PUBLIC FORUM ON THE CURRENT TRENDS AND STRATEGIES IN AUTISM
A public forum was organized in collaboration with the Australian Trade Commission and with the support of the Australian High Commission at the Dewan Kuliah, Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah, Berakas last February 2015. Ms.Debbie Smith and Associate Professor Caroline Ellison, Head of the Disabilities Studies of Flinders University, Australia discussed about the:
: Positive views of SMARTER Brunei and all the work it has done,
: Current theories, trends and strategies in autism, and
: Current trends and strategies in the disability sector in general in Australia.
His Excellency Todd Mercer, Australian High Commissioner, consented to open the public forum together with the President and CEO of SMARTER, Malai Hj Abdullah bin Hj Malai Othman. The opening remarks was given by Ak Ameer Al-Qaweem bin Tuan Yang Terutama Pengiran Haji Kamal Bashah, an Individual with Autism from BACA.
The attendees included professionals, parents, special education teachers, multidisciplinary team members, other non-government organizations and stakeholders in the community. An open discussion was held with the 2 speakers and SMARTER’s President before closing the forum.
In conjunction with the Public Forum, a welcoming dinner was held at the Royal Brunei Golf and Country Club. Executive committee members, parents, families of the society and representatives from the Australian High Commission came to welcome the 2 invited guests. The audience were entertained by performances from the Individuals With Autism both from the Autism E.D.G. E Centre and B.A.C.A. Centre.
Filipino Special Education Teachers and Professionals on a Study Visit to SMARTER Brunei
SIX (6) STUDENTS of St. Joseph’s College of Quezon City, Philippines with Masters of Arts in Education, Major in Special Education came last February 2014. Their visit was with the intent to conduct a week-long observation coupled with hands-on training in our centres. The training aimed to widen their exposure thus, experience assisting Children with Special Needs (CSN), particularly IWAs, adopt more techniques and teaching materials which would be of great help in meeting the needs of the CSN. They were also able to observed and joined the Community Adaptation Program for Relaxation and Recreation (CAP – R & R) for the month of February 2014 which is “Fun at Jerudong Polo Club” wherein all IWAs from the three (3) centres joined to enjoy with their family and friends the process of swimming, eating out and socializing with others in the community.
Special education graduate students, together with their professor and dean attended a five-day study visit to SMARTER Brunei centres came last October 2014. The study visit included workshops and seminars in sensory integration, communication, and hands-on involvement with the Individuals With Autism which aimed to enhance their teaching methods
One participant, Dr Aida S Damian, professor of Special Education at the University of Perpetual Help System-DALTA and St Joseph College said that she was impressed by how systematic the centre implements the same programmes that they have in the Philippines.
Another participant, the Dean of the University of Perpetual Help System-DALTA, Irineo F Martinez Jr, said that the visit has taught him techniques in management aside from methods in dealing and educating autistic children. He said that learning to work with autistic children and learning the techniques teaches you compassion and gives you a high level of understanding and empathy. It’s with this understanding and empathy that you can use to bring out the best out of people.
The participants received their certificates after completing the five0day study visit. The next batch of participants will be coming next year.
The study visit also gave an opportunity for SMARTER Brunei and University of Perpetual Help System-DALTA to discuss and work on drafting a memorandum of understanding to set up an exchange programme to create a borderless exchange of technology and ideas.
Another batch of Filipino delegates arrived in Brunei last October 2015 for a seven-day study visit. The 13 delegates included owners of centers in the Philippines, PhD students and other professionals who came to the centre to attend the workshop-seminar conducted by the President. These batch were also able to come and attend the 7th Brunei National Conference on Autism. It was an opportunity also for the batch to interact and exchange ideas with other local and international professionals. A certificate of completion was also given to the delegates during the conference together with the other participants.