Hello all, and greetings from a (finally!) sunny day in Moshi town!! The rainy season appears to have done with, and we are now in just the kipindi cha baridi (season of cold), though of course "cold" is a relative term when you live on the Equator....
Anyhoo, this past April, while I was busy turning 40 and roasting goats and whatnot, my Toa Nafasi colleague, Dr. Angela Stone-MacDonald, was engaged in presenting The Toa Nafasi Project as well as her own scholarship at the annual convention for the Council for Exceptional Children in San Diego, California. She has provided us with a brief account of the event below.
And, as Angi says, she is going to be repping the Project at another conference in just a couple weeks in Poland, so we shall have her testimony from that very soon. Seems Special Education is of worldwide interest this Spring: from Moshi, Tanzania to Boston, Massachusetts to San Diego, California to Wroclaw, Poland!
In April, I attended the Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention held in beautiful and sunny San Diego. For me, this conference was fantastic for many reasons not necessarily in this order: 1) Sun and warmth after a brutal Boston winter, 2) An opportunity to share the amazing work that we are doing at Toa Nafasi and the incredible results, and 3) An opportunity to see and work with wonderful colleagues.
My session was on Saturday morning on the last day of the conference on an absolutely beautiful day that was warmer than most during the conference. I knew from experience that there would be a small crowd for the poster, but that just meant that those who came were really interested and dedicated to learning more about work displayed.
About 15 -20 people walked through the room during the poster session and I spoke individually with five people including three for a very long time. People were impressed with the work. One woman was familiar with the school in Lushoto where I had done my dissertation research and we discussed the differences in the model and the advantages and disadvantages of working in an inclusive setting. Another women from the Division of International Special Education Services (DISES) wanted to know how I got involved in the Project. It was very gratifying to say that I got connected in Tanzania through a friend in DISES and then expanding the work to The Toa Nafasi Project. Overall, it was very productive and worthwhile.
I will be presenting at the end of June an hour-long presentation on the results so far from the Project at the International Association of Special Education Conference in Wroclaw, Poland. I will have a full report and photos from that event in about a month.
Here is the poster I presented.
Stone-MacDonald, A. (2015). Assessment and Curriculum Supports for 1st Grade Students With Mild Disabilities in Tanzania. Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, April, 2015.