Teachers from China arrived in Pennsylvania in March to learn strategies for integrating special needs students into the classroom, and have begun observing classes in Pittsburgh public schools. The teachers are also in training at Duquesne University, learning about customizing elementary school programs for autistic students, in addition to classroom integration.
A partnership between the Beijing Autism Association and South East Asia Prayer Center (SEAPC) in Oakmont will train families and teachers to address the needs of autistic children over the next 10 years. Each country will host trainers and set up online training resources to establish educational standards for children with autism, as well as to study potential causes. The partnership will also create a database of educational methods and training practices to standardize the educational process. The standardized process will become the government recommended approach to autism education.
China’s large population means that there are many autistic children in the nation. Older students often attend autism training centers, where they are taught basic living skills and receive job training. The visiting Chinese teachers are learning more about the Applied Behavioral Analysis strategy, which uses rewards as motivation for positive behavioral changes.
Since their arrival, the teachers have observed many different methods of teaching special needs students. First, they observed students getting local jobs to learn essential life skills. The teachers were also able to sit in on a special education classroom to learn about adapting math to be more easily understood, and will be changing their own lesson plans over the coming weeks.
Before they return to China, each of the teachers will have earned a certification in the Applied Behavioral Analysis method of teaching.