For Christmas, holiday, or end-of-the-year greeting, buy hand-painted cards

In connection with Amizade and CEOLI, Marvin and Marti Wachs, members of NCPOA, offer beautiful hand-painted greeting cards.  For the 8th year in a row, this greeting card project supports disabled young people in Cochabamba, Bolivia.   Some of you have recently served as volunteers in Bolivia, and some of you have graciously bought these cards in the past.  Whatever your connection or involvement, we hope you will consider purchasing CEOLI cards this year.  In 2010 we have several new artists.  You can read about them in the biography section of our website.  We also have a new art teacher

Professors bring autism expertise to Bolivia

Linda Watson and Betsy Crais are professors of speech and hearing sciences

Linda Watson (left) and Betsy Crais (right) are professors of speech and hearing sciences who have dedicated much of their careers to working with autism spectrum disorder.

Linda Watson and Betsy Crais are familiar with the extensive journey many Americans find themselves on when trying to acquire services for children with autism spectrum disorder.

As professors of speech and hearing sciences in the Department of Allied Health Sciences and part of UNC’s Program for Early Autism, Research, Leadership and Service (PEARLS), they have made autism screening, early detection and research the center of their academic lives.

This past summer, they took that experience abroad, traveling with a group to Bolivia, where autism services lag far behind what can be found in the United States.

There, they helped clear a path for the children and families who lack the robust, well-organized resources for help that are more common in America.

Partners of the Americas, an organization that links people in the United States with people in Latin American and Caribbean countries based on common interests, had identified a need for autism assistance in Bolivia. They contacted Patsy Pierce, a former UNC faculty member in speech and hearing sciences who had worked with the group concerning other childhood disabilities.

Pierce led them to Watson and Crais. At first the professors, who knew neither the language nor the culture of the country, weren’t confident their expertise would translate.

Unlike some medical outreach where vaccines, medicines, extra hands and equipment can make an immediate impact, breakthroughs in autism would have to come a different way.

Still, they agreed to help find that way. “We’re helpers. That’s just the profession we’re in,” Crais said.

Having an impact would mean bolstering the capacity to provide necessary services in Bolivia, Watson said. “We had to figure out what they needed first,” she said.

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Surgery Team Treats Burn Victims in Cochabamba

Carlos Vargas reports a successful medical team visit in March with 5 plastic surgeons doing approximately 105 surgical procedures in over 45 children (which brings the total to over 710 procedures in 7 years!) and 2 endoscopic-laparoscopic surgeons performing 15 endoscopic surgeries. On the ENT side, over 50 patients were seen.

New Arts and Culture Initiative

Art Waber and Silvia Quiroga have been colaborating to bring a Cochabamba-based modern dance choreographer Ana Cecilia Moreno to NC.

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