After an enriching experience hosting ADA International Fellow Renata Bonotto in April and May of 2017, the Center on Disability and Community inclsuion (CDCI) is delighted to announce our collaboration will continue into the fall. CDCI affiliate Amy Starble will be traveling to Brazil this October to assist Bonotto in her work to educate stakeholders in disability rights and education about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).
Early in 2017, CDCI applied to host a participant of the ADA International Fellowship Program. This fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and provides participants the opportunity to learn about inclusive education practices in the United States. Fellows are comprised of mid-career professionals from Brazil, Kenya, Peru, and Tanzania and are selected through a competitive application process. These leaders take the information and practices learned during their time at the host site to implement change in their own communities. Renata Bonotto of Porto Alegre, Brazil was matched with CDCI. Renata works as an independent consultant, collaborates with Instituto Autismo & Vida and is the Vice President to the South Region for ABRAÇA (Brazilian Association for Action for the Rights of People with Autism. During her time in Vermont, Renata worked closely with the Vermont Interdisciplinary Team (I-Team), a project that helps support teams of family members, educators, and professionals work with students with disabilities so that they can experience and access inclusive education. Starble is an Educational Speech Pathologist and is an Augmentative Communications Consultant for the I-Team. Both Renata and Amy are vibrant and caring individuals. It is impossible to miss the passion they feel for their work and is no surprise the two collaborated so well together this spring.
Amy will be travelling to Brazil to help Renata with her implementation of a project to inform teachers, speech and language pathologists, families, and advocates about AAC methods. The two will share how AAC is used here in Vermont and it can be used to address communication barriers and literacy challenges in children with disabilities.
As a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, CDCI has acted as a bridge between the community, the university to better the lives of those who experience disabilities for over 40 years. We are thankful and impassioned to be sharing what Vermont has learned with the international community.