LIH Healthcare Expert Invited to Lecture at 2017 ABA Annual Meeting

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ABA 1Recently, the 2017 annual meeting of the Applied Behavior Analysis Specialized Committee of the China Association of Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons was held in Hangzhou, a city with pleasant scenery, attracting nearly 200 professionals throughout the country. Dr. Fengyi Kuo, LIH Healthcare Occupational Therapy Lead and Indiana State University Adjunct Faculty, was invited to give a lecture at this meeting.

With the topic of “Applied Behavior Analysis and Rehabilitation of Autism,” thematic lectures and workshops were thoughtfully arranged to promote the application of Applied Behavior Analysis in therapeutic interventions and education of children with autism and other disorders.

Dr. Kuo has deepened research multidisciplinary therapeutic approaches for children with autism. In this meeting, she introduced how family-centered early intervention and therapy is provided for children with autism in America by using data and vivid case studies. In one case, she especially mentioned a natural history museum where children can learn about various kinds of creatures and animals. In consideration of the needs of children with autism, the museum made special arrangement in terms of lighting, sounds, activity interactions, and many other aspects. Now, the museum has become one of the most popular places for children with autism.

Experts and committee members from across the country shared knowledge in autism and other topics in the meeting. Professor Guo Yanqing, vice president of Peking University Sixth Hospital and chairman of the Applied Behavior Analysis Specialized Committee introduced easy to understand approaches and also appealed to attendees for systematic planning and treatment throughout of lives of children with autism instead of only focusing on their current needs. Dr. Liu Jing, director of the Pediatric Psychological Health Center of Peking University Sixth Hospital, gave a lecture entitled Identification and Management of Comorbidities of Autism Spectrum Disorder. A report on How to Provide Social Interaction Training for Autistic Children at Home by Dr. Li Xue from Peking University Sixth Hospital also attracted a lot of feedback from attendees. Ms. Ke Shuhui, BCBA from Taiwan, shared experience on how to build a case-based ABA consultation system and especially mentioned the supervision role of teaching leads in this consultation system.

This academic meeting promoted the development and progress of the field of applied behavior analysis in China and encouraged academic communication and sharing among international and domestic experts. Pediatric therapy in China, including treatment for children with autism, still has a long way to go. LIH Healthcare will continue to endeavor to help children with autism and their families.

Clinician Profile: Jamie Fanelli, Lead Learning & Behavior Support Specialist

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Learning and Behavior Support Lead

Learning and Behavior Support Lead

Jamie Fanelli has extensive experience working both with children with special needs and typically developing children in educational and clinical settings. She holds an M.S.Ed in Special Education from Simmons College in Boston, US, and a professional educator’s license. Before joining LIH Olivia’s Place, she worked as a psychometrician for the TRANSCEND Research Program, affiliated with Harvard Medical School and MIT, at Massachusetts General Hospital. As a psychometrician, she administered a full battery of neuropsychological assessments and diagnostic interviews and provided behavioral management support to infants and children while they underwent neuroimaging. Jamie has also been a special educator, with experience developing and implementing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and Behavior Support Plans (BSPs) and educating children with special needs using an ABA methodology and a variety of instructional approaches, including PECS, sensory integration activities, differentiated instruction, and incidental teaching methods. She has provided reading support utilizing specialized instructional approaches and conducted educational and functional behavioral assessments. She has worked with children with a variety of diagnoses, including autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration dysfunction, dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, developmental delay, seizure disorder, and traumatic brain injury. She is especially passionate about helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds and enjoys giving trainings to the local community. Jamie leads our team of learning support and behavior specialists in Shanghai and Beijing. She also provides the following services:

  •             Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy
  •             Individualized Learning Support
  •             Functional Behavior Assessments
  •             Functional Skills Assessment and Curriculum Planning
  •             Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Development
  •             Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) Development
  •             Behavior Consultation for Parents or Teachers
  •             Professional Trainings and Workshops for Schools and/or Parents
  •             Joint Neuropsychological Assessments


How long have you been in China?

I moved to Shanghai in October 2012. I’m originally from the U.S.A but have also lived and worked in Germany and South Korea.


Why did you choose to work at LIH Olivia’s Place?

I visited a few different centers and schools in Shanghai but chose for work for LIH Olivia’s Place for their multidisciplinary team approach and mission to improve therapeutic services in China. From the moment I met with the founder, Nelson Chow, it was clear that the center was dedicated to not only providing high quality pediatric therapy to their clients but also to building relationships with the local community to help educate the local public and spread therapeutic services and inclusive education throughout China.


Why did you choose your field?

In college, I worked at an inclusive preschool and was absolutely moved by witnessing firsthand how children with ASD could fully access the curriculum when given the right supports. It was a life changing experience and led me to focus my studies on children with special needs.


What are some of the most rewarding experiences you have had in your chosen profession?

Watching the pride on a child’s face when s/he has realized that s/he has accomplished a skill that s/he originally felt was out of reach. Also, in China, it has been especially rewarding to support the many parents and teachers through LIH initiatives who are unable to receive ongoing services. It’s truly worth its weight in gold.


What’s your favorite thing about living in China/working at LIH Olivia’s Place?

No one day is ever the same at LIH Olivia’s Place or in Shanghai. Even after three years, I discover something new everyday. It’s very rewarding to be a part of such a skilled and diverse team, who truly embrace the multidisciplinary approach and continuously support each other to help both the clients and each other grow.


What would you like to be doing in 5 years’ time?

I started my adventure in East Asia 5 years ago and could not be happier at the moment. I am very passionate about continuing to work in this field and see myself in an environment where I’m continuing to broaden my knowledge while helping children and their families and other clinicians reach their full potential.


ABA Services Lead Our Beijing Learning & Behavior Support Offerings

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Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), originally developed in the United States in the 1970s, has become one of the most widely-used interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder, as well as a number of other conditions and behavior-related concerns. ABA is an intensive approach to teaching children to improve socially significant behaviors. We are delighted to announce that Ms. Pengsi Shen has joined us in Beijing to deliver ABA based on the latest research from the United States in this field. Pengsi, originally from Hunan province, first worked as an ABA assistant in China and then attended Columbia University in New York, US to study ABA. She graduated with a Master’s degree in ABA and successfully passed her Board Certified Behavioral Analyst examination (BCBA), one of the highest credentials in the field of ABA. She is now one of only three only four people in mainland China to hold this credential. Pengsi is available for assessments, therapy, consultations, and training. Pengsi is the first member of a Beijing Learning & Behavior Support team that will be able to provide intervention in the clinic and in children’s natural environments, for children and families with a wide range of needs from early intervention to services for school-aged children.

Clinician Profile: Pengsi Shen, BCBA

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Pengsi Shen, BCBA, Behavior Analyst

Pengsi Shen, BCBA, Behavior Analyst

Pengsi Shen is a Behavior Analyst with our Behavior and Learning Support team at Beijing LIH Olivia’s Place. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University (US). She has worked with preschoolers with disabilities in self-contained classrooms, assessing students, selecting evidence-based programs, and implementing intervention and behavioral plans. She has also worked with early elementary students with or without disabilities in inclusive classroom settings, providing interventions for students who lack certain developmental/social skills using scientific protocols, providing group and class-wide instruction, and implementing both individual and class-wide positive behavior plans to facilitate learning and love for learning. Pengsi works with children in both Mandarin and English.


How long have you been in China?

I was born here, raised here, and received most of my education here too. I left China three years ago to earn a master’s degree in New York, and came back again to China in July 2015.


Why did you choose to work at LIH Olivia’s Place?

I love to work with kids with special needs, and want to learn more about different professionals that also work with the same population.  I would also like to keep up to a te with the latest research and practice from well-trained foreign therapists, but still be able to work with local children. LIH Olivia’s Place is a place where therapists (from all over the world) of all disciplines work closely together for the same goal: help each kid (regardless of their nationality) to reach their full potential.


Why did you choose your field?

The truth is by accident! I had never heard about applied behavioral analysis (ABA) before and had little experience working with kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) since there are no ABA degree programs in China yet and most children here with ASD have been excluded from general educational classrooms. However it is the best decision I’ve made so far in my life.


What are some of the most rewarding experiences you have had in your chosen profession?

(1) When a child starts looking into my eyes, with affection. It is really hard to get many of the children I work with to make eye contact.

(2) When all of sudden a child runs to me, gives me a hug, and runs away.

(3) When parents tell me that my suggestions have worked so well with their child.


What’s your favorite thing about living in China and working at LIH Olivia’s Place?

I can talk to my family without lag time and visit them more often.  I am so excited for this coming Chinese New Year in February, since it will be my first New Year with family after three years.  I love to talk to different therapists at LIH Olivia’s Place, and get to work with children with a variety of needs.


What would you like to be doing in 5 years time?

I would still be working with kids with special needs, and working with parents and teachers too. In 5 years, hopefully people will be better educated and can embrace kids of all kinds, acknowledge them, and love them unconditionally through our joint efforts.  Also I hope for a flexible work schedule to enjoy life with my family.


What is Learning and Behavior Support at Olivia’s Place?

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by Jamie Fanelli, Learning and Behavior Support Lead

by Jamie Fanelli, Learning and Behavior Support Lead

At Olivia’s Place in Shanghai, the Learning and Behavior Support team has been growing and evolving since we opened our doors. Today, we have a team of four learning specialists and behavior analysts to meet a wide variety of needs.

Most of the children the Learning and Behavior Support team serve receive learning support through Olivia’s Place in addition to the academic/behavioral support they receive at school, which varies widely from school to school from none at all to a full time aide. Like all professionals at Olivia’s Place, our specialists work as part of the multidisciplinary team (MDT), both through formal MDT meetings and by routinely checking in with other therapists treating the same children. Overall, our goal is to improve foundational academic skills so our kids can meet their academic potential and be able to work more independently. Most children receive between 1-3 sessions per week of ongoing support, although, we have some parents schedule only a few consultation sessions aimed at teaching them skills and giving them resources to use at home. The sessions may take place at the clinic, or the child’s school or home, depending on the child’s needs and the availability of our team members.

A child’s school or a psychologist most often refers a child for academic support (reading, writing, mathematics) with our team. Sometimes, children are referred by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for more specialized reading interventions or an occupational therapist (OT) for writing support. For example, we had a client who was referred by an OT for creative writing support. He continued to see the OT for handwriting/fine motor development but received learning support to further develop his creative writing skills and help him better align his verbal and written output. In addition to academic skill development, we also work with children to help them develop better executive functioning skills (e.g., organizational skills, initiation of tasks/homework, juggling multiple tasks, controlling impulses, etc.).

As with the other disciplines, the learning support specialist collaborates with parents and teachers when setting goals and monitoring a child’s progress. When the sessions occur at school, this is often done on a weekly basis and some of the methods used are often introduced into the classroom. For example, with the parent’s consent, a child’s aide was asked to observe a few learning support sessions. The learning support specialist and the aide then created visual supports together that served as cues for both the child’s writing development and to self-monitor his behavior. The child then used these visuals in his classroom, during learning support sessions, and at home when completing his homework.

Learning support typically begins with an informal assessment and interviews with the child’s parent, teacher, and/or other therapists. We find the child’s current functioning/academic level and build from there. Sometimes, our specialists will provide support for team meetings at a child’s school to review their therapy and/or academic goals and discuss strategies to implement in the classroom. Both parents and teachers usually attend these meetings.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services are also offered through our Learning and Behavior Support team. These services include:

  • Behavior Intervention – Targeted at reducing challenging behaviors and adaptive skill building. Includes Functional Behavior Assessment to identify why the behaviors are occurring, home/school observations, and parent training.
  • Early Intervention: Comprehensive evaluation targeted at identifying a young child’s functional skills across various domains (i.e., pre-academic, communication, social, play). Can be used to develop/guide an intensive home program or assess school or inclusion readiness.
  • Short Behavior Assessment: Following a school or home observation, a formal report with recommendations is provided to parents.
  • Behavior Consultation: Face to face meeting with parents to provide strategies and support to better manage their child’s behaviors.
  • Ongoing ABA therapy


All of our learning support specialists and behavior analysts have a background in education, and the majority of our team holds at least one master’s level degree in special education, counseling, and/or behavior analytics. Many have further training in specific intervention tools, such as the Wilson Reading Program and Handwriting Without Tears. We’re all experienced and trained to focus on the process of learning and how to better facilitate learning by identifying different learning styles and addressing different processing areas, such as memory, visual perception, etc. Our goal is help children develop new skills and foster confidence with those skills. We strive to make even the most challenging work more enjoyable.

To summarize, we’re here to help children better access the curriculum. Our work is often focused on reading, writing, and math support while simultaneously developing strategies to address attention and behavior problems, but varies based on client need. The focus of the treatment is on identifying and using the child’s strengths to help her reach her full potential and we strive to follow a family-centered approach as much as possible. We also try to schedule services both at school and home to ensure generalization of the skills across environments and give parents/teachers the opportunity to participate in the sessions. In addition to ongoing therapy, we have been involved in projects helping local schools develop better inclusion practices.

Learn more about our Learning and Behavior Support specialists. To schedule services with our team, please contact us via e-mail or call Olivia’s Place at 5404-0058. If you have not previously received services with us, please take a moment to complete and return our intake form so that we can better understand your needs.