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by Jess

A Taste of Autism in the East

July 8, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

There’s a hair roller stuck with a piece of Velcro to a piece of card on the wall. Alongside it is a separate strip of cardboard with a small card attached with Velcro, on which is a picture with the name of what’s on the image hand written underneath. These two strips of cardboard demarcate the gap between the least and most able students in this part of the autism school in Beijing, China.

I’ve taken a short, dusty walk from the original Stars and Rain autism school to this building which teaches around 6 students aged 13-18 at any one time. When I arrive there are only five students, four adolescent men and one female. Chinese Special Educational Needs teachers, who have little in-service training and still less status for their work, use TEACCH (the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Related Handicapped Children) methods and visual timetabling to achieve goals and develop communication. On the day I visit, there are two teachers and three German volunteers whose internships program sees them stay for a year in the capital’s suburbs, working daily in the upper school and sleeping in local accommodation. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

China, Special Education, and Time Travel

June 26, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

For the last ten days we have had fifteen visitors from China, as part of the Heartspring Teacher Exchange program, who come for almost two weeks to observe, learn, and understand not only what we do, but how we do it. Last evening I had the honor of hosting the entire delegation at my house for dinner, and today my world view is refreshed, and clear, again.We share so much more than we might imagine; beyond the limiting veil of language, at the heart of emotion and experience, is a place of togetherness. What has been the most remarkable, and perhaps most important, experience is what I think of as, “Applied Time Travel”.  Read the rest of this entry →

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