To label or not to label? That is the question.

One of the topics that I have long been contemplating in my work around disability in Tanzania is the ramifications of identification and labeling and the specific words used by teachers and students about disability.

This past week I presented a poster about the words used and the themes around the understanding of disability in this community. One of the important pieces that was not included in the poster, but developed in my thinking as I discussed the understandings of disability was the fact that teachers and parents have seen their children grow and develop through the supports of the program and they are overcoming some of the negative labels. Because of the progress on educational outcomes, children are seen as academically and socially capability. The key question for me is: Can they overcome or challenge a label of a disability in a society where it is not accepted or do they have a better chance for overall success if they are just overcoming labels such as slow learner or lazy. I am in no way saying that the kids we are working with do not have developmental delays or learning disabilities, but are those labels useful in this context? DADD Poster 2015

The poster is attached here for your interest. If you are a researcher or someone who wants to cite information from this poster, please give credit and use the following citation:

Stone-MacDonald, A. (2015) Identification and Labels for Young Tanzanian Children: An Examination of Labels for Children with Intellectual Disabilities. Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities International Conference, Clearwater Beach, FL,  January 22, 2015.


Long overdue post on the joys of Legos for all ages!

IMG_2339 (4)This is a very long overdue post from my trip last summer to Tanzania. I was working on a poster about this study for a conference next week and realized that I had not done this post yet.


Last year before leaving for Tanzania, our friend Dave at the Lego store wanted to help out. He very kindly donated a big shopping bag full of Legos of regular shaped bricks to The Toa Nafasi Project for the children. His kindness and generosity were greatly appreciated by myself and Sarah, but more importantly by the children. They had never played with Legos before but absolutely loved it. We did it when we had some other visitors so that we had a lot of supervision and support.


You will see children of all ages building and having fun.

The kids were so creative and I am sure it contributed in some way to developing problem solving skills and their overall academic development. Here are some wonderful pictures.


The Legos continue to be a source of fun and learning for the children and teachers.