"Saving Autistic Lives" Mission (June 19–July 19, 2019)

Acknowledgments of Everyone Involved

  • Anonymous Family Foundation (Sponsor): Without your support (both financial and non-financial), this month-long project would not have been possible.

  • Dr. Antonio Rinaldi: Thank you for putting in the time and effort to share your knowledge and make this mission a great success.

  • A Mother’s Wish: As the founder and organiser, I, Kah Ying Choo, am most grateful to witness what Dr. Antonio Rinaldi has described as “the possibility to live a great experience with so many brave parents, wise kids and humble teachers” in our mission.

I would also like to give thanks to Moe (my volunteer intern) who has been instrumental in doing her part to support me through my endeavours to push through all of A Mother’s Wish’s projects in this early part of the year. I could not have organised these projects without her shouldering of some of the burden.

  • Doris Heng: Doris was very kind in granting us access to the use of the pool. Several families (including the 2 families receiving complimentary pool services) utilized her pool for their swimming pool therapy session. Wei Ping also lent us the use of her pool for one session.

  • Mieko Arakawa: Mieko has been wonderful in introducing Japanese families to the swimming pool therapy and consultation, as well as serving in the role as an English-Japanese interpreter. As a mother who is well-versed in ATDRA, she has also been a participant in our workshop.

  • National Library Board: We would also like to acknowledge for its support in providing the free venue on two days, as well as promoting our free workshops (June 29 and July 13) on their Website.

Overview

Objective: With this mission of having Dr. Antonio Rinaldi come to Singapore to share his approach (Dynamic Relational Therapeutic Approach Created in Water, translated from Italian, A.T.D.R.A.), our humble objective was for Dr. Antonio Rinaldi to introduce a different perspective and approach on autism to interested parents, educators, teachers, working professionals, and members of the public.

Impact: To the best of our knowledge, the people whose lives Dr. Antonio Rinaldi and I had touched or connected with (public or private platforms) were happier, hopeful, and stronger.

Objectives and Impact in Different Areas

Autism Conference (June 20-21-22 in Sentosa)

Objectives:

  • Attendance at the APAC 2019 Conference: Exposure to the insights and work of professionals and autistic individuals who represented 33 countries through attending talks and workshops.

  • Presentation of Kah Ying’s personal narrative: In speaking about the positive impact of Dr. Antonio Rinaldi and A.T.D.R.A. on her relationship with Sebastien, the hope was to introduce A.T.D.R.A. to a regional and even global experience.

Impact:

  • Limited in exchanges of ideas with others or reaching out to a sufficiently large audience about A.T.D.R.A. ; obtained a few phone numbers of teachers and professionals to send information about our free workshops.

  • Fired up Dr. Antonio Rinaldi who could see that he was bringing something very new to the international scene on autism, which would help parents and professionals by giving them tools based on a different perspective to look at autism.

  • Our reflections on our experience can be found here: https://bit.ly/2XXFztD

Free and Paid Workshops

Workshops enabled Dr. Antonio to disseminate knowledge about c on a wider scale within a limited amount of time:

Objectives:

  • What is Autism… Really? Introducing A.T.D.R.A. (Workshop 1, June 29): Introduction to the key concepts and strategies of A.T.D.R.A. through Keynote presentation, videos, and role playing to a mixed group of attendees: https://bit.ly/2SahnPn (please see writeup here).

Impact: 122 signups, 69 attendees.

  • What is Autism… Really? A.T.D.R.A. for Parents (Workshop 2a, July 13): A follow-up to the June 29 workshop, this workshop was targeted at addressing the perceptions and well-being of parents in order to enable them to enjoy positive interactions with their children.

Impact: 85 signups, 36 attendees.

  • What is Autism… Really? A.T.D.R.A. for Teachers (Workshop 2b, July 13): A follow-up to the June 29 workshop, this workshop was targeted at addressing the perceptions and well-being of teachers in order to enable them to play a positive role in facilitating the interactions involving their students and the families

Impact: 116 signups, 58 attendees.

Please see writeup here: https://bit.ly/32w3Oyi

Paid workshops were also run for the following groups and respective purposes, as well as the impact:-

  • Professional development workshop for about 10 special needs teachers and principal at Melbourne Specialist International School on June 25th, 2019 https://www.facebook.com/groups/Singaporespecialneedsandparents/permalink/1294562077379756/

  • Swimming pool therapy session/observation and mini-workshop for about 30 parents and volunteer aqua teachers at the Gurkha Contingent on July 2nd, 2019

  • Professional development workshop for about 100 teachers and principal at White Lodge Preschool on July 2nd, 2019

  • A small private workshop involving English-Japanese interpretation for a set of parents, another parent and a teacher on June 23, 2019.

Swimming Pool Therapy & Consultations

In this area, depending on the requests of the parents, we either offered swimming pool therapy and consultation OR just consultations.

Objectives:

  • Swimming pool therapy sessions during which Dr. Antonio Rinaldi worked with the autistic individuals, one-on-one: Show the power of A.T.D.R.A. philosophy and technique “in action” — a therapeutic approach he has been using in Italy for several years.

The importance of the THERAPEUTIC PATH with FAMILY does not lie in the specific therapeutic session, but in WHAT PARENTS CAN LEARN from the therapy to APPLY its DYNAMICS at home, in their daily lives with their kids.

  • Consultations with parents (without the child present): Offers insights about child based on the swimming pool therapy sessions and responds to parents’ queries about the child.

Impact:

  • Number of families helped: 18 families (including 2 disadvantaged families who received complimentary services)

  • Some direct feedback: With regards to the swimming pool therapy, it was amazing for Dr. Antonio to get very similar reactions from the people despite the huge cultural differences between his country and Asia. This demonstrates the universal value of A.T.D.R.A.

A Mother’s Wish’s Role in this Mission

  • Promoted the mission through social media, WhatsApp and email blasts, word-of-mouth, sharing through talks to groups prior to the mission

  • Managed administrative and logistical details in organising the scheduling and implementation of the talks and workshops (incl. communications, accounts, venue, and payments)

  • Collaborated with Dr. Antonio Rinaldi in preparing Keynote presentations for most of the free and paid talks

  • Played a supplementary role at talks, consultations, and swimming pool therapy sessions (communication with Dr. Antonio Rinaldi and families & filming and photographing sessions)

  • Liaising with Sapna to keep her updated about the mission

  • Preparing writeups and reports, sometimes in tandem with Dr. Antonio Rinaldi

Next Steps for Helping Local Families

Dr. Antonio Rinaldi’s role: With the termination of the “Saving Autistic Lives” Mission, ONLY Dr. Antonio Rinaldi and certified “For You A.T.D.R.A. ” therapists, recognized as A.T.D.R.A. therapists, in possession of a certificate issued by Dr. Antonio Rinaldi, will be personally permitted to spread A.T.D.R.A. concepts in the future. (As A.T.D.R.A. is a registered method, permission must be requested from Dr. Antonio Rinaldi to publicize and disseminate A.T.D.R.A. concepts. )

As a part of A.T.D.R.A. approach, Dr. Antonio’s services as a clinical psychologist are to be made directly available to ALL families all around the world, without any kind of bridge or channel, via his direct email.

Thus, these initial sessions in Singapore offered a taste of the A.T.D.R.A. therapeutic journey. On the basis of these observations, Dr. Antonio was very satisfied with his experience in Asia. He looks forward to continuing helping families via the internet, as he typically does, via consultations, supervision and training, across different countries and cities.

A Mother’s Wish (AMW) Community — Revamped: In the future, AMW will seek to continue to support families struggling to raise autistic loved ones through periodic one-on-one outreach, along with a variety of affordable activities and programmes, targeted primarily at empowering families to support one another and overcoming our isolation:

  • Organise empowering meetups for parents — express their concerns and requests for help & tap into shared resources and knowledge;

  • Invite speakers to share knowledge and insights;

  • Offer wellness and joyful activities for parents led by professionals or parents,

  • Organise training-cum-holiday retreats for parents and/or families; and

  • Formulate and implement customised and creative workshops for schools and other organisations to share parents’ knowledge and perspectives.

We are also hoping to find sustained support that we can help out disadvantaged families by offering them financial aid in order to access needed services and activities.

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