By: Mary Usher
Traveling with the Global Autism Project has been an eye opening experience. I have learned more about myself as a person, formed friendships with 9 amazing women and feel more empowered then ever to raise awareness about what autism is and the services needed and deserved by people around the world.
My trip started in New York at orientation with hearing stories from staff members who have traveled to various sites and discussed their personal experiences. Molly shared her story and discussed the origins of the Global Autism Project. I also met 9 strangers I would be traveling with to Czech Republic. I didn’t realize how these 9 people would soon be like family; we supported each other during the bad times, provided hugs and tissues when needed and made each other laugh until we cried. Sharing the journey with people who are just as passionate about disseminating behavior analysis and autism awareness made the trip more enjoyable.
My first day at ABA Centrum was life changing; hearing Katrin and Katerina discuss all they do to keep their center running while providing high quality services was eye opening. I was unaware how little people accept those with autism spectrum disorder and how there are only 2 centers in the country that provide ABA therapy. Running a center and providing services is just a small part of the work that they do day in and day out; they also spend a lot of time trying to inform people the people of Czech Republic about autism and behavior analysis. I was saddened to learn how there is little literature available to the people of Czech Republic to learn about autism, which is detrimental in getting people to understand and accept those with autism. I was blown away to learn their is currently only 1 text translated in Czech and how dedicated Katrin and Katerina are that they have reached out to authors asking if they can assist with translating text to Czech. They are also writing a children’s book about autism. Coming to Czech Republic and seeing how dedicated and passionate Katrin and Katerina are about educating people about autism and accepting those with autism has inspired me to explore how autism and behavior analysis is accepted in other parts of the world and continue to advocate for evidence based treatment for all.