Today a most remarkable thing happened. Our team member Amy is a mother of a son with autism. While presenting our workshops, we decided it was best to give a real life example of being a mother of an autistic child. Remember, no one we have met has ever met a mother or father of a child with autism. So her story mesmerized the audience whose eyes and ears were fixed on Amy’s every word. Her discussion brought about many questions. They were convinced that her son was not happy as he could not read other’s facial expressions, therefore he must not show any expression himself. Or, he did not understand jokes, therefore he could not be happy. So Amy decided it was time to show the staff a picture of her son with her entire family. That made everyone surprised and silent. He looked so normal! So we had to explain that she and her family, with support of teachers and therapists helped her son to be what he is today.
The story, though different in other parts of the world, is similar in many ways. What is autism? How can we help children with autism? The questions were similar to those we hear in the US. The challenge here is to balance the degree of information provided, by what the staff can absorb. We did cover a great deal of iinformation, so on Friday, we will see how much has been learned.
Our journey ends in Sanmenxia today. Pray for us that we have a safe trip to Xian and then home on Saturday. I’ll try to post soon, to share the final moments at our mission.
I am posting today’s message through the eyes of Eunice, our team member who was born in China and whose vision got us here…
One remarkable change noted from the first visit in 2010 was that the environment changed dramatically. Children who spent time in their cribs or sat in rooms without anything to occupy them are now out of cribs, playing outside and engaging in activities such as school and general play time. The ICC (International China Concern) brings with them a vision of hope. They focus on supporting the people in the government agency to see the potential of all the children. As Eunice learned last night, each agency is appraised on their success in running an orphanage based on the number of children adopted.
With this agency being so much smaller than those that have normally developing children, this agency does not have as many adoptions per year. And yes, I said adoptions! Last year 11 children were adopted and this year 7 have already been adopted. This is the best news ever and most adoptions are families from the US.
Our work has been focused on teaching and training all the teaching and therapy staff. Without any formal schooling these young men and women find themselves in these positions. It has been a good experience so far. Major topics include sensory processing problems and autism; communication and behavior management. These topics are noted worldwide in all our missions. It is no wonder to us that these
are the areas which are the most challenging to people everywhere. Progress is being made and we are happy.
No phone service available for us and access to any social media is prohibited. That’s the rule but this doesn’t represent the people here and how they treat us. We’re considered ‘old friends’. The world may divide us and our cultures are so different but so much about people in general is the same. Perhaps it’s because we all work with disabled children. That could be the commonality. Either way, I am extremely grateful for this experience.
We have already been teaching about Autism, sensory processing disorders and the development of communication. 35 people are involved in the training from 4 different cities in China. Please keep posted for more news!
I saw a man pushing a wheelchair and asked Eunice to request we borrow his wheelchair. Surprisingly he obliged. Thank goodness because we had to travel several more city blocks! Anyway we survived that, an afternoon in the park and lunch and dinner out in Xian. We are waiting for our ride to the train station and should arrive in Sanmenxia by 8:00 pm I’m looking forward to seeing the kids and all the staff at the orphanage. -Carol
Six talented therapists will be leaving the US for the Sanmenxia Welfare Center to return to an orphanage for disabled children. We will be working alongside the staff at the orphanage and representatives of the International China Concern to teach, train and treat using the principles and philosophy of Therapy Missions. We believe that all people, regardless of ability, deserve the right to a fulfilling and joyful life. Our trained occupational and physical therapists are committed to sharing their knowledge to help others care for these disabled children. Pray for us on our third journey to this beautiful region of our world. -Carol