By Krysten Watson, a member of the SkillCorps Dominican Republic July 2017 team
Calls of “Muy bien!!!” ring throughout the building of Aprendo as I write this. The staff’s excitement for their children’s progress is infectious. There is so much love here for the clients whom the therapists refer to as their “babies.” I love it.
While there is a language barrier, it is not a blockade. Applied Behavior Analysis transcends language, as do love and excitement. The therapists here are so committed to their “babies” that they do not appear to be perturbed by a group of Americans coming in and observing them. Rather, they are grasping the situation as an opportunity to ask questions. LOADS of questions. “How would you…?” “What should I do when…?” “What do you think about…?” “Sometimes my baby does this and I don’t know what to do…” and so on and so forth. It doesn’t matter that my Spanish is terrible (I formally learned French, and picked up bits of Spanish at a restaurant job years ago) or that their English isn’t perfect. We speak to one another in English, Spanish, (French, sometimes), and animated pseudo-sign-language. We are able to get the point across to one another and teach each other our native languages as we do so.
Aprendo, and each individual therapist, wants their children to succeed and we want them to succeed in their goals. Together, we are making it happen. What a beautiful partnership. <3