Sunday, January 29, 2012

Walking Tour

This week at work was intense, as I completed almost the entire outline for the professional development course. The director of the program is proposing it to the Region to ask for funding next week. (Send prayers and positive thoughts this way so we get the financial support we need!) Also, I have a presentation coming up on February 10th that I have to do at a Fulbright meeting. Things have been very busy at the office!

Needless to say, it was very nice to spend all of yesterday enjoying Roma. Here are some pictures of my day.

Piazza di Spagna

Spanish Steps & Trinita dei Monti (the church at the top)

A walk way that led to art galleries...

Gelateria that I thought was cute...

Then I turned a corner and literally stumbled upon the Pantheon. WOW.
I grabbed a piece of pizza and sat on the steps just starting at it.

 The ceiling of the Pantheon...

I met up with my friend from work and she took me on an amazing walking tour to the other main sights of Rome, as well as some hidden treasures.

Below is a beautiful Basilica close to the Pantheon.  Right around the corner from here we went to an amazing Gelateria that had 100 different flavors. DELICIOUS.

Fontana di Trevi!
There is a legend that says if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you are ensured to return to Rome someday. Also, my friend said that every wish she has made while throwing a coin into the fountain has come true. Ha! So I chose my wish VERY wisely.

The money in the fountain is used to subsidize a market for people in need in Rome.

We walked down quaint and beautiful streets with jewelry and furniture shops...

Piazza Navona

We found a Gelateria that allows groups to come watch them make the gelato! It's on my to-do list.

The nativity in front of Basilica di San Pietro 
(more commonly referred to as "The Vatican" by Americans)

The Vatican!

Rome has definitely earned its place in my heart.

More to come soon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Multi-Sensory Laboratory

I wanted to take a picture and show everyone where the children who are deafblind receive early intervention services in Italy. However, I realized all of that information is already on the website.  Johnson & Johnson funded the creation of this multi-sensory laboratory last year, and these are the first and only early intervention services provided specifically for children who are deafblind in Italy.

Side note: the organization just changed its name from Robert Wirth Fund Onlus to Centro Assistenza per Bambini Sordi e Sordociechi (CABSS).

Go to the link below and you will find a picture and an explanation of the multi-sensory laboratory.

It's a very exciting project and the first step in expanding early intervention services for kids who are deafblind in Italy! Deafblindness was not recognized as a unique disability in Italy until May of 2010, so this is very exciting that there is recognition of the specific needs of children with this unique disability. I am helping the team at CABSS develop a professional development course in the field of deafblindess, so that more teachers, teacher's assistants, speech therapists, etc. are knowledgeable about deafblindness. The program is looking for funding for this professional development course so they can bring in experts in the field from around the world. I have had one Skype conference so far with one of the presenters that is planning to come for the professional development course that starts in May 2012.

Today I am also starting a child-guided assessment on a few children who are deafblind. The assessment will give the team valuable information about their functional use of any residual vision and hearing they have, as well as their communication and problem solving skills.

I hope everyone is having a great day!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Photos of the Week

Treats from the Pasticceria across the street from work...

Tiramisu to go. Yes, it tastes as good as it looks!

One of many Basilicas

Circo Massimo

(Previously used for chariot races)

Mini canolis 

I think I have fallen in love with the Colosseum...

Near Piazza Venezzia

Italian flag made of lights!

Hope everyone had a great week!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Roberto Wirth Fund Onlus

The host organization that I am working with in Rome is called the Roberto Wirth Fund Onlus (onlus means charity/non-profit). The office is housed on the 3rd floor at the Institute for the Deaf. The Institute for the Deaf provides services for Deaf adults, but there is also a bilingual elementary school (Italian Sign Language- LIS & spoken Italian) in this building.

RWF supports Deaf and Deafblind children and their families. Here is the link to the website if anyone is interested. There is information in both English and Italian.

Robert Wirth is a Deaf man who is a hotel owner. The hotel he owns is called Hotel Hassler, a 5 star hotel overlooking the Spanish Steps in Rome. It's ranked among the top hotels in the world...definitely worth taking a look at the website.

I haven't had a chance to meet him yet, but I will soon. I've heard he is a very intelligent and kind man. He studied at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. for awhile, so he knows American Sign Language (and of course Italian Sign Language (LIS)). I have met three Deaf Italians this week who know ASL because they studied at Gallaudet, so it has been nice to be able to communicate that way!

RWF consists of 4 women, one is a psychologist and specializes in Deafness, and another is an Intevenor from Canada (a person who works with a person with deafblindness), one women organizes fund raising events, and another woman coordinates the budget and other logistics. All of the women are wonderful and extremely dedicated to their work. The office is open from 9:30 to 5 daily, so those will be my hours for my time in Rome. A lunch break usually happens around 1 to 2 pm. I am practicing my Italian language skills with these ladies throughout the day, however when discussing specifics of my project, we speak in English so that everything is clear.


Here are a few pictures of my new home...
The bed on the right is mine, the bed on the left belongs to Federica.

Afternoon coffee. 

The neighbor's balcony.

My laundry drying...hooray for being able to do laundry!

View of the street. There is a little bit of construction going sidewalks.

The kitchen.

Il bagno.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friends and places

Piazza della Repubblica


We enjoyed mini beers served with potato chips at an Irish pub after walking around one evening.

Un caffe near Piazza Navona


This picture is special for COURTNEY- she met Luna in Vietnam during her travels (they stayed in the same guest house for a couple months). Luna is from Rome, so we connected on Facebook and met up! She has been super helpful!!!


A group of friends from Australia were really fun to hang out with. I am bummed that my camera died after this picture because this was going to be the first of many pictures I would take of hostel friends. Oh well! My camera is charging now. So more pictures to come...

Rome-ing Around

I have fallen in love with Rome already! I love love love it. With any free time I have been walking around the different neighborhoods and stumbling upon hidden treasures. My partner in crime has been Katerina, my Minnesotan angel who is also staying at M & J. Here are some of the treasures we have found while Rome-ing around.

A view of the Colosseum.

Cute window shutters & flowers.


Beautiful details on beautiful buildings.

I've become a little bit obsessed with fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. This pizza shop is about six small steps from my work. :)

I love cobblestone roads.


Ancient Roman ruins all around.


Even though it's cold, it's hard to pass up gelato. Caramel & strawberry, yum!

A hidden fruit & vegetable shop.

On my favorite street.

A better picture of the colosseum...