take this moment to again thank you for being a part of our journey in making sure that ALL children have access to education.  Please take a moment to view the photos we are sharing. They will make your day!

Links:

Feb 24, 2021

A Journey and a Theme Song

People often ask about the challenges of running Delia's Learning Center in one of the poorest areas of the E.U.  Let me tell a story that will help you to understand some of the logistical hurdles but.. keep in mind the song "Aint no mountain high enough" is playng in the background.

Re-opening Delia's Learning Center in the midst of the pandemic posed a number of challenges. One of the biggest was HOW would our team be able to wear masks in compliance with Education Department guidelines and communicate effectively with our kids who have autistm or language-related disabilities.  Many of the kids were confused by the masks themselves at first, but there was the larger issue of them relying on seeing facial expressions fully.  The answer to this problem seemed simple: Use masks with a clear panel over the lips/mouth. But not so simple to find them in our in our Center's "neck of the woods."  So, we decided, "why not import them?"  With a speech pathologist's recommendation, we purchased the masks and shipped them off to Romania this fall.. and that's where their journey begin... our precious masks were held up in Romanian customs for three weeks and then rejected and returned to New York! No clue as to why!!  Our teachers and kids needed them so what to do? Ship them to England to our Co-Founder David Conway and have him send them off to Romania. (We knew shipping from the UK was easier). BUT then the UK went into a deeper lockdown and David was unable to get them shipped until late January!   A 3-month journey to ensure that our staff and kids can communicate better! 

 I am also sharing this story because we want our donors to know that we appreciate your financial support that made it possible to climb up that mountain to help our special kids learn and grow! 

 
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