Tuesday, January 1, 2008

More Visits to Cairo and More Friendships Developed...

Since starting this blog, I have had the pleasure of corresponding with some wonderful students, therapists and educators. Dianne Koontz Lowman, Ed. D. is one of these educators that I met through this blog. We started corresponding after I emailed the blog to the OT department at James Madison University in the US.

In November, I had the pleasure of meeting Dianne as she was part of the People-to-People Special Needs Delegation visiting Cairo. Itinerary of the 2007 U.S.-Egypt Education Forum can be viewed at: http://www.ambassadorprograms.org/upcomingprograms/education/kelly-duncan.asp.

We had a lovely time meeting for lunch and talking about special needs, the growth of OT in Egypt and life in Egypt.

I asked Dianne to share some information about herself and her experience in Cairo:

Dianne Koontz Lowman, Ed.D., is the Early Coordinator of the Training and Technical Assistance Center at James Madison University and an Adjunct Instructor in the Occupational Therapy Program, where she teaches the research courses. Previously, she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University. At VCU, she taught content related to child and adolescent development, evaluation and assessment, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities, school based practice, and qualitative research. She is a 1994 graduate of the University of Virginia, with an Ed.D. in Special Education. Her research interests are in pediatrics, focusing on working with infants, toddlers, and young children with oral motor feeding difficulties, complex health care needs, and autism spectrum disorders. She is the co-author of The Educator’s Guide to Feeding Children with Disabilities. She is a member of the Ukraine Special Needs Orphanages Fund, Inc. group (USNOF) and travels to Ukraine to work with and on behalf of children with disabilities and their families (http://www.specialorphans.org/).

Some feedback from Dianne regarding her trip to Cairo:

"I recently had the opportunity to visit Cairo as part of the People-to-People Special Needs Delegation. I found the city to be exciting, overwhelming, noisy, fascinating, and a "must-see" destination. We toured a school and had the opportunity to see older students and young adults with disabilities working and making items (I bought a beautiful scarf and purse). In addition, we met wonderful administrators, teachers, and therapists. Maha Helali spoke to our delegation and did a wonderful job describing services in Egypt (especially OT). Laura and I went out to lunch, immediately connected and began talking to future collaborations (I know we will have more about those plans later). I am impressed by all the efforts being made to organize and develop occupational therapy in Egypt and hope to be part of those efforts. Thank you!"

Thanks Dianne and Happy New Year to you and your family!


No comments: