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Every Kid Can




Posted by everykidcan on 21 August, 2009 at 16:52

Hi Everyone,

You have probably been waiting to hear about the IPM conference in Taiwan. In one word, Amazing! I have been busy going through the hours of video we shot and the 100s of pictures. Portia and I met so many wonderful and influential people on this trip. It really showed us that IPM is effective in another language, even one as complex as Mandarin. The number of people attending, the hospitallity and appreciation was astounding. We were able to see some of the country's great sites, have great food and make new friends.

We arrived in Taipei and were greeted by the amazing organizers from the Autism Society of Taiwan, Pam Yan, Mrs. Pan, Tina, Lilly and Valerie and Mike. We hurried to get on a high speed train to the southern part of the country to begin our adventure of three cities in six days.

Our first lecture was at Ai-Kuo Elementary School in Kaohsiung. Our hosts,

- Ms. May, the Director of Education for the city of Kaohsiung.

- Neil, PhD., translator

-Hsiu-Shuo Hu, Ph.D., translator.

We had a great turnout for the lecture, 100 or more educators, therapists and parents. Portia lectured about her personal story and her son Dov's breakthrough in communication using typing. She also spoke about the current trends in autism reseach. I followed talking about how and why IPM works.The next day was the workshop, I would be working with students, young and old and their families. Not knowing how IPM would work having to translate everything, I had prepared by learning some verbal prompts in Chinese. When my first student responded to my prompt in Chinese and handed me the answer I was excited. She was even able to use the Chinese phonics board I had made to spell out words. I knew then IPM was going to work here. All the students responded to questions, some by pointing, some by picking up and answer. Some were shy, others energetic. I could tell it was very new for the kids to be answering questions, showing what they know. The parents showed such appreciation. Our Q and A sessions were great. It was exciting.

That night we get on the train again to our next destination, Changhau. The Show Chwan Memorial Hospital is our next stop. Our hosts, a very impressive group of doctors, researchers and parents.

- Dr. Yiing-Feng Hwang, M.D. Dept. of Orthopedic, Changhua.

- Mr. Chen Yung Ming, Director ?general Autism Society of Taiwan, R.O.C.

-Ms. Hsiu-Mei Tang, Changhua Austism Asso.

- Dr. Wei-Tsuen Soong, M.D., Father of autism research in Taiwan. Superintendent, St. Jospehs Hospital

- Liao Manterin, parent, translator

- Chien-Hui Lin, translator

- Special thanks to Wesley, a parent and very generous tour guide.

Again an amazing turn out of people. Portia and I were astounded by their technology and organization. Everything ran so smoothly. At the workshop the range in age of my students was 5 to 34 years old. Again, I'm am wondering how this will all play out. There is a very different approach to a 5 year old than a 34 year old. What stood out overall was that each student had strengths in different areas, some their life experience and others their level of social engagement. I felt they all had very good skills in different areas but what people focused on were their deficits, what they could not do. I think this is a common occurrance when dealing with special needs. All the students responded to questions but the questions had to fit their experiences. IPM again broke the barriers and I was very pleased with the outcome. After some site seeing, we were on the train again.

Our last stop was Taipei. The conference was held at National Taiwan Normal University. Our hosts were,

- Cheng-Fen Chang, Chairperson & Professor, Dept. Special Education, National Taiwan Normal University

- Mrs. Pan, Autism Society of Taiwan R.O.C.

- Tina Pan, Autism Society of Taiwan R.O.C.

- Taiwan Autism Society workers; Cheryl, Valerie, Lilly, John and many others

- Our tour guide, Shur "Snake" a PT and PhD student

- Yu Chun, PhD student, our translator in Taipei

This University is the leading school for a degree in Special Education. The majority of the audience were going to become special education teachers. I tried to keep that in mind while explaining IPM and demonstrating different strategies. I think this audience asked the most questions. They certainly disected the method and posed great questions.

The workshop on the last day, again had a wide range in age. The adults who participated all atttend the local adult day program where they work on vocational skills. Many of the workers from the program attended the workshop. The display of dedication and care of all the parents and workers was heartwarming. The students attending workshop had a variety of skills like the others. There were students who could write in Chinese (that was amazing to watch), some understood English (made it easy for me) they all had different life experiences. Even as exhausted as I was, (21 students in 3 days), I was sad thinking that this was all the time I had to spend with the students. I wanted to give them all the start with IPM they needed. I saw potential in everyone to become a better communicator and improve their lives. The parents and educators were hungry for more.

I know this is only the begining of something great for Taiwan and for IPM. Getting IPM out to as many people as possible is the way to create change for the many low communicating people with autism around the world. I thank Taiwan and everyone who made this trip possible and for being the first country outside the USA to support IPM. It is my hope that this is the beginning of bringing IPM to other countries and making change happen.

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