Amy McCamant is a BCBA® currently on the SkillCorps Indonesia trip working with Hi5.
It has been fantastic and eye-opening trip thus far. Being someone who has never traveled outside of the U.S. before, I am soaking in and embracing all of the differences and learning so much about the culture. So far, one of the most meaningful and wonderful experiences for me has been meeting the staff of Hi-5 and getting to know them and their story. Learning about their history and their passion for children with autism and their drive to gain knowledge of ABA to provide effective services to their clients has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve learned that in Indonesia, a majority of the people turn to biomedical treatments for autism as opposed to implementing evidence-based practices, and effective ABA services here are rare. It is incredible to me that the staff members of Hi-5 are going against their culture’s norm and striving to learn anything and everything about ABA in order to make lasting changes in their client’s lives. Seriously, they rock.
The staff at Hi-5, and the work done by the Global Autism Project, reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
I whole-heartedly believe that this group of dedicated and passionate individuals here in Indonesia will make a significant difference in the lives of children with autism. With Shinta as their clinical support and their energetic/experienced staff members, they are going to do some amazing things!
We weren’t quite sure what to expect when it came to the trainings we were preparing – we were teaching to a pretty diverse group. Some participants were therapists, some were teachers, and to my very pleasant surprise, some were parents! After the first day of training we all agreed that we couldn’t have asked for a better group of people. Each person was there because they WANTED to be there and learn more about ABA and how to teach their clients/children, and they weren’t afraid to get crazy when it came to role playing scenarios.
One thing I love about this trip is that we work hard, and play hard! We spend our weekdays preparing trainings, presenting information, and ensuring everyone understands the topics (even with the very obvious language barrier – thank goodness for our translator Shinta!), and we spend our weeknights exploring markets, giant gem stores, and delicious restaurants. And then there’s the weekend excursion, which is literally the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life (and a whole other blogpost for a different time J)!
This trip has already taught me so much about different cultures, social norms, religions, and ways of living that are much different from my own – and I am LOVING every minute of it! I am challenging myself both personally and professionally in ways I didn’t know were possible…and it’s a truly liberating experience.