Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mr. L and school Songkran fun

We had a staff dinner/karaoke to celebrate the end of term. It was similar to the Christmas party in December, but this time there were fewer people. However, it was still really good. This was mostly because of Mr. L. He's our school computer technician, and he is usually very slow to get moving or do anything. He drives people mad when they go to him for emergency computer help and he takes a slow stroll to the classroom when he's finished watching whatever he's watching on youtube. He also sleeps at school sometimes, and has been seen coming out of the shower as the teachers arrived at school in the morning. I love him. It's great to have real characters like Mr. L around the school.

Anyway, at the staff do, Mr. L transforms into the life and soul of the party. He happily trots around selecting karaoke tracks and singing along. Although his English is very limited, he sings Aerosmith excellently. So Mr. L always makes the evening fun. As you know, I hate karaoke so I just sit back and watch.

On the last day of term we had special Songkran celebrations at school. Songkran is the Thai New Year (you'll remember it from your 2nd visit to bangkok when you got a surprise in the tuk tuk!) and the children spent some of the morning in a ceremony, learning about their culture and then gently pouring water on each of the teacher's hands.

In the afternoon, we all had a waterfight! It had to be kept under some kind of control, so it was four classes at a time on the football field. It was great fun, and we all ended up soaking and happy. It was a nice finish to the term for the children and the teachers :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Dear Mum,

I'm going to try writing a blog, but just for your benefit (and anyone else in the family). I want you to know what's going on in my life, and this way I'll write it as a kind of journal that is open to you. You don't need to make any contribution, just read it sometimes. The plan may die, I already feel a bit strange doing it but it won't clog your inbox and can be read by other relatives. Sian writes a blog, so you could look at them both in one sitting if you like.

Let's see how it unfolds...

Love, Sophie x

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thai Autism Group Conference 2009

On Saturday 29th March, we held our first TAG training conference for teachers from Thai schools. St. Stephen's International School (Viphavadi-Rangsit Road) kindly allowed us to use their lecture room for the event. We'd decided to keep the number of places low, as it was our first conference and therefore served as something of a pilot project. There were 12 teachers from Thai government schools in attendance, and specialists from 3 Bangkok-based organisations.

The first speaker was K'Ao, manager of the Child Development Centre (Lad Prao). She talked about ABA and other behaviour strategies. Her presentation was research based and quite theoretical, all the teachers seemed very interested and were making notes throughout. K'Ao then then did a workshop that dealt with specific case studies. This part was more interative, and once again the teachers were very engaged.

After a short break (with brownies), an English lady called Alison from Acorns to Oaks Centre, gave a presentation entitled "Building on Strengths". This focused on how to use and channel the things that children with autism can do and made reference to lots of examples from her vast experience. As she spoke in English, she was assissted by a Thai translator. She had so much to say and could probably have filled a whole day with her presentation.

We then had lunch, which we'd ordered in from a local restaurant. After lunch, Erica, a speech and language therapist from The Village Education Centre came and gave an informal worshop on communication. She encouarged lots of talking and sharing of experiences between teachers. I'd spoken to her at length about the charity and she is really interested in our work. Only rich families can afford the services of specialists at the moment and she really believes in our aims to educate teachers and parents in mainstream settings.

Each teacher completed an evaluation form at the end of the day. Their comments were extremely positive and they said that they are sure all schools would benefit from this training in the future. We presented our specialists with flowers and everyone went their separate ways. The whole day was a big success, it couldn't really have gone better and it's been an encouraging start. I can't wait for our next conference, which will hopefully be held in August. I made lots of contacts whilst organising this one and feel better equipped to provide useful and relevant training to Thai teachers.

Although I was really nervous at first, it was a great experience, and I'm grateful for all of the help I received.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008