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[News] Meet the SENIA Honorary Student Awardees 2017

The SENIA Student Award is search for exceptional students who advocate for special needs in Asia. The winner of the SENIA Student Award for 2017 is Casey Stevenson.

There are many excellent nominees who also received the SENIA Student Honorary Award citation. It is our privilege to present to you the other SENIA Student Award nominees who also inspire many with their lives and advocacy. Meet the SENIA Student Honorary Award 2017 recipients.


johnnepJohn V. Nepomuceno
is a college student from the University of Santo Tomas Philippines. Before his formal ADHD diagnosis, John experienced challenges including hyperactivity, lack of focus and poor executive functioning. He faced academic failures and challenges in learning. After undergoing his therapies, John has overcome his challenges and has learned strategies that address his needs. As an advocate for ADHD, John has spoken in high profile events including those sponsored by the Occupational Therapy Association of the Philippines and the ADHD Society of the Philippines. John’s heart to help other learners with special needs drove him to enroll in the William Glasser Institute where he garnered a certification of Basic Intensive Training in Choice Therapy, Reality Therapy and Lead Management. His leadership abilities shone through during his campaign to be the Auditor for the Student Council. John’s positive influence in his college is commendable.

kanKan Jiraphongtrakul is a student-athlete from Concordian International School Thailand. Diagnosed with dyslexia, Kan experienced difficulties in reading, writing, spelling, short-term memory, time management, organization and mathematics. Still, with hardwork and perseverance, Kan is enrolled in the full IB diploma program. Kan is also an exceptional athlete and has won the coveted Most Valuable Player accolade in the areas of volleyball and basketball. Kan advocated for dyslexia through a community program he initiated called “Can You Read Me?”, a treasure hunt for primary students and their parents allowing them to empathize with people with dyslexia. 

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Nathan Marcus V. Canon is a student diagnosed with bilateral, profound, sensorineural hearing loss. Due to his condition, his speech developed late and was imperfect. Nathan advocates for learners with similar condition as his. He speaks to students, parents and educators about his experiences. He visited Singapore to speak on his experiences with hearing implants for an audience of parents and children at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Nathan is also a creative student. His artwork was selected to be part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Artlink 2008-2009 exhibition entitled “Windows: Looking in, Looking out”. Nathan’s leadership is exhibited by his election as class representative during his grade school years and now as Treasurer of the Student Council. Nathan also volunteers as an artist for Teach Peace Build Peace Foundation’s storybook project. If these accomplishments are not inspiring enough, Nathan also learned to play musical instruments such as guitar and the keyboard in spite of his hearing loss.   (more…)

[News] Meet the SENIA Advocacy Honorary Winners 2017

The SENIA Advocacy Award is a search for exceptional persons or institutions who advocate for people with special needs in the Asia. The winner of the SENIA Advocacy Award for 2017 is Rhodora Palomar Fresnedi of the Philippines.

There are many excellent nominees who also received the SENIA Advocacy Honorary Award citation. It is our privilege to present to you the other SENIA Advocacy Award nominees who inspire many with their lives and their advocacy. Meet the SENIA Advocacy Honorary Award 2017 recipients.

aventajadoMichelle Ressa Aventajado is a mom blogger, special needs advocate and Country Director of Best Buddies PhilippinesBest Buddies is an international movement that aims to develop one to one friendships between persons with disabilities and persons without disabilities. The program allows all people to feel included and valued as a member of society. As Country Director of Best Buddies Philippines, Michelle has worked tirelessly with numerous institutions to promote inclusion. During the last Best Buddies Leadership Conference in the United States, the Philippines was the largest international group represented. Michelle’s advocacy reaches farther than her work in Best Buddies, though. Considered a gamechanger in the area of education, Michelle is an inspiration to many. Her successful blog, MommaNManila, covers topics such as parenting and special needs. Michelle’s inspiration is close to her heart as she hopes to build an inclusive world for her lovely daughter, Gelli, who was born with Down Syndrome. Be inspired by the work that she does by watching this video, “End the R Word“.

maurerUwe Maurer is the Director and Co-Founder of Taiwan Sunshine, a non-profit organization that aims to bring hope and support to families with special needs children in Taiwan. The main program of Taiwan Sunshine is the Hero Games, a sports program that connects national public schools with special needs students to create an inclusive environment that fosters friendships, team spirit and acceptance. Through a volunteer and school partnership system, the Hero Games provide opportunities for everyone including school administrators, students, teachers, parents and support staff to contribute to the event. It is incredible to witness the Hero Games where participants may be in wheelchairs, have leg braces, or other types of assistive supports and are able to join the sports events. Indeed, Taiwan Sunshine advocates for those who are excluded.  To learn more about Taiwan Sunshine and assist in their work, visit their official website and view this video (more…)

[News] SENIM holds 3rd Annual Conference

On November 12, 2016 SENIM (Special Education Network in Malaysia) held its 3rd annual conference at IGB International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The theme was “Unlocking the Keys to Learning” and the conference included three strands –  Technology, Looking at Learning, and Social Emotional.

The conference was attended by 103 delegates, which included professionals and parents from in and around Kuala Lumpur. As participants arrived at the venue they were treated to a musical performance by Abigail Ang. Abigail is a 14 year old young lady with autism who has an amazing talent playing the piano. Following this performance were three short motivational sessions designed to inspire the conference participants. These included a young man with dyslexia sharing his educational journey, a classroom teacher sharing her perspective on the gift of inclusion, and a school counselor reminding us to be mindful throughout the conference. (more…)

[News] Rhodora Palomar Fresnedi wins SENIA Advocacy Award 2017

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Ms. Rhodora Palomar Fresnedi of the Philippines is the SENIA Advocacy Award winner for 2017.

The SENIA Advocacy Award celebrates the achievements of a student, adult or group who encourages awareness and advocates for the aspirations of people with disabilities. The award honors those who exemplify the vision mission of SENIA, which is to advocate in behalf of exceptional people in Asia.

Ms. Rhodora Palomar Fresnedi is the Executive Director of Unilab Foundation and is the prime mover of Project Inclusion. Unilab Foundation believes that a healthier Philippines is an inclusive Philippines and through “Project Inclusion”, the foundation enables wider employment of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) with special emphasis on Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (PWIDs).  (more…)

[News] Casey Stevenson wins SENIA Student Award 2017

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Casey Elaine Stevenson, a student of Brent International School, is the winner of the SENIA Student Award 2017. The SENIA Student Award honors a student with a disability who excels and advocates for the aspirations of children and youth with disabilities in Asia.

Casey is a strong advocate for special needs inspired by her own personal experiences with disability. Casey started struggling with depression and anxiety when she entered her teenage years. After seeing a psychologist, it became clear that she also has characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder that was previously unidentified. Aside from her personal challenges, Casey also witnessed the challenges of her older sister who has a neurological disorder called Rett Syndrome. Casey’s love for her sister, who she considers her best friend, inspires her advocacy. In her personal statement, Casey said that “She is the main reason I advocate, to help others like her.” (more…)

[Conference] Dr. Stephen Shore to speak at SENITA Annual Conference 2017

SENIA Taiwanshore (SENITA) will host their second annual workshop in Taichung, Taiwan on Friday, January 20, 2017.  Dr. Stephen Shore, the author of Beyond the Wall, will be the keynote speaker of the event, entitled:  Turning Obstacles into Opportunities. For more information about this great opportunity, download the event flyer.

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[News] SENITA holds first SENIA local conference in Taiwan

13055870_460707370720736_3671915557110916731_o 13086866_460707367387403_7002062514619653411_oIn April of 2016, SENITA hosted their first annual conference in Taichung, Taiwan.  They were hosted by Morrison Academy.  The theme for the event was, “Where Do I Begin” with three tracks.

Uwe Maurer the president of the Taiwan Sunshine Foundation led a workshop on learning support within the framework of the Taiwan Education System.  Natasha Kanapathy, a Speech and Language Pathologist, led a session on the understanding the role of an SLP as well as “red flags” for children who might need help.  Freddie Wagner, the learning specialist, at Morrison Academy, led a workshop on Brain Architecture and Understanding the impact of A.D.H.D and Learning.

Those in attendance came from all over the island, but the highest percentage of attendees came from Taipei in the capital, traveling to attend the conference.  Because of the interest, the workshops were repeated for a second conference in Taipei in early May.  The event highlighted a need for a connecting organization and networking opportunities for educators, parents and specialist.

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Thank you Freddie Wagner for sharing this story!

[News] SENIA Japan holds first conference

13123068_10154329588954245_8109251513234874251_o senia-japan-contact-details-screen-1 senia-japan-end-of-conferenceSENIA Japan was very proud to host their first annual conference on 30th April 2016! It was a huge success and also a great platform to introduce SENIA Asia to Japan.

The conference included two plenary sessions: Applied Behavior Analysis by Christine White-Tzeng and How to Use Your Brain’s Built-in Apps to Sharpen Attention, Battle Boredom, and Build Mental Muscle by Dr. Ron Shumsky.

‘Why inclusion’ was an address by three Heads of Schools that set the tone for the conference: Craig Coutts from Yokohama International School, Jon Schatzky from Canadian Academy and Matthew Parr from Nagoya International School discussed the absolute need for schools to support students with learning needs.

There were a range of sessions presented by educators, from addressing math and language difficulties, co-teaching to modifying curriculum and discussing mental health services available to support individuals from multicultural backgrounds.

The ‘show stopper’ that stole everyone’s hearts were students from Nagoya International School who bravely shared their stories of positive learning experiences as well as their challenges in prior academic settings. Common advice they all had for educators was to get to know each student individually and meet them where they are in their learning journey.

A common vision for supporting students with learning needs, sharing expertise with other educators and the opportunity to come together from across the country to advocate for our students made the SENIA Japan conference a tremendous success.

A huge thank you to all the presenters, the host school Canadian Academy, Heads of Schools for their unwavering support, students who shared their stories, parents, participants and everyone who worked behind the scene to make this conference a huge success. Last but not the least, thank you to the SENIA board for their vision and their mission to support learning for everyone on different learning journeys!

Story Contributed by Srishti Vaswani, SENIA Japan Chapter

[News] SENIA Manila holds 6th Conference

senia-manila-social-media1The SENIA Manila Chapter concluded its 6th Annual Conference with the theme “Making Inclusion Work!” Hosted by De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, the conference was attended by 196 participants. The keynote lecture entitled “Foundations of Inclusion” was given by Dr. Marie Therese Bustos, Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Education. An afternoon keynote entitled “Best Practices for Inclusion in the Classroom” was given by Dr. Edilberto Dizon, SPED Diagnostician and IEP Specialist.

A total of 21 teacher workshops were available for participants. Topics included Brain Frames, Differentiation, Resilience, Brain Breaks, IEP Planning, Developing Self Advocacy among many.  To catch a glimpse of the program, click here. Congratulations SENIA Manila Chapter for the success of your 6th conference!

 

[News] SENIA Singapore Inaugural Event a Success

seniasThe Special Education Network in Asia Singapore Chapter recently concluded their inaugural conference hosted by the Singapore American School. Held on September 3, 2016, the day consisted of spotlight speakers, 14 SAS teacher-lead presentations and opportunities to network with others from around Singapore. The keynote speaker, Ms. Leah Llamzon explored the different journeys that take us to new experiences and influence the perspectives that each of us develop over time. Dr. Roby Marcou talked about whether concerns are initiated at school, by parents, or by clinicians in the community. She also discussed how transparency in sharing information about students can be important to ensuring understandings which are cohesive and can provide for reinforcement of skills learning across platforms. SAS teacher presentations included differentiation, interventions, and social emotional learning. Congratulations to SENIA Singapore for the success of your inaugural event.

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Story contributed by Karli Koning