During 4 days from January 29 to February 2018, the Workshop on enhancing capacity for teachers & parents to create a visually supportive environment for children with autism spectrum disorders took place in Hanoi Metropolitan University (HMU) (preceded by Hanoi Pedagogical College).
In 2017, the university was sponsored by Special Needs Education Program of saigonchildren with a view to enhancing the capacity for teachers and parents to intervene children with autism spectrum disorders in Hanoi in order to help children improve their communication skills and develop cognitive abilities so that they can be integrated into the inclusive schools. According to the agreement with the university, the 4-day training was conducted by three trainers Mrs. Yong Ennie – Speech Language Therapist, Mr. Jardian Tay – Speech Language Therapist, and Shahrizal Selamat – Occupational Therapist.
There were 40 participants in the workshop including teachers and parents from the Centre of Counseling of Hanoi Metropolitan University and the Research Centre for Special Education, Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences. During the 4 days of the workshop, all participants were provided with helpful knowledge on communication development, play skills and social skills development of typical children and children with autism. They also have a chance to share difficulties of children with autism and to practice AAC & PECS strategies. A teacher from HMU shared that “the workshop is very useful because it systemized the general knowledge and provide a better understanding and more tools. The trainers gave specific instructions and made clear distinction between PECS and other AAC strategies…”. Moreover, parents have opportunities to be introduced and instructed effective skills to help their children with visual communication.
Ms. Hanh Quyen, project officer of saigonchildren shared her evaluation after joining the workshop: “This is the first time ever, in her life, she is given a key to open a door to communicate with her loved one, grandmother. His parents divorced, then grandmother takes care of him. However, she did not know how to communicate with him, only hear shouting and crying from her grandson. Thanks to the workshop, H’s grandmother and other teachers learned how to use the picture to talk to H. Now H just needs to show them the picture of bread, his grandmother can give him what he wants to eat. The smiling face of H and his grandmother gave us the strong motivation to bring more and more support to help children with autism in their life…”
Saigonchildren would hope continuing care and support, in collaboration with other devoted partners, will bring brighter chances for children with autism in particular and sustainable achievements in special needs education program in general.