|A mother in India interacts with her child who has multiple disabilities.|
Perkins has been working in Asia since our international programs began in 1989. Our partners in the region are establishing landmark programs and developing innovative services for children and their families.
Just five years ago there were no university training programs for the education of children who are deafblind or blind with additional disabilities and today there are six with more being developed in collaboration with our partners throughout the region.
In 2011, as a result of services provided by Perkins International and our partners:
- 5,444 children benefited from educational opportunities they otherwise would not have been able to access
- 3,918 professionals received training to better serve children who are blind, deafblind, or blind with additional disabilities
- 42 organizations worked with parents and empowered them to become advocates for their children’s rights
- 2,112 Perkins Braillers®, the pen and paper for a person who is blind, were distributed throughout the region
- Creation of TransitionPlanningAsia.org, a website that connects constituents, encourages interaction, and offers a great deal of resources in the area of transition throughout the Asia/Pacific region.
Learn more about our work with examples of recent achievements and find out how you can be part of the transformation. Together, we can turn possibilities into realities and empower more people with disabilities throughout Asia and the Pacific to realize their full potential.
Families in Rural Vietnam Receive Home-Based Early Intervention Services
The Challenge: Imagine your baby has a disability. This disability requires intervention from professionals specializing in your child’s condition but no such specialists exist in your state. Now imagine you need to travel to another country to get your child help. This was the reality for 30 families living in Northern Vietnam who – within one year – traveled to Russia to get clinical services for their babies who were blind or had low vision.
When Perkins International started working in Vietnam in 2005 there was only one program in the country servicing children who were deafblind or blind with additional disabilities – the Nhat Hong Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Ho Chi Minh City, a program run by Catholic Sisters. Home-based early intervention for infants who are blind was not available in most of the country and it was certainly not reaching families living far outside the city.
|Sister Ha plays with toddlers who are blind|
The Intervention: When Namita Jacob, Educational Specialist for Perkins International Asia/Pacific Programs, was contacted by a doctor in Russia about the families living in rural regions of Vietnam without access to early intervention services, she reached out to two of our local partners, the Nhat Hong Center and Nguyen Dinh Chieu (NDC) School for The Blind of Ho Chi Minh city. Sister Ha, an educator from the Nhat Hong Center, received trainings from Perkins International to learn how to work with infants who are blind or have low vision and she began traveling long distances to serve families in their homes.
The Method: Sister Ha started out working with 10 infants and toddlers, sometimes living with the families or in nearby congregations and then traveling back to her congregation – a day’s journey away. In collaboration with NDC School and Nhat Hong, Perkins International provided a series of four early intervention trainings for teachers throughout Vietnam, to enable them to reach more families in under-served and rural regions of Vietnam. In addition, two educators from the Nhat Hong Center and one educator from NDC School graduated from Perkins International’s Educational Leadership Program, an advanced training program in which international educators spend 6-9 months at Perkins Watertown, MA campus.
The Result: Today 20 families living in rural regions of northern Vietnam receive early intervention services in their homes. In addition, early intervention services are reaching children and families across Vietnam, as teachers who have participated in trainings return to their schools and communities to share what they have learned. Home-based early intervention services involve working with parents to create specific strategies for communication, motor skills, social development, and much more – skills that lay a strong foundation for a child’s ability to learn. The approach is centered on what the child can do rather than on what others might view as limitations.
With hopes to reach more families in need, the Nhat Hong Center sent another individual to join Sister Ha in 2011 and she is also being trained by Perkins International to work with infants who are blind. The center is also working closely with hospitals to raise awareness and increase referrals so families can find and access the services they need when their infants are blind.
Preparing Students with Disabilities for Adult Life in Thailand
The Challenge: In Thailand students with disabilities have been leaving school without the skills they needed to transition to work, higher education, and/or to return to their home communities. They were not able to implement what they learned in school because lessons were not planned to match the realities of their everyday lives.
|Students at Thailand's Northen School for the Blind practice cooking skills.|
The Intervention: Perkins International is working with local partners to train administrators and teachers throughout Thailand on transition planning for students with disabilities. The goal is to enable all special education schools as well as inclusive school programs to help students successfully transition from school to adult life and this involves changing education plans for individual students, adapting curriculums for programs and schools, and setting standards for national education systems.
The Method: To help educators, families, and government officials achieve these goals, Perkins is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to hold a series of transition conferences and workshops in Thailand developing the skills of key professionals. Perkins International also sponsored the creation of a website on transition planning in Asia designed as a resource for those in the field, including teachers, rehabilitation workers, parents, and youth.
At the government level, Samart Ratanaskorn, a graduate of Perkins Educational Leadership Program, spearheaded efforts within the Ministry of Education that led to meetings with 43 special schools throughout Thailand to create FY 2012-2016 action plans.
The Result: As a result of the Ministry’s meetings, all participating schools now have action plans that promote effective transition from school to post secondary services and include children with multiple disabilities. To date, over 220 professionals have been trained in transition planning.
One particularly innovative transition program is preparing students for adult life at Thailand’s Northern School for the Blind. Some of the school’s 200 students reside in a transitional living home where they learn independent living skills like housekeeping, meal planning and food preparation. They also have the opportunity to practice skills on a nearby farm.
For more information about Perkins International's work in Asia and the Pacific contact Regional Coordinator Deborah Gleason at firstname.lastname@example.org.