After the second ‘Early Intervention for Children with Autism’ training session at the National College of Education HCMC, the participants who are teachers and staff working directly with children with autism started to share knowledge to their colleagues. Some of them work independently while others work together as a team. Among them is a group of teachers from Binh Tan Special School, Hi Vong Go Vap Special School and Khai Tri Special School – Ms. Chau, Ms. Van, and Ms. Hoang. They have been collaboratively holding seminars in different schools to spread out good autism practice.
On August 8th, the educators began their mission with a conference at Binh Tan Special School. Learning from the British experts of the Early intervention training, each took responsibility of a topic and supported each other as needed. Teachers at Binh Tan Special School were educated on new knowledge such as attention autism and sensory story. As attention plays a foundational role in children’s learning and development, autistic children’s lack of or limited span of attention made it difficult for them to learn. Thus, instructors were encouraged to use an ‘attention box’ – a box filled with bright, colorful, and musical toys – which grabs the attention of children with autism quickly, helping them focus on the lesson. Furthermore, introduced for the first time ever to the teachers was ‘sensory story’, a teaching method that involves stimulating all senses when telling a story. Instead of only listening to the story and seeing illustrations, children with autism can now be emerged in the story with all their senses, which are stimulated through sound, light, smell, temperature, and touch. This way, their senses can be developed thoroughly as their familiar tales are transformed in an innovative and lively way. As the two strategies could be applied almost immediately, teachers at Binh Tan School were excited to practice and comment throughout the training.
Ms. Van demonstrating the ‘sensory story’ technique
Ms. Chau giving instructions on the ‘attention box’ technique to teachers at the REACH Center
After the success at Binh Tan, the group of special educators were invited to share their knowledge at other schools under the guidance of Ms. Trinh Thi Kim Ngoc, Head of the Special Education Department at the National College of Education HCMC. In particular, they held training sessions at Hi Vong Go Vap Special School, Hi Vong District 6 Special School, as well as other local special classes, on August 14th and 17th, respectively. On August 23rd, they were invited to the REACH Center at the Special Education department of the National College of Education HCMC to continue spreading the knowledge to special education teachers. Moreover, the educators were able to hold a conference at the Phuc Xa Kindergarten in Long Thanh District and intend to continue their work in Bao Loc City, with the assistance of Sister Mau, another participant of the ‘Early intervention’ program.
Participants of the training session at District 6 Special School
Thanks to them, special educators in Ho Chi Minh City were able to access new knowledge, practice updated techniques, and resolve questions and concerns. To the members of the team, the best way to retain and understand new knowledge is to teach it to another person. Thus, as they continue to instruct others, the teachers step by step become trainers to many more educators and parents across the country, helping children with autism enjoy learning and reach their full potential.