About four and a half years ago I traveled to Lima, Peru to learn more about Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru (CASP), a private special education school for students with autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities. That trip kicked off my mission to learn more about how other countries address education and special education issues. You can read more about my experience at CASP in my October 11, 2013 and December 8, 2013 blog posts.
A few nights ago I had the opportunity to attend a CASP fundraising event at the Harvard Club in New York City and reunite with some members of the CASP family. The evening brought back fond memories of my visit to CASP, which, among other things, helped me to better understand the role that a school can play in the lives of individuals with special needs beyond the classroom as the students transition into adulthood and the workplace.
I enjoyed meeting new faces and catching up with people I had spoken with on the phone and corresponded with via email but had never met in person. One of the highlights of the evening for me was catching up with Dr. Liliana Mayo, the founder and director of the program, whose passion for helping "individuals with different abilities" and whose warmth, enthusiasm, and dedication are an inspiration to continue advocating for those with special needs.
Pictured above: Liliana Mayo, my wife, and yours truly.