It was quite the morning for the Logos Hope team who visited the Kuching Autistic Association (KAA). The team had organized a time of games and music for the autistic children who ranged from 3 to 18. Some were full of energy and jumped around the room, while others shied away and covered their ears. The situation was rather unexpected for the team but they quickly adjusted and end up having a great time with the children.
Andrew Siaw, who manages the KAA, started working with the association five years ago as his nephew is an autistic child. He told the team that it’s good to have volunteers to come and interact with the children. “It opens up the kids’ potential to different things, and it’s also a good chance for others to appreciate these kids and share their learnings outside,” he added.
In fact, most of the teachers may not have the right experience when they first join, but go through on-the-job training as well as special courses. They tend to be quick on their feet and physically strong in order to handle sudden meltdowns of the children. One of the teachers who has been working at the KAA for 13 years said, “I didn’t know what autism was until I came to work here. I grew to understand this condition more and developed love for the kids. I watched them grow up and these kids are like family to me now.”
During the program, Christopher Govier (Brazil) taught a game to the children that included “scrub the decks” and “climb the rigs”, and the children absolutely loved it – it showed from the amount of jumping. He said that through this event, he now understands autism more and knows better how he can manage children with this condition. It has been an invaluable learning opportunity for the team.