“In Syria a child with autism came to me with chemical burns all over his body. I had to figure out how to communicate with him to get him the help he needed.”

Today, we are excited to introduce you to another one of the passionate and committed teachers in our program, Roaa. Roaa always shows up to our sessions with a smile on her face, ready to practice with the children in her cooperative group. Here is what Roaa has to say about her experiences in the program so far:

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Roaa pretends to be a child in a modeling trial with Qiess at a cooperative session.

What are the most valuable things you have learned in the program so far?

The most important thing I learned was direct reinforcement. Some parents or teachers think that if a child does a skill it’s amazing but they didn’t think about how they can maintain it for the future. This training taught me that I can use reinforcement to maintain behavior for the future.

How has your perception of autism changed since starting this program? 

I already had this view that all children can learn including children with autism, maybe because I had some experience working with children with disabilities like my brother. One child with autism moved from my brother’s school to a mainstream school and took the first honor. Although society feels sorry for people with autism and thinks they cannot learn, I have seen their progress and know their potential, like how quickly Hani picked up on 4 word requests.

What is a personal goal you have for the rest of the program?

I was really looking forward to this program because a lot of children who suffered from the war have psychological problems. I want to learn as many skills as possible to support these children. Not only is it related to a population that I might work with, but they might be skills I can use to help my friends and neighbors. In Syria a child with autism came to me with chemical burns all over his body. When I was trying to help him with his burns and injuries I had to figure out what to do and how to communicate with him so that I could help him get what he needed.

Would you recommend this program to other teachers? Why?

I really wish that all teachers could participate in this program because many teachers don’t understand how to motivate and support children. I’ve seen teachers tell kids they are stupid to get the kids motivated rather than encouraging them. A lot of teachers here have fake certificates so they don’t know how to help any children well. This program can give them strategies so that they can better support all children.

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-Melissa

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