Rachel was diagnosed with Fibrous Dysplasia (overgrowth of the bone onÂ her skull) at the age of 5. She underwent years of treatment andÂ surgery and ultimately was told that there was nothing else that couldÂ be done in Rwanda. She was connected with the Global Health OutreachÂ Program at Dell Children’s and brought over for a series of surgeriesÂ to repair her skull.
Because of all the time spent in hospitals as a child, as well as theÂ stigma attached to her condition, Rachel was only able to attendÂ school through the first grade. Her first few months in Austin wereÂ spent at “home” learning basic letters and their sounds. She thenÂ started in a formal ESL class at House of Tutors, then transitioned toÂ a bridge program through AISD at International High School.
About aÂ month into her stay, she was generously gifted an iPad. This iPad from Day 1 has been integral to not only Rachel’sÂ education but also her social integration and connection to Rwanda andÂ her family. She has used it to learn her letters, to advance herÂ reading, to practice her English, to Skype with her family, toÂ Facetime with her American family while in the hospital, to documentÂ all her experiences with pictures, to listen to Rwanda pop music, toÂ watch Rwandan movies and so much more.
Some of the most helpful apps were: