Chinese Educators Learning To Help Autistic Children

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

In 1993, Huiping 'Hope' Tian founded the Stars and Rain Education Institute for Autism in Beijing. She founded China's first program for children with autism. During her visit to America, along with 14 other partners, she has felt culture shock.

"We are in a country where the mentality, the thought, the belief, everything about people with disabilities is completely different," said Hope.

Hope said that in China, people with disabilities or special needs are considered having been dealt with an unlucky hand in life and a burden to a family.

"Most of the Chinese they believe it is not the business of others. It's my fate," said Hope. "I'm not lucky but it's only my job."

After three decades, China's economy has changed. It is the attitude for people with disabilities that has not.

"The attitude, the system for people with disabilities in China is one of the areas where you cannot see any change," said Hope.

The ten days of intensive training is aimed at helping the group learn new skills and experience a bit of American culture.

"They have very little knowledge, very few resources, and they're hungry for knowledge, and how to work with these children. And they're quite willing to come here to Kansas and Wichita," said Dr. Gary Singleton, president of Heartspring.

Since 2004, the Stars and Rain Education Institute for Autism has been collaborating with Heartspring. Now, the group hopes to soak up all the information here to help parents in China.

"They have benefited a lot and we can see how much they benefit and how much they are encouraged," said Hope.

The delegation said they've been impressed by the network of resources that the Wichita community offers to parents and children living with autism. The group is scheduled to return to China next Friday.

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