Today was another busy day with the families of children with autism and their teachers. After doing some translation and reviewing presentations at our apartment, we headed to the centre at 1:00pm, where another group of families was waiting for us. We split into two groups, each with a speaker of Arabic and an ABA specialist to meet with the families and carry on with what we’ve started yesterday.
Parents were comfortable sharing their stories and the stories of their children as well as answering our questions and explaining to us why they are so excited to enroll in this program. There was this adorable 10 year old child named Yazan who approached us in a very friendly way and drew smiles on our faces. Also, some caregivers poured their hearts out while telling us about the special things their children do and how they imagine their future. For instance, Omar’s mother said that her son is smart and kind and that’s why she hoped that he is going to become a successful and independent person who can contribute to this world in the future. At the same time, she expressed her concern about Omar’s aggressiveness while trying to hold back her tears by saying, “I want him to stop being aggressive with other people, especially his siblings who are always stressed when he’s around.” However, we were surprised that some of the families we met still believe that having a child with autism is their fault because they let them watch TV. This is probably is one of the challenging myths that we will do our best to clear out.
(A Syrian teacher in Mersin tells the A Global Voice for Autism team about her motivation for participating in our teacher training program)
At 3:00pm, teachers started to show up for our teacher intake meeting. It was awesome to see so many of them interested to meet with us and learn about our program and to see how motivated they are to help children with autism at their workplaces. After taking the teacher intake survey, we had the chance to get introduced to them and have one-on-one talks to in order to hear their reflections on the answers they provided in the survey and their motivation behind wanting to take our training.
This day was one of the most hectic days for our Mersin team, so we decided to pamper ourselves with relaxation activities and a nutritious meal.
(Teachers fill out intake surveys about their interest and experiences working with children with autism)