[Conference] SENIA 2017 Keynote Speakers Confirmed!

We are glad to inform everyone that the expert keynote speakers for SENIA 2017 Conference in Yokohama International School Japan has been confirmed! Confirmed speakers include Dr. Brian Willoughby, Dr. Steve Chinn, and Dr. Madeleine Portwood. 


Dr. Brian Willoughby


Dr. Steve Chinn


Dr. Madeleine Portwood

For more information about our expect speakers, download the SENIA 2017 Speaker’s Profile.

International AEN Conference Call for Presenters

The International AEN Conference is seeking presenter proposals for their upcoming conference. For interested parties, send your ideas to Christopher Harmon (Head of AEN, Dulwich College Beijing) by June 7, 2016 (Tuesday)

Dulwich College_International AEN Conference poster - 20160526-01 (002)

SENIM moves forward with exciting activities

SENIM Board, SENIA Honorary Advocacy Awardees 2016Special Education Network in Malaysia (SENIM) continues to forward SENIA’s mission towards advocacy for special needs through their exciting activities.

SENIM held a Parent Meeting last March 12 attended by about 25 parents. During the meeting, there were expert panel speakers, small group article discussion and “make and take”.

The group also hosted a networking event on May 5. Attended by 31 participants, the event focused on networking learning from each other with 7 Speed-Geeking topics by local professionals. A presentation on Mindfulness was given by Chris Wright, a counselor from ISKL.

The SENIM Board is also moving forward with the addition of Chris Wright and Lizzie Hudson on the board. One of SENIM’s founding board members Janelle Wettour Meyer is moving outside Asia.

SENIM is also preparing for their annual conference in November 2016.

Congratulations SENIM for your inspiring efforts!

[Inspire] Aisha’s Story: A Student with Down Syndrome

Be inspired by Aisha Jamaluddin Aziz, a student with Down Syndrome, who successfully enjoys her school experience. Aisha stood in front of more than 300 delegates during the SENIA 2016 conference at the International School Kuala Lumpur. Click the video here to experience her story.

Aisha also shared a short version of her personal story in her own words:

“My name is Aisha Jamaluddin Aziz and I live in Damansara with my mom, my uncle and aunt, cousins and grandma. My family is really important to me and I’m also close to another aunt, uncle and cousins. My dad is a very talented musician and he lives in Keramat, I spend some weekends with him sometimes and he is also an important part of my life. I also have a half brother and half sister. Family is first but I enjoy going to school and hanging out with my friends.

My interests are horseback riding, singing, swimming, art and fashion. I love making a difference in the world, especially for all types of people with different abilities like Downs Syndrome and Autism. I have awesome teachers at school who help me with things I need to know in life. My mom is an amazing and creative person with a very cool job. I love her so much.”

Do you have an inspiring story to tell about special education? Share your story now through our SENIA Submit a Story Form!

[Conference] Save the Date for SENIA 2017!

Save the date!

[PD] 3rd Asian Congress on ADHD

logo_osxnsfThe 3rd Asian Congress on ADHD will be held on May 26 to 27 in Singapore. For more information about the event, review the program and speakers. Click here to register.

SENIA aims to inform special education advocates and practitioners about available professional development opportunities. The list provided in this page are for information and reference purposes only. SENIA does not formally endorse the seminars and conferences listed here. You are encouraged to review the full information depending on your development needs. Click the links for more information.

[PD] 15th Asian Teacher Training

WaldorfThe Acacia Waldorf School Philippines is hosting the 15th Asian Teacher Training. Please click these links for the Program, Mentors Profile and Registration Form.

SENIA aims to inform special education advocates and practitioners about available professional development opportunities. The list provided in this page are for information and reference purposes only. SENIA does not formally endorse the seminars and conferences listed here. You are encouraged to review the full information depending on your development needs. Click the links for more information.


[SENIA 2016] Bersatu, ‘United in Learning’ at SENIA 2016!

20160226_124732#1Transformational, inspirational, and motivational were a few of the words used on the feedback surveys to describe the Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA) conference held at The International School of Kuala Lumpur in February, 2016.  The conference, now in its 13th year, attracts classroom educators, related service providers, administrators and parents from schools and organizations in and around Asia. This year’s attendance of 450 delegates sends a clear message – SENIA has become the “go-to” conference to network and learn about best practices to support the learning differences of all students.

The SENIA pre conference started with the opportunity for educators to spend a full day immersed in learning around one of the conference strands – executive functioning, and social emotional well being. The ISKL planning team, under the direction of Rami Madani, Director of Teaching and Learning and Amy Diefendorf, elementary school counselor, recruited renowned and published speakers. Dr. Peg Dawson, author of Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, and Smart but Scattered provided attendees with a clear definition of executive skills and valuable strategies to use in a variety of settings. Julia Cook, a highly entertaining speaker and author of over 50 picture books about social-emotional skills, helped attendees understand how to use books to address social skill deficits  Dr. Stephen Shore took attendees inside the life of a person with autism. Sharing his journey from a young boy, told he could not attend school, to a college professor at Adelphi University in New York, Dr.Shore stressed the importance of reaching all students.  

The SENIA conference kicked off with welcome messages from ISKL’s Head of School, Dr. Norma Hudson and long time SENIA supporter, EARCOS Director Dr. Dick Krajczer. Both encouraged the delegates to continue learning best practices that support all the children arriving at our schools doors. All weekend ISKL’s Melawati campus was abuzz with conversations, both professional and personal as educators reconnected or met for the first time and discussed their takeaways from the various dynamic and informative workshops. These conversations and the ability to network with like-minded professionals is one reason so many delegates look forward to SENIA each year!


SENIA Board Members (L) Karli Koning, Catherine Deen, Ericson Perez, Lori Boll, Kathryn Balsamo, Frederick Wagner, Tanya Farrol (Not in photo)

At the heart of SENIA’s mission is that of advocacy. The SENIA board was honored to award Tobin Zolkowski with the Student Award. As the only deaf student at Jakarta Intercultural School, Tobin’s perseverance and determination have allowed him to find avenues to make a difference. From  addressing the student body on ways to communicate with the deaf to volunteering as an interpreter in the local community, Tobin’s advocacy has had an impact. The SENIA Advocate award winner, Dato’ Dr. Amir Singh spoke of Malaysia’s journey towards inclusion. As many international schools are on similar journeys, his words of encouragement and wisdom resonated with the crowd.

SENIA 2016 gave back. Personal touches made SENIA a memorable event. This included allocating free tickets for local Malaysian school teachers, donating to specific charities in lieu of conference trinkets, supporting local organizations that employ young adults with disabilities, and providing opportunities for students with disabilities to showcase their talents.


The ISKL SENIA Planning Team

Bersatu! The participants at SENIA 2016 came together, showing their commitment to learning and engaged in rich conversations, both of which will have a direct impact on the children under their care.

This article was written by Kathryn Balsamo, SENIA Board Member in collaboration with Rami Madani, ISKL Director of Teaching and Learning. A printed version of this article was published in the EARCOS Journal.

[Inspire] A Brother’s Story

20160227_091336Andrew Chong was one of the Ignite speakers during SENIA 2016. Andrew touched the hearts of more than 300 conference delegates as he shared how his brother Zhi Yaow enriched his life.
Read Andrew’s story in his own words.
With a skip and a hop, he’s at the door, waiting to greet us with warm hugs and kisses. This was every weekday, when my sister and I would arrive home from school, just 2 minutes walk away. Once every while he would exclaim, “Wow, next time I want to go to that school too!”
“Sure!”, I would say to my younger brother, “When you’re older.”
Sometimes I would have my friends come over after class. Mashing buttons on the Play Station and computer, kicking each others butts. We had sleepovers, we had parties, we had fun! And when goodbyes were said as my friends went home, my brother would come up to me and say,”Hey, next time I want to have my friends stay over too!” or “The next party, I want to invite my friends as well!”
“Sure buddy, sure ..when you’re older”, I would say every time.
And every single time it hurts, because that was a lie.


[SENIA Inspire] Ellen meets the Dancing Starbucks Barista

This wonderful story about Sam, a person with Autism, who works in a Starbucks. Check out this inspiring inclusion story and understand why it went viral.