Our Vision. Our Mission. Our Leaders. Our Members.

  • Vision

    To live in an inclusive world where every individual is supported, resources are accessible, potential is maximized, and action is inspired.

  • Mission

    The Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA) is an association of educators, professionals, and parents whose mission is to advocate for and provide resources/supports for differently abled individuals.

  • Members

    Our SENIA members make our vision and mission possible.

The SENIA Board

Kate Balsamo

Kate Balsamo

Chairperson

Kathryn Balsamo has worked at the International School of Kuala Lumpur since 2011 as the Speech-Language Pathologist at the elementary school. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology, a Masters of Science in Education - Communication Disorders and a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Prior to living overseas in Malaysia, Kathryn lived and worked in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States.

Regionally, Kathryn has served on the Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA) Board since 2014, holding the position of corporate secretary and most recently as the chairperson. She is a founding board member and co-chair of a local SENIA chapter in Malaysia, SENIM (Special Education Network in Malaysia). Kathryn is a passionate advocate for all individuals and is committed to empowering teachers, parents and related service providers with practical strategies to ensure that the individuals under their care are successful both in and out of the schoolhouse. Outside of work, Kathryn enjoys rock climbing, running, and exploring the world with her family.

Pricilla Leighton

Pricilla Leighton

Local Chapter Liaison

Priscilla Leighton is a special education leader who advocates for inclusion and putting kids first. Her adventure in the world of special education began in California, where she worked as a Resource Specialist for 7 years. She earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education before moving overseas in
2013.

Now she is the Student Services Coordinator for Middle and High School at Brent International School Manila.

As local chapter liaison for SENIA, Priscilla supports the local chapters on their own inclusive journey. She also serves on the SENIA Manila board and personally experiences the benefits of being a part of a local chapter.

The keys to Priscilla‘s heart are held by her husband, two daughters, and a very large poodle. She’s always looking for a chance to whisk them away and explore the world (preferably
underwater).

Uwe Maurer

Uwe Maurer

Finance Coordinator

Uwe Maurer is the director of Taiwan Sunshine, a non-profit that supports and encourages families that have children with special needs. Uwe is married and the father of three children, one of whom has Cri-du-Chat Syndrome. He is passionate about giving students in Taiwanese and international schools authentic service learning opportunities and bridging the gap to special needs communities.

Uwe spent ten years teaching and being the principal Tianjin International School, Shenyang International School, and South Lake International School, Wuhan, in China. In 2006, he moved to Taiwan as the principal of Morrison Academy in Taipei. In 2012 he started a study center in Taipei for children with special needs in Taipei. Currently, Uwe lives in Taitung, Taiwan with his family, focusing on community development projects, specifically employment opportunities for adults with special needs.

Uwe has a Master’s in School Administration as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Education.

Brenda Deen

Brenda Deen

Web and Social Media Coordinator

Director of Student Support at Shanghai Community International School. She has over 10 years experience as a School Psychologist, beginning in the USA before moving to China. Brenda’s research background has an emphasis in cultural sensitivity in school crisis responses. Her current work experience focuses on consultation, as well as assessment and intervention for students, ages 3 to 21 years.

Brenda believes in living a balanced life, for students and adults. Therefore, in addition to work, she loves to travel and considers herself an amateur photographer.

Lori Boll

Lori Boll

Conference And Associations Coordinator

Lori Boll is an experienced Special Education leader with a personal connection to individuals with disabilities.

In 2003, Lori’s son Braden was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This milestone event changed her focus from teaching elementary students to advocating for all children and their education.

In Shanghai, China Lori worked as a program director for a school focused on students with special needs and went on to co-found the first inclusive school in the city. Currently Lori is running the new Intensive Needs Program which opened up at International School Bangkok this school year.

Lori has two graduate degrees; one in Reading Education and the other in Special Education and has been teaching for over twenty years in international schools, including American International School Riyadh, Jakarta International School, and Concordia International School, as well as in the United States in California and Colorado.

Tanya Farrol

Tanya Farrol

Awards Coordinator

Tanya Farrol is the Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator at Beijing City International School. Originally from Canada, she has worked as a special educator for over 20 years from Haiti to Egypt, and England to China.

She is a founding member and award coordinator of the Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA). In Beijing, she volunteers her time to promoting inclusion and raising awareness of special education issues for the local SENIA chapter called SENIB. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and six-year old son.

A Significant History

SENIA was started by a group of international school teachers in China in 2002. Our goal was to create a support network for teachers and other professionals working with children with special educational needs in Asia. Over the years we have grown to include other regions of the world.

As more and more families that have children with special learning needs move overseas, we are excited to see many students getting the support that was previously not available. Our network has expanded to include international school teachers, educational psychologists, support assistants, community organizations, and other professionals in the field.

Since the early beginnings, our heart has always been advocating for children with special needs. We are excited about the future and thank you for joining us!

Conference History

  • 2019 Hong Kong Academy, Hong Kong
  • 2018 ETC (EARCOS/SENIA)
  • 2017 YIS, Yokohama International School
  • 2016 ISKL, International School Kuala Lumpur
  • 2015 ETC (EARCOS/SENIA)
  • 2014 UWC, United World College
  • 2013 JIS, Jakarta Intercultural School
  • 2012 Ruamrudee International School, Thailand
  • 2011 Concordia International School, China
  • 2010 Brent International School, Manila, Philippines
  • 2009 BCIS, Beijing City International School, China
  • 2008 WAB, Western Academy Beijing, China
  • 2006 ESF, English Schools Foundation Hong Kong, China
  • 2005 SIS, Singapore international School Suzhou, China
  • Nov 2004 NIS, Nanjing International School, China
  • Apr 2004 Sunshine Learning Center, Beijing, China
  • 2003 WAB, Western Academy Beijing, China
  • 2002 BISS, Beijing International Singapore School, China

SENIA Members Make The Difference

Our SENIA members are the key to spreading the SENIA mission and vision.