Friday, May 29, 2009

Nepal Trip - July 2009

I'm very excited that our first trip (Nepal, July 2009) is coming together very well! We are working with AutismCare Nepal and Hem & Kalpana are the founders. They have a child with autism and there were zero resources for them in Nepal. They were so frustrated that in April 2008 they started their own center. They have since found over a dozen families with children who have an autism spectrum disorder and are in need of support. Overall, in the Nepali community, autism is either not known of at all or misunderstood. There are no school programs in Kathmandu for kids with autism and there is a lack of therapists and specialists. So far we have 12 families and a few teachers signed up to spend time with Knowledge for People. Our goal is to give these families and the teachers in the area some training and strategies that they can continue to use and teach to others after we are gone. We will be presenting on different topics related to autism and working with families and their children individually. We also plan to conduct a radio broadcast about autism with hopes to create more acceptance of the children into the community.

I am SO excited about our Nepal team!! Here are the volunteers who are going on the trip:

Tanya Savko: Tanya is the author of Teen Autism and will be publishing a book about parenting a child with autism later this year. One of her sons has autism and she will be a great parent representative in Nepal. Tanya has also done a significant amount of research in the area of sensory integration.

Dori Martinuzzi: Dori has over 20 years of experience as a Speech and Language Pathologist working with children who have disabilities, including autism, ranging from preschool to high school aged. She has extensive experience in different communication strategies, including PECS. p.s. I worked with Dori for 4 years and I can't wait to work with her in Nepal!!!

Ann Marie Bokatzian: Ann Marie has over 20 years of experience teaching children who have autism, ranging from preschool to high school aged. She uses the TEACCH model in her classroom and has used several teaching models including ABA and DIR.

Zahida Banu-Jamison: Zahida grew up in Nepal and has been in the US since 1996. For the past 6 years she has been working as a Behavior Health Specialist and she is so excited to give back to the community that raised her!

Me (Nikki Scarbrough): I have 5 years of experience as a School Social Worker working with children who have disabilities, including autism. My main focus with the children is teaching social skills and self-regulation techniques.

Blaine Forintos: Blaine will be documenting our project by taking photographs and videotaping.

Check back for more updates about our Nepal project!

Our First "Table"

Today, Knowledge for People had a table at the Best of the Northwest Autism Conference in Shorline, WA. This is the first time we've attended a conference and it was such a great opportunity! I was only to stay for part of the day because I had to go to work, but Kathy graciously took over. We were able to talk with a ton of great people and we got some wonderful feedback. It was so much fun to be able to talk with people about the goals of Knowledge for People!