I smile at him as he enters my office; he isn’t so inclined to return the favor. Instead, he partakes in his typical lunchtime routine, strolling in after 3rd period without so much as a hello. He sits in his regular chair, unzips his lunchbox, and reads his daily note from Mom. He devours a bowl of yogurt without appearing to take a breath, then finally starts a fairly one-sided conversation about his favorite video game. I interject where I can. I am simply happy to see his progress in self-advocacy: coming to eat in my space when he knows the smell of school lunch will be too overwhelming. He is working on making some friends, too.
As a school psychologist, the most important part of my job is being a safe person for our students. Some days are harder than others; And while obvious challenges are present when working in American public schools, explicit bias and discrimination continues to keep children from attending school safely and meaningfully throughout the world. Children with disabilities in low-income countries often go undiagnosed, resulting naturally in misunderstanding and exclusion. Families may become isolated, or experience shame, because having a child with a disability means, within their culture, that they have wronged God in the past. These families may choose not to reach out for services and supports. They may not have access.
For me, traveling with the Global Autism Project doesn't mean sharing my knowledge with others. What it really means is learning from others.
I am so honored to be traveling with GLOBAL AUTISM PROJECT to Chandigarh, India! The project is a non-profit organization promoting awareness, education, and collaboration with families and facilities servicing children with autism in 12 different countries. Our team is made up of therapists, educators, and other service providers who are highly trained in evidence-based practices, and excited to support communities in their development of sustainable programming for our little friends with autism spectrum disorders. Partner with us and help us reach our goal! Your proceeds go to Global Autism Project.
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