Glass Presents Community-Based Rehabilitation Workshops
Minnesota-native Teresa Glass and her Bolivian colleague Ana Marie Lanza visited Carmen Pampa April 1-3 to present a series of workshops about community-based rehabilitation. Teresa, a Spanish-speaking occupational therapist (OT) with a master’s degree in Holistic Heath Studies, is the author of a book about how under-resourced populations can build their capacity to better serve students with disabilities in partnership with parents, school staff, and the community.
The teaching and support model can easily be adapted by other rehabilitation centers, alternative schools and student support efforts. The model, which Teresa designed while living and working in Riberalta, Bolivia, as a Maryknoll Missionary, is the first of its kind in Bolivia and Teresa regularly visits Cochabamba and other cities in Bolivia to share her work through conferences and workshops.
Teresa’s work was influenced by the Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire and by other popular education methods. Ana Marie, a long-time resident of the Riberalta community and colleague of Teresa’s, helped to establish the community model by introducing Teresa to parents and community members and engaging them in the support of students with disabilities. As an outsider, Teresa noted that Ana’s assistance “was essential for meeting parents and gaining the community’s trust”.
The value of building local community capacity to support kids with special needs is that it will be sustained beyond the change of any specific staff persons. In addition, documentation is designed to maintain participation, prove results and raise dollars to support the effort.
At the College, the workshops were specifically marketed to UAC-CP students in the Education and Nursing Departments and seminars were well attended by students on both of the campuses. The Nursing Department offered a reception with refreshments and traditional dance performances on Tuesday night.