Monday, June 24, 2013

Volunteering in China

My internet has stopped working at my apartment and I still have yet to take care of it which is EXTREMELY frustrating. It's amazing how cut off from the world I feel without constant access to wifi!

Yesterday on my day off I volunteered with an organization that people from my training center started (and eventually--once my company realized it would be good for publicity and marketing, backed them up). We went to a school (government funded) where students with Austism can work on their motor skills. Some of the higher functioning students go to school at a public school during the day, then come to this school after. Others who are not high functioning come here for the whole day.

We were there for 2 hours and got to do three classes with the kids: gym, handwriting//motor skills practice, and then art class. The kids we worked with were probably ages 7-10. They did not speak any english so I was a little lost in most of the classes, but the kids responded to simple encouragement and hi fives.

It was a really good feeling to be doing something that wasn't centered around money, selling classes, or doing every little task to make sure that the parents would be pleased.

I have never worked with autistic kids so I was really nervous and had no idea what to expect. Many of  kids had a parent or grandparent with them. The gym class we passed a basketball back and forth with a child. The one that i passed with was higher functioning and wanted to show off his skills.

Next we went into a room where students were doing tasks to help with motor skills. The first kid i sat next to was just writing a simple X over and over again with the help of his grandma. He got REALLY excited and kept looking at me and screaming. He couldn't write anymore and put an eraser in his mouth. I wasn't really sure what to do and he started running around and screaming so i moved to another kid. This kid was high functioning as we did handwriting sheets and puzzles. His biggest problem was his posture while he was writing. It was amazing to see what a struggle it was for him to trace the curvy lines and sit up straight.

After that we went into an art class where the teacher drew a picture, step by step, on the board and the kids had to follow directions and copy the picture. Some of the kids did it perfectly while others were in their own world. The kid i sat next to loved the encouragement especially the hi-fives. After every line he drew he would wait for a high five.

After volunteering i am interested to learn more about autism to help them more and know how to deal with certain situations. Next month i will volunteer with kids with down syndrome.

In America since students with disabilities are mainstreamed (inclusion) I think a course on different disabilities would be really helpful to teachers. Although there is supposed to be an intervention specialist with them teachers should be more knowledgeable about disabilities and ways that they can make their classroom more comfortable for the student.

1 comment:

  1. What a great experience that must have been!!! I do not know much about Autism or disabilities either- even with an inclusion aide, I am sure it is hard on the teachers to know how to deal with kids with special needs when they have so many kids to teach and have to 'teach to the score' for testing!!!
    Oh I would go crazy without WiFi too!

    Miss You