Chicago, Cairo & Cincinnati - Egypt Day 2
Within the last two months I have talked, taught and worked with parents and professionals affected by autism from Chicago, Cairo and Cincinnati. Yesterday, my second day in Egypt, Maadi specifically, I gave my first two presentations to the ADVANCE Center.
I am pretty sure my translator was more tired than me after the 3+ hours. My presentations started the same as they would in the states; I played loud music, flickered lights and described exercises for them to do. Most of the audience looked confused, as they do in the states, but then shared a common support system, picture supports to describe what I was asking them to do. And much like our children with autism, they understood my request and performed the exercises.
For those 3+ hours I found myself talking slower and trying my best to communicate the importance of what I was teaching. I spoke of the philosophy of the Exercise Connection and tried to communicate that as what they were learning there was not a "cookie cutter" approach to this program or any program for the children. I wish it could be that easy. I told them, "You need to be able to do the exercises yourself, use the visuals for support for the children, have fun, play and you will be the leaders they need."
I taught the physical assessment and they all practiced many things like, taking resting heart rate, blood pressure, circumference measurements and measuring height and weight. Today I will teach the movement patterns/exercises of the assessment.
I also had the pleasure of Mohamed to show me around Egypt. He spoke very good english. He was much like me. He is a works teaching the children exercise/sport and especially in the pool. He first started working with the children because they used to come to the beach where he worked. He started asking questions about why the children flapped their hand, etc. And now more than 5 years later he is dedicated his life to the children.
One of the final things I will mention is that in the audience there was predominately all males workers. I was very surprised and happy to see this. Very different audience that Chicago and Cairo. However there was many women throughout the two centers that I visited.
Oh yeah, one more thing.......Chicago may be separated from Cincinnati by hundreds of miles and Cincinnati thousands from Cairo, the languages may not be alike and the clothing and customs very diverse, but the autism....it is the same. The cries that I heard throughout the school made me want to go and help. Watching the support workers comfort and guide the students was no different. Mom and dad came to pick up the children after school, with smiles on their faces, thankful to have a place for their child.
We are all in this together....