The first week at the Khan Tam Centre has been crazy! I actually only went in for 4 days this week as several of us have got flu from the children.
As I previously mentioned, there is no funding for centres like this as the government don’t see autism as a disability, but I was very impressed with the teachers and the resources in the centre.
On Monday, I started working with the 10-19 year olds teaching them life skills. There are 15 children per class but only a few of them speak and it’s highly unlikely that any of them will make it into main stream education. This class was very difficult due to my lack of Vietnamese ability and the shear enormity of the challenge to look after the kids, who were all bigger than me, with such severe disabilities.
After lunch I got moved to the younger class where I feel more comfortable. The rest of the week I spent working with this class of 18, 4-6 year olds who are adorable! Not much actual class happens on a daily basis as only 3 can speak but the teachers don’t give up and work so hard to give them the best shot at getting into main stream school. The teachers work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week with no break, so are very thankful that we are there to take some of the pressure off them.
The centre is equipped with a small gym and a few musical instruments so that the children can explore alternative methods of expression. Along with the main class, each child has a half an hour one on one lesson each day to work on their speech and writing skills.
The centre is an hour from home and the Vietnamese traffic is crazy and terrifying as we have to cross a 8 lane motorway on foot to get to the bus stop! However, when you get there and the kids just want to cuddle and play it makes it worth the journey.