Singular Minds
July 5, 2005 • Volume I, Issue 11
Prolinguistica Dyslexia Correction Center
Laura Zink de Diaz

Quote of the Month
"In 1987, the National Academy of Education pointed out that "many of the personal qualities that we hold dear--resilience in the face of stress, a sense of craft in our work, a commitment to justice and caring in our social relationships, etc., are exceedlingly difficult to assess. And so, unfortunately, we are apt to measure what we can, and eventually come to value what is measured over what is left unmeasured. The shift is subtle and occurs gradually."


Back from Colombia. It was a very interesting couple of weeks, and I learned a great deal. One of the things I learned is that Colombia today is very different from Colombia of just a few years ago. The region I was in is very secure; there is no insurrectionist violence there, nor has there been for quite some time. A few years ago, Colombians had given up traveling between cities by land because anyone in a car could be kidnapped either by left wing revolutionaries or right wing para-miltaries, and put to work in the coca fields that provide the funding for both sides of the 40-year old conflict there. But these days, particularly in the Andean region of the country, security is good enough that people have begun traveling by car again. There was not a single moment during my two weeks there when I didn't feel every bit as safe as I would at home.

Bucaramanga, where my clients live, is a city of about 550,000. It's located in the Andes, at about 3,500 feet, and the temperature was about 78 degrees throughout my stay. The humidity was intense though, so if felt much warmer. There's a major fault that runs through that area of the country, so Bucaramanga is prone to earthquakes and tremors. There have been no major earthquakes in Bucaramanga in the last 35 years or so, and I felt no tremors while I was there.

A modern city, with malls, wide streets full of cars and buses, cell phones, cable TV with programing in English as well as Spanish, great traditional Colombian food to be had in many excellent restaurants, as well as McDonald's for those who just have to have some fast food now and then. On the outskirts of the city is a lovely colonial town called "Girón" where all the buildings either date from the early 1900s, or are built in that style. In Girón it's against the law for any business sign to stand out from the wall it's posted on - no electric or neon signs allowed. Sleepy, tranquil, gorgeous parks and ancient churches, cobblestone streets with narrow sidewalks, it's a favorite place for "Bumangueses" to get married. (Me, I'd like an office there!)

Beautiful country. Birds singing strange songs all day, tropical plants in bloom, houses are built to let nature in, in fact, you feel as if you live half in and half outside most of the time. Visitors like me need a bottle of "Off" or "Cutters" though, as a variety of biting and stinging insects wander in and out along with the birds and humans, and window screens seem not to have been discovered yet.

Schools there are demanding. I worked with two high school students. When asked how many classes they were taking, they both answered "twenty." Impossible, you may think... but you'd be wrong. They do indeed take 20 classes all year long, but this is managed by most of them not meeting every day. Just as much to learn, but less instructional time. In case any of you experience "math anxiety", note that in Colombia you can't get a high school (bachillerato) diploma without passing Calculus. Bachillerato is actually the equivalent of our highschool diploma and a two-year stint a a community college, so those students who make it through are quite well educated.

It was a great experience and I'd not hesitate to return. In fact, I'm hoping to go back in January and give a talk on dyslexia to teachers, who have little to no information about it. By January it'll be chilly enough here that the heat of Bucaramanga will be very welcome!

Clay Fest!
This summer we won't have clay nights. Instead, we're having a Clay Fest! Clay Fest starts this Thursday, July 7. From that date until mid-August we'll have a clay session twice a week, from 1 to 4 pm. Dates are:

July 7,
July 12, 14
July 19, 21
July 26, 28
August 2, 4
August 9, 11
August 16, 18

These sessions are for current and former clients and their parents and are free.
A great opportunity to get a good number of models made before school starts!!

Support Group
This month's support group meeting will be July 21, at 7 pm.!

Good Stuff to Read

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says
Only one thing to read this month. Steve Jobs, one of the original founders of Apple Computer, was the graduation speaker at Stanford University in June. His speech is inspirational and well worth reading. You'll find it at:

Thanks, and have a great month!

Next Issue of Singular Minds: August 1, 2005 (approximately!)

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