In quarter one of 2019, the Special Needs Education Program (SNEP) manager and staff of saigonchildren, along with Ms. Trinh Thi Kim Ngoc, Head of the Special Education Department of Ho Chi Minh City National College of Education, visited five of the participants’ workplaces including Children’s Hospital 1, Suong Mai Kindergarten, Ban Mai Xanh Special School, REACH Center – HCMC National College of Education, and the Center for Supporting and Developing Inclusive Education for People with Disabilities in Ho Chi Minh City. Through these visits, the project management team for the “Early Intervention for Children with Autism – Training for Core Practitioners” encouraged trainees to actively share their knowledge with their colleagues in the workplace and parents. We also listened to their difficulties in the process of working and acknowledged their comments to organise high quality training courses that are most suitable for the learning needs of trainees.
Meet with Ms. Hoang at Ban Mai Xanh Special School
Meeting with Mr. Toan at REACH Center – HCMC National College of Education
Meeting with Ms. Nhu at the Center for Supporting and Developing Inclusive Education for People with Disabilities in Ho Chi Minh City
The trip brought about encouraging results, showing that the project is on the right track and has brought widespread positive impact to the community. All trainees who are working at the above institutions have applied the training knowledge from the past two years appropriately to their daily work to help children with autism develop and integrate in many different aspects. Without retaining their own valuable knowledge, practitioners working with autistic children have always taken advantage of all the opportunities available to share useful lessons to their colleagues, as well as teachers in other specialized schools, centers, and institutions in remote provinces who do not have access to capacity-building training.
For the most effective intervention of children with autism, practitioners always need the support of other professionals and the cooperation of parents. Therefore, practitioners worked together to convey basic knowledge to parents. Ms. Tam – Speech Pathology specialist at Children’s 1 – has created a handbook of necessary professional knowledge to facilitate guidance counseling to parents. She shared ‘the materials shared by experts are very helpful in helping parents understand what their child’s ability is and what skills their children need to work towards the goals that they want their child to achieve ‘. Practitioners have also worked together to conduct a 3-month training course for parents called “Accompanying with your children”. The training was successful and received the support and positive feedback of the parents participating in the program.
Ms. Mau is attracting the children’s attention with fun activities
Ms. Diem is using attention training method with the children
The project management board also met with parents whose children were taught by project participants. Parents said thank you for the support of their teachers because they know how to communicate with their children, how to teach their children and see their children’s progress. So they trust teachers more and cooperate with teachers better in teaching children at home. One caregiver shared, ‘my grandchild used to be very hyperactive and never sat still. Thanks to Sr Mau helping to teach her, she has improved a lot, sitting still to concentrate on studying. My family is very happy ‘.
Ms. Hien is interviewing a caregiver
In addition to the good results, trainees also shared the difficulties they face when applying new knowledge to their daily work. One of these aspects was the autism monitoring program of Bsquared. In addition to those trainees who spent more time studying and applying this program very well, some trainees don’t feel confident enough to apply their new knowledge because they do not fully understand it, or because they still have to use the old way of working in their workplace and are not allowed to use the new tools.
From the information gained from these trips, the SNEP program will coordinate with UK experts to adjust the final training of the 3-year project to support project participants to achieve good results and become autism trainers in the community.