Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Student Spotlight: A Second Chance for Students with Disabilities
Written by Lindsay McNeish, Multimedia Intern
Growing up, Perla Alejandrina never thought she was going to be able to afford university. Attending university was always a dream of hers, but she knew that with her economic situation, it was only that: a dream.
Luckily, Perla was sponsored by Mayan Families for both grade school and university. She was one of the first students to receive a university sponsorship. She told us, “When I got the sponsorship, I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited that I went to the university and signed up for classes that same day.”
Fast forward a few years, Perla is in her last semester at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala earning her bachelor's degree. With the help of the university sponsorship, she is on track to achieve her dream of working with students who have disabilities.
“Growing up, I had a learning disability,” she tells us, “I didn’t realize this until I began studying this topic in university. In Guatemala, there is almost no awareness about learning disabilities.” She tells us that, too often, children are written off as “dumb” because they don’t learn the same way as the rest of the students. Rather than giving them extra support, most teachers stop trying with these students all together. Perla is passionate about studying different learning styles. She strongly believes that with the right support, students with disabilities can have the same potential as anyone else. She wants to encourage struggling students to consider options other than dropping out, and she aims to change the way students with disabilities are treated. Her goal is to equip teachers with the skills and resources to better teach students with a variety of needs.
While still a college student, she’s learned so much about her passion and made large strides towards her dream. She has taught learning disability workshops to teachers. She has worked with children with disabilities. And she’s not done yet. Perla hopes to continue studying throughout her whole life. She knows that there is always more to learn, and she never wants to stop learning.