Changning Special Education Guiding Center

Changning Special Needs Center Focuses Training on Speech & Language

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by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Lead, LIH Olivia's Place Shanghai

by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Lead, LIH Olivia’s Place Shanghai

IMAG7572 (2)LIH Olivia’s Place collaborated once more with Changning Special Needs Center in Shanghai to provide training for professionals working in local schools across China. These trainees ranged from teachers, to therapists, to teacher assistants, most of whom work work with preschool or school-age severely speech and language impaired children. Over two days in November 2015, I presented three training modules related to speech language pathology: Assessment and Intervention, Treatment Approaches for Autism, and Oral Placement Therapy.

Throughout the training, trainees were inquisitive and eager to discuss to topics of interest. They were especially passionate to discuss autism treatment methods. At the end of my lecture on the first day, I facilitated small group discussions of how they can implement the presented intervention strategies in the classroom setting. The trainees discussed incorporating a more structured reward system to facilitate compliance. They were also eager to alter the classroom set-up and implement more visual schedules for students with autism.IMAG7563 (2)

At the end of the second day, two teachers from a school in Hangzhou toured LIH Olivia’s Place Shanghai to gain a more hands-on understanding of our speech-language therapy materials. We discussed simple, yet effective small classroom changes to better meet the needs of students with severe speech-language, and even behavioral difficulties. I hope that all of the professionals will be able to use some of the speech-language strategies when working with their students and were inspired by the presentations.

Deepening Partnership with Changning Special Education Guiding Center

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Staff prepare for an LIH Olivia's Place professional workshop at Changning Special Education Center

Staff prepare for an LIH Olivia’s Place professional workshop at Changning Special Education Center

Over the last school year, Olivia’s Place completed a training project about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in cooperation with Shanghai Changning Special Education Guiding Center, a public organization which provides opportunities for career development for local educators who work with children with special needs. The trainings attracted many local school teachers and medical practitioners. Participants came from all over the city and neighboring provinces. The program content included childhood development, theory-based knowledge, and the sharing of clinical experience. Therapists from Olivia’s Place in each field of practice have made contributions to the project through interactive, inspiring, and practical presentations for all attendees:


  • Anna Pascual, Occupational Therapist Lead, introduced occupational therapy for children with learning difficulties.
  • Zili Wang, Physiotherapist, introduced how children with ASD benefit from physical therapy.
  • Jamie Fanelli, Learning and Behavioral Support Lead, introduced strategies and supports for academic success for children with ASD.
  • Yi Lien, Speech-Language Therapist, introduced speech-language assessment and treatment for children with ASD.


In addition to the multi-disciplinary ASD project, Olivia’s Place and Changning Center started a new series of trainings in the area of communication disorders. This project targeted applying clinical skills for different types of communication disorders in the school setting, including evaluation methods and comparison of different therapy approaches. These speech and language training projects were conducted by Angela Gong and Yi Lien. Both therapists have worked with Changning Center since 2013. The specific topics addressed included:


  • Heidi Gao and Jamie Fanelli, Learning and Behavior Support Specialist, field questions.

    Heidi Gao and Jamie Fanelli, Learning and Behavior Support Specialist, field questions.

    Children with autism spectrum disorder

  • Children with oral motor disorders/delays
  • Children with social and pragmatic impairment
  • Children with articulation and phonological disorders
  • Children with stuttering
  • Children with hearing loss


So far, we have received many greetings and positive feedback from the attendees of these projects. As a new school year comes, we cannot wait for new outreach and more collaboration with our partner organizations!