The BRIGHT team had their first full day of work today. After a rough nights sleep for some and a great nights sleep for others, we crammed into the back of a small European car (except for Katie who got the front seat and took this awesome photo) and drove the short distance to the school.
We spent the morning meeting and talking with the therapists and teachers that work at the center and hashing out a plan for the day, which basically included observing how things are run and making small suggestions along the way. After lunch, the first group of children started arriving and Gali got to entertain the first little boy until therapy started.
The group started with circle time, and then the children are separated into one of four stations and rotate every 20 minutes. We were able to watch how they implement language centers, academic skills, PECS (picture exchange communication system) and discrete trial training. During the first group, the youngest girl (less than 3 years of age) was very upset and was not actively participating in her stations. It was suggested that Amy, the music therapist, pull out her guitar and "do her magic." It was, in fact, effective and she calmed down and stopped crying while engaging in what was requested of her.
Observing the first group gave us ideas for the second group, including using the balance beam as foot support for chairs that were just a little too tall.
Many other ideas were floated around and will be discussed and implemented further as our time here continues. We are looking forward to the parent training we are providing in the morning; especially for Ronit to address what sensory needs are and how they affect children on the spectrum.
We are also very grateful for our new friend and translator, Ediba, who selflessly joined our team as a means of supporting and helping our mission. Ediba is a Sacramento State University student from Bosnia!