This morning we went to visit two schools in Parintins that serve children with special needs. The first school, Glauber Viana Goncalves, has students of all ages with a variety of disabilities, such as Down’s Syndrome and Autism. The school employed a variety of professionals–special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, and physical therapists, among others. The school was great–the children seemed very happy, and the professionals working with them were doing a wonderful job. It’s gratifying that even in such a remote part of Brazil there are services available for these children.
The second school we visited was Escola Audio Comunicacao Padre Paulo Manna, a school for the Deaf. We were able to meet some of the students and teachers and take a tour of their classrooms, gym, cafeteria, and theater. Theater is a big part of the school–one of the teachers is very interested in theater production and every year they put on a big performance. We were able to watch a DVD of two of their shows, and we were totally amazed at how elaborate their shows were. One of the shows took place in an entirely darkened room, and the performers wore white gloves that glowed in the dark–the sight of sign language glowing in the dark was very striking! Both shows described the history of the Amazon region of Brazil. I’ve noticed that the people of Parintins are very proud of their heritage and the history of Amazonas.