By Melissa Escutia, a member of the SkillCorps Indonesia October 2017 team
Global Autism Project has different partner sites across the world. I chose to embark on this journey to Indonesia; a country that has been on my mind after falling in love with movies on Bali. Naive once again, I quickly found out that Bali does not embody the true wonders that is Indonesia. Truthfully, I had no idea what Indonesia would be like, what their culture was or how they valued things.
Indonesia is the 4th largest country in the world! Jakarta being the 15th largest city (don’t quote me on this). But you get it. It’s huge! It’s a very on-the-go city. Autism isn’t acknowledged as “autism.” There are some locations even claiming to help individuals with autism by implementing diet plans and other plans. Needless to say, to start an autism center with ABA lead practices is very challenging in this country.
I thought it would be hard to implement ABA techniques with cultural differences. Truly, it wasn’t. If anything it was overwhelming, the amount of topics we tried to cover in just 2 weeks! What it boils down to is the questions needed to be asked to find out a solution to promote sustainability! Seriously, these women are SO knowledgeable in ABA! It’s like they drew out a city map and we filled in the details.
The language barrier didn’t even matter. We could speak with body language or eye contact and these individuals knew our needs. They are without a doubt one of the KINDEST, whole hearted people I’ve ever met.
I’m so inspired by these women. They go against many odds doing what they’re doing in their country. But they persevere, and are so eager to learn. And what makes my heart so full is knowing that when we’re gone, they’re still going to do great work and continue to enrich the lives of the children in their community.