CTC intern Kim visited the Social Class on Sunday 31st December 2017. The class is funded by Come Together Community (CTC) and run by Lanjing Ling (LJL). LJL is an organisation dedicated to helping children with autism learn and develop key skills in a holistic and safe environment. They teach the children through love, compassion, creativity, communication and happiness.
The class itself is held in the Zhuhai Special Education Centre. When you walk in, the hallways are covered in crafts on the walls, and multi-coloured lanterns are hanging from the roof all the way down the corridor. The classroom looks like a standard primary school classroom, with resources on the shelves and pictures on the walls.
LJL provided a translator and he explained that the classes were for children on the lower functioning scale of autism. However, LJL hopes that children with high functioning autism would eventually be able to participate in the classes.
There are three classes per day in the weekend, and the classes go through the same story book. Each week the story changes, and this week it was The Hungry Little Caterpillar. The teacher started by reading the story to the class, with the caterpillar as a puppet on her finger. She got the children to read along with her as she ‘turned the pages’ on the TV version of the story book. Then they went through the story together with a board and magnets. The children each took turns to put up different aspects of the story onto the board. All the children did very well at waiting for their turn, to come and place the magnet on the board. After they had finished this part of the class, individual desks were put into lines and each child took a number that had velcro off the top of their desk. From here, they went to collect the container that had the matching number on it. In the container was an individual story board for the children to complete with their parent helper.
By getting their own resources, the children were allowed the opportunity to be independent. Along with this, they also tidied up their resources and put them away, only using assistance from their parent when it was required.
One great thing about this class is that the parents take part in the class activities with the child, and the class is structured to be helpful for the parent and child together. By participating and observing the activities, it gives the parent ideas and strategies to further develop and teach their child at home, hopefully to further benefit their child. After each activity, the children were asked by the teacher to come and get a flower with velcro on the back. They would stick it next to their name on a chart. It was explained that it was a reward system, and receiving a flower each time they participated (every child got one for every activity) was a great honour, and was used to motivate the children to pay attention to tasks at hand.
The CTC community and charity organization are delighted to fund organisations like LJL who host the Social class,allowing them to continue to provide educational resources as well as social and emotional support to families and children with special needs, encouraging their continued growth and development that will benefit their future life in China.