A Day of Sharing & Learning in Jakarta

Seminar in Jakarta / Mayabada Hospital

I could hardly believe that there would be 275 guests at my first presentation in Jakarta. IMPATI, the Indonesian Autism Society, had made all the arrangements for a full day of learning at the Mayabada Hospital in Ang Boen Ing assembly room. They had informed me that about 150 guests would be there, but the day before the numbers had risen to 275.

Two full size screens were being loaded with my 4 part training on how to address the educational needs of children with Autism. A podium was set up on stage structuring my engagement with 275 guests hungry for any type of information that will help them teach their student, client or son or daughter with Autism.

Not me behind a podium like a statue, nope. I would feel much better moving across the stage, sitting on the edge connecting with my guests.

A short movie on IMPATI’s work in Indonesia bringing awareness. A welcome from the head of the development department at the hospital second, followed by a welcome from my friend, the president of IMPATI. Finally I was introduced & the stage was mine.

I remember hoping that I would be able to offer each of the 275 just one new idea or one piece of information that would help them. This I would be grateful for.

I introduced myself in a way that would help them understand my 40 years of experience. Then I found out what percentage of them were teachers, administrators, government guests, therapists or parents. I asked them all to identify what time they had gotten up (4am, 5am, 6am) & how they traveled (bus, train, motor bike) & from what distance. Many had risen early and traveled far.

I had them stand up, stretch, takes some deep breaths & then return to their seats, explaining that movement helps not only our students with Autism but us as well, stay alert & ready to learn.

The first power point explained special education levels in America (mild/moderate, moderate/sever), the types of classrooms offered & the teacher certification skills & process of assessing student levels.

The second power point shared curriculum areas (Language Arts, Math, Science, Health etc.) & objectives to reach in each area plus possible functional based ideas for meeting goal areas.

I also discussed understanding the sensory challenges of students & how to support in the classroom while implementing a curriculum.

I asked the entire group to close their eyes & stop all engaging with each other. I asked them to take several deep inhales & long exhales, keeping their eyes closed. We kept this up for about 5 minutes. The room was very quiet. Before I had them re-open their eyes I explained how much sensory information our eyes take in & our brain identifies & by just closing our eyes once in a while we can reduce the sensory overloading & offer us some calmness to ourselves, our teams & our children.

During the 2nd half of the day, I opened the seminar up to questions. Any participant could feel free to ask any question. These were their questions. In future blogs I will provide my answers.

  1. Will using a voice device stop my son from learning to be verbal?
  2. How can we help our student to stop touching himself & others inappropriately?
  3. How can I teach my son to ask questions?
  4. How can we develop or son’s talents?
  5. How can we teach our students about puberty?
  6. How can I develop a home program?
  7. How can we expand our son’s Math skills? He only counts to 10.
  8. How can we expand our son’s eating? He only eats dry things.
  9. If our genetics is part of the reason for our son’s Autism, what can we do?
  10. How can I expand my son’s communication? He just leads me to what he wants.

In the final hour & half together we discussed how to reduce behavior challenges & how to develop a social story to increase comprehension or change a behavior.

I believe that each person that day walked away with at least one new piece of information to help them.  I know that I walked away with new information that would help me continuing my work.

Karen Kaplan
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