Estelle Byrne, Elklan tutor, continues her blog on her experience delivering modified Elklan training in a voluntary capacity in Kazakhstan:
So I have made it through my first week in Astana with a pretty full timetable of sessions for staff and parents.
The school is very small and runs on a shoestring, receiving no government funding and dependent on charitable donations. They have about 20 children on either morning or afternoon programmes and are practicing TEACCH principles. A couple of children use a version of PECS, and they do seem to have lots of visual cues and schedules, and Autism Timers around.
I have been emphasising to the staff the need for caution when it comes to symbols, and since they’ve had a go at the symbol hierarchy practical, I think they understand symbols aren’t appropriate for every child.
I’m relaxing into the rhythm of pausing frequently for the interpreter, and it’s actually quite relaxing as it gives me plenty of time to focus on my next point!
It all takes quite a while though, and so there just isn’t time to do many of the practical group exercises, but they are enjoying the DVD clips.
The staff are so appreciative that I have come, and treat me like an honoured guest, preparing special meals at lunchtime with me sat at the head of the dining table! Today was very warm and we sat outside. I was on my best behaviour and did a good job I thought at pretending to like the special national dish of Beshbarmak which was a mix of pasta, potatoes and horse meat!!