by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Lead, LIH Olivia’s Place Shanghai
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.
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.
On Aug 20th, the Olivia’s Foundation Review Board gathered to review applications received since January 2013. Out of 18 applications from non-governmental organizations and individual families, both local and expatriate, 8 received a financial awards worth 4,000 RMB each for therapy services at Olivia’s Place. Families may use the funds for various purposes, such as therapy or assessment services, and recipients are provided with recommendations from our therapy team to most effectively use the available funds.
Jamie Fanelli, Learning Support and Behavior Specialist, was invited to give an Applied Behavioral Analyis (ABA) workshop to over 60 local families at Shanghai Sunshine Rehabilitation Center in Songjiang District on Sept 15th. The entire staff of the center’s pediatric therapy department attended as well. The workshop was quite a success, as many of the parents who attended have children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and they were all very engaged and asked a lot of questions. There are plans to provide additional training for parents and staff in this area in the fututre at Shanghai Sunshine.
In September, Marla Balzer, Physiotherapist, presented on physical independence for special education teachers and parents in ChangNing District, Shanghai. Later in the month, Dr. Alice Fok-Trela, Clinical Psychologist, presented to the same group on promoting social and communicative behaviors for children with disabilities. Olivia’s Place was very honored to be part of this collaboration between the public health and education communities in Shanghai.