Josías is a very energetic 6-year-old boy from the Acanceh community in Yucatán, Mexico, who has been attending the Tecoh special education school for three years. Josías has Cerebral Palsy as well as some visual difficulties such as strabismus.
Josías lives with his mother, father, sister, and brother, all of whom work together to make sure that Josías can live a full and happy life. Like many children his age, Josías loves playing with his classmates, singing, and dancing. His favorite food is pancakes and he loves baseball more than any other sport. Josías and his family regularly attend the community baseball game together, something that he especially loves since it combines two of his favorite things: his family and baseball.
In school, his teachers speak highly of his great motivation to participate in the same activities as his classmates and his continuous strive to do things for himself. While he may struggle with verbal communication, Josías is always looking for ways to communicate through vocalizations, objects, gestures, movements, and pointing. And his family is right there with him, supporting Josías and looking for new ways for him to communicate with the world around him.
With Perkins’ support and implementation of an Alternative Communication System, Josías’ communication, learning, and mobility have increased. The Alternative Communication System consists of a rewritable button that says short phrases in combination with images and the pointing of pictures and photos. Adaptations have been made to the materials he uses so that he can manipulate them to better express himself and communicate. His table and chair have also been adapted to allow for Josías to be more independent. To promote better posture when carrying out activities, a slant board was adapted for his wheelchair, so that Josías can implement this new communication style both at home and at school. With this adaptation, when asked something he can respond with gestures, vocalization, and using a board to express “yes” or “no.”
When Josías first started school, his mother said that his doctor had commented that he “was not going to be able to learn due to his characteristics.” Thankfully, his family, teachers, and Josías himself believed otherwise. The outpouring of support and confidence in Josías from his family and teachers has allowed him to advance and acquire skills that allow him to learn, improve his quality of life, and be a happy child; and above all to be an example to continue looking for alternatives, strategies, and options for a better education and better quality of life.