Friday 23 November 2018

This time with reinforcements!

The blog is back!

The time it took for me to remember the log in details reminds me how long it's been since I was last at SCH. I miss those wonderful kids and am so excited to announce that I will be going back to SCH this summer with an amazing team of people!

I have always said that as much as i miss the kids, the staff and the place, i would never go back unless I could be helpful. It's not fair on the children to go simply for myself. Thinking about my skills and the skills of people around me, I realised one thing I have experience with is running amazing camps!

So that is what we're doing. We will go and spend 2 weeks running a fun, exciting and educational day camp for a group of the SCH kids. We will focus on communication skills and developing independence as well as giving the children a fun summer camp experience.

I am so excited to get going with organising this! 

So why shake the dust off the blog today? Well it's black friday. I know we don't do thanksgiving and it's all a corporate money making scheme but may as well make the most of it. As part of their black Friday deals amazon are currently selling the Fire tablets for under £30. These can be used with a range of apps to turn them into communication devices. Anyone whose been following my blog for a while will know that i am passionate about communication for all. I would love to be able to take some of these devices out to India to get the kids that need them set up with communication devices. So many of these kids are non-verbal but that definitely doesn't mean they have nothing to say!

So, please, consider purchasing an amazon fire tablet from this wish-list

 If you are not able to buy one but would like to send money towards one please let me know.

I promise to keep you updated with photos! 

Friday 23 September 2016

Dear Molly

Leaving SCH was hard. I miss the kids, staff and volunteers so much. I don't know yet when I'll next be able to go back. I am reminded of a song that I heard for the first time last time I got back from India and the words are so true.
Dear Molly,
I said goodbye to you for the second time 10 days ago. It has taken me a while to put my thoughts together but now I'm ready. I want to tell you how much I love you and how proud of you I am. You have achieved so much in the few weeks I spent with you. But more importantly than that, I am proud of you for working so hard. I know how difficult it was for you. And you could have given up. But you never did. Every day you worked as hard as you could and never gave up. Your determination inspires me every day.
I miss you every day. I think of you when I see children playing on a playground or clothes I think you'd like. I think of you when I eat food I think you'd like or see a book you'd love. I know you're doing well but it hurts that I can't be with you to see continue to learn and do amazing things.
I have never met anyone as amazing as you and I miss you every day. I feel so lucky to know you and you have taught me so much.
I hope you always no how much you are loved. I want you to know how many people are following your story and are supporting you the whole way. You are so special and I hope you know that.

Love Louise akka 

Thursday 8 September 2016

4o'clock is chai time

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will remember that last year I helped to make Molly a communication book. She grasped the concept quickly and one of the first things she said spontaneously was asking for chai. Well, she didn't really ask for chai, she said 'i want your drink' because I didn't think to put the word chai in the book. This time when I was preparing the computer I made sure I put the word chai in. This week has seen Mol begin to use the computer independently to make requests and talk about things. What did she ask for? You guessed it, she wanted chai! She now knows where chai is and will ask for chai at all times of day and doesn't care what question you ask her, the response is always 'chai' until she's had her afternoon cup. Can't really blame her to be honest!

Mol is also using her computer to communicate other things. One of her most used phrases (unsuprisingly for anyone who knows her) is 'when will good be ready?' She drives me mad by asking that every couple of minutes towards the end of the day but I'm so glad she has the opportunity to ask questions rather than just responding to other people.

Each day Mol is getting better at using eye gaze and is really understanding it's potential. Today she used it to really have a conversation with me for the first time. She was looking through the different pages and said 'auto' then looked at me and smiled. I then asked her where she wanted to go. She told me she wanted to go shopping. When I asked why she needed to go shopping she responded with 'chocolate'! She was very happy that she managed to tell me that but not so pleased when I said no... She thinks that she will get anything she asks for with the computer!

As my time here is coming to an end I am so glad I have been able to start her on her way to fluent and independent communication.

Monday 29 August 2016

When I grow up

A conversation with my dad last night for me thinking. We'd been talking about Stephen Hawking and what Mol might be able to do with her computer in the future. So today I decided to talk to Mol about these questions.

We started the afternoon by watching a video about space. Mol was captivated by it. She is normally very easily distracted by things going on around her but she was totally focused on this. I then told her that there was a very clever man called Stephen who had taught us lots about space and that he was one of the cleverest people alive. Then I showed her a picture of him. She was excited that he was in a wheelchair like her but screamed when we saw him talking because he uses a computer to talk too!

I then asked her what job she wanted to do when she grew up. I put some options on her computer and we talked about what each person does. I was pretty sure she'd choose teacher but she suprised me when she said 'when I grow up I want to be a scientist'. That's right everyone, Mol is going to be the next Stephen Hawking.

The rest of the afternoon was spent being a scientist. She decided she was going to be a chemist so we made the clothes (white coat and goggles) and collected items to use to make a new medicine.

When our concoction was made we spent some time talking about what it does, how to take it and who to give it to. It was such a great afternoon and I really saw Mol understand the full potential of the computer for the first time.

Mol, please continue to dream and explore and discover. I know you will do great things in your life. I hope you know that too. 

Sunday 28 August 2016

Fun with eyegaze

This week has overall been great. It's had its ups and downs but Molly is doing so weel with her eye gaze and is really enjoying it.

At the beginning of the week Mol was very frustrated with the whole thing. She got upset when she found something difficult and would close her eyes or look away to avoid doing it (she learly understands how it works!). I wanted to work on it with her but I was torn between pushing through it in the hope it would get better or leaving it a few days to see if we could recapture the excitement from the first couple of days.

In the end I decided to keep going, and I'm so glad I did! I made a few grids of activities I knew she liked for her and Lilly and allowed her to choose what we did. This week we have played snakes and ladders, played babies, dressed up, made things and spent lots of time on the bike. During all these activities I had Mol (and often Lilly) make choices or explain what to do using their communication devices. Mol particularly loves being able to say what her doll wants or needs!

This coming week I am hoping to use this enthusiasm and skill on the computer to begin working on academics with her. It will be a lot of trial and error (aka making it up as I go along) but I'm hoping to find a method that will work as she continues to learn both computer and academic skills. She is so clever, we just need to find the best way to teach her.

Yesterday afternoon we took a break from the computer and went with about half of Molly's foster home to the park down the road. Mol cycles all the way there! (I may have helped push in the uphill bits....). She loved being able to cycle to the park and it was great exercise for her. The park itself was great exercise for me! Having carried her down about 50 steps I then took her on the slide, the swings and up and down the grassy hill! It was quite the workout! I'm just sorry I forgot to take a camera.

Tuesday 23 August 2016


8 years ago SCH started with a handful of kids in a small village by the sea called ongole. Today SCH is home to over 150 children and almost 30 have been adopted. Most of the kids now love in Hyderabad where there is better access to schools and medical care. However some still live in ongole. On Monday I was able to meet there kids and see the beautiful village for myself.

After a 7 hour overnight bus ride (not nearly as bad as it sounds!) We arrived in ongole, just a a the village was waking up. We ate some dosa, got some chai then headed to faith home to meet the younger group of kids living in ongole. The children there, like the rest of the village, live a simple life. They do not have access to the same things as our children living in Hyderabad however they are doing so well. They all receive education, either at a local school of with teachers who come into their homes and are clearly very loved by their ayahs. The school boys live going to the park and the beach and were keen to show us photos of them when we arrived. It is so easy to think that buying things for these kids will make problems disapear. Seeing the ongole kids reminded me that is not always true. They showed me that a little can go a long way and reminded me to use what we have wisely, rather than getting new things.

After lunch we visited victory home. This is now home to the older boys but was once the only SCH home. It is amazing to see where the organisation I love so much started and to be able to see how much it has changed and grown. The boys are working on starting a vocational program in the village focused on agriculture and were keen to tell us how they had been learning to ride a bike!

After spending some more time with the younger kids we spent the evening exploring ongole. It is physically a very small city but I'm typical Indian fashion they cram a lot in to a small space. We headed to one of the main shopping streets where I got some new ankle chains (I was told they were super by selah this afternoon!) And then out to dinner before getting the bus back to Hyderabad.

It was a crazy day! Still can't quite believe it all actually happened but it was wonderful to see where SCH started and have some time to acknowledge how much it has developed over the last 8 years. I hope it continues to develop and improve over the coming years ad there is always work to be fine.

Friday 19 August 2016

India- season 2 episode 1

I've been in India a couple of days and already so much has happened! I've had a wonderful couple of days spending time with Mol and the other kids and catching up with friends.

I've wasted no time getting Mol using the computer! She already understands how it works and gets very excited by it! Today we used it to colour a picture and write a letter to her foster sister, teagan, who is recovering from an opperation. She also used the comunication section to tell me that she was worried about Teagan! Still not entirely sure if it was intentional or not but it's a great step either way in being able to communicate independently. 

Molly and Lilly have both been loving the adapted bike! It was such a struggle getting it here but seeing them smile as they do some really amazing exercise and PT makes that all worth it.

It's quite strange being back really. I'm some ways, so much has changed. Some kids have been adopted and new kids have arrived. Volunteers have come and gone and Molly has been potty trained. In other ways it feels like I never left. I settled straight back into working with the kids and still remember everything as if it was yesterday.

This weekend I will be making a plan of what to do with Mol to make the most of my time here. I am very aware that my time is limited but I know that if I do things right Mol will make amazing progress I  that time. I am so excited to see what Mol will tell us and learn more about what goes on in her head.