Currently, Heartspring CEO Dr. Gary Singleton, Behavior Specialist Pam Calabria, and Occupational Therapist Kara Gibson are in China, on the first leg of a three city tour. They are joined by Cindy De Clerck, a Belgian doctoral student studying autism in China and previous recipient of the Heartspring Award for Innovation and Creativity in Special Education. Ms. De Clerck brings a wealth of knowledge and her language skills to help bridge communication and culture. In Beijing, the Heartspring group will meet with Tian Huiping (Hope) and the staff of the Stars and Rain Institute to train and learn. In Xian, as in Guangzhou, the group will hold seminars and workshops for parents and teachers at other, local schools. Due to increasing need and demand for services and training in China, this year Heartspring is privileged to learn from and train parents, teachers, and therapists in multiple locations. News of the visit and events may also be found on the Stars and Rain Institute website. The following have already been posted there:
Since 2005, Heartspring has shared a sister school relationship with Stars and Rain, China's first non-governmental organization to address the needs of children with autism. Each year, teachers from Stars and Rain come to Heartspring to learn and share, taking back new ideas and resources to reach more children in China. And when possible, Heartspring professionals take their expertise to Stars and Rain to provide on-site training to all of their staff. Because of the Stars and Rain Program, they have helped start over 100 new programs who serve children with autism in China!
Tian (Hope) Huiping, the founder of Stars and Rain has said “I don’t feel alone any more, your support since these years makes all teachers in Stars & Rain and more people in China feel that we are never far from each other. You are very close to us; you are a part of us, of our children in China, (and) of our families.”
Heartspring's teacher exchange with Stars and Rain is supported by generous donations from the Wang-McLaren Foundation and the I-Fan T. Jen and Dr. Chian-Li Jen Trust.