Bali Hi!

The first bilingual Case Manager training, and the first held outside Australia took place in Bali, April 12 – 24. This was to allow Senior therapists whose English was not all that strong to join the ranks of Case Managers. It also was an opportunity for existing Case Managers to refresh their skills. We are very aware that with ABA, as with any set of precisely structured techniques, it is important to check procedures as they may well deviate with time from what was initially intended, and it is also important to allow existing practitioners to develop in response to new evidence as it becomes available. ISADD has now been working for 18 years, and in Indonesia for 16. ABA has also been evolving and developing more precision as more data is becoming available.

We were a team of 13 in Bali, one Psychologist and 2 Program Managers, 5 new CM’s in training and 5 experienced CM’s. This allowed for more sharing of experiences and ideas. It was also good to have YISADDI (represented by 3 differing areas of Indonesia), Singapore, Melbourne and Perth represented and to compare
approaches, discuss some of the differences that have evolved as we have adapted to the different situations and the different cultures and their demands.

What was impressive was the speed with which this disparate group bonded, partly helped by Bali’s holiday atmosphere, but mainly by our common interests and commitments to the children, who were very similar, wherever they came from. However for communication we did have a mini Babel; the Indonesians from
different islands had some laughs at the mis-communications resulting from their different dialects, and we were treated to 2 varying versions of Irish English, one from the North and one from the South, which made
ordinary ‘Strine quite easy to follow, as well as of course some Singlish. This all added to the fun, and everyone shared ideas despite the translations.

Ideas that are changing are important. Emphasis was on engaging the children early and establishing joint attention before teaching anything else. Compliance is essential but it comes naturally if the reinforcement and
engagement is there in he first place. Emphasis was also on working with babies and the in vivo assessment observed was of a little 2 year old who demonstrated all the traits of ASD but also ability to learn fast. Emphasis was placed on working away from tables and in natural settings as that makes it less scary for parents to join in.  We talked a lot about moving programs on and making them more dynamic, and also about taking data. We also talked about the problems when children do not get enough hours to progress, and where working parents find little opportunity to be involved. Both are major stressors to the therapy team. A lot of time was also devoted to building up the therapy team, looking at ways to support the therapists and ensure they get adequate training and supervision. More time was spent than in previous trainings on role play on problem solving with parents and therapists and on drill writing, with emphasis on prerequisite skills.

In total we spent 11 whole days working on topics, with homework by the pool at night as well. The 2 Sundays were spent on team work , otherwise known as sight-seeing and checking out Bali beyond Kuta, though some of us did shopping.

So what did we gain? 5 new CM’s ready to take on Autism, lots of enthusiasm to do more precise work with the children, a real awareness of the need to support our teams, a few souvenirs and a wedding dress for Sarah. We also should note the most improved in English and assertion – Franny, the team photographer –Kris, the only
person who could organise the notes – Audree and the Apple problem solver – Sarah. All of us understood desensitization first hand as we became blasé, trudging along the narrow gutters as endless lines of motorcycles brushed past at speed, and crossing streets with an assertive wave of the hand as we stepped into the traffic.

On our final dinner, sitting on beanbags on the beach looking at the waves rolling in, we experienced an unexpected eclipse of the moon – a good omen for ISADD- YISADDI and symbolic for all of us who return home with recharged batteries, and faith in what we are striving to achieve. – Jura Tender

autism services and support, australia
autism services and support, australia

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