Our clinical experience at Fundacion Crecer continued to be challenging but rewarding when we had the opportunity to administer the Spanish version of the WISC-R to a boy who we suspected may have neurological deficits as well as learning disabilities. What made this case especially challenging was the sparse amount of information we had about his history. What we did know was that he grew up on the border between Ecuador and Columbia and most likely did not receive formal education until he arrived in Guayaquil at 8 years old. Additionally, he suffered a serious head-wound from falling on a rock at some point before his family moved. One reason the history was limited is because his mother passed away from AIDS and his father left the family and is currently unavailable.
Part of the challenge of administering the WISC (aside from it being in our second language) was that it was a much older version of the test, which was an important reminder to us of the psychological resources (or lack thereof) available to here. Furthermore, this particular test was normed on children in Argentina, which is not necessarily an accurate representation of cognitive abilities here in Ecuador. Finally, all of us trained on the WISC-IV, which has several significantly different subtests from the WISC-R and a different method of scoring and interpretation.
Over the course of two days we were able to administer the entire test and are currently working with a local psychologist to score the test and write the most “culturally competent” report possible. We hope that the report will be used to secure additional testing and ultimately a more appropriate educational placement for this child who is currently repeating his third year in the same grade. Despite these challenges, we are optimistic that we will be able to effectively intervene on this child’s behalf.
To end our time at Fundacion Crecer we had an informal conference with the Director of Fundacion and our liaison from Blue Hill College, Johnny Gonzalez, to discuss all the children we’d seen and provide our observations and recommendations for future treatment. We were touched to hear how much our work had meant to the director and to the children, and that our partnership had been fruitful for all parties. We left feeling like the work we had done mattered and that they are looking forward to continuing the work with the group that comes next year. It was a good reminder of why being a part of this program is so important and how much we can and do contribute to populations in need.
- Aly, Lorin, Rachel