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Fund Raising, Distance Training, and School Services, oh my!

So this summer went by in a FLASH. Here is a brief snapshot of what we've been up to:

1. Global Giving

Develop Africa has taken our project to Global Giving, an online crowdfunding community that connects nonprofits to donors and private companies with the aim of raising funds for charity projects around the globe. They are the real deal. Auditors are periodically sent to project sites to conduct observations and interviews, something we'll be ready for if and when the time comes. We'll be providing updates on all our doings through this platform as well as our blog. Check out the link:

2. Distance Training

In addition to our coursework and practicum supervision hours, we have begun the first steps of distance training in specialized areas. As this is a remote location, we are unfortunately unable to shadow seasoned BCBAs and complete in-person training. Fortunately, within the wonderful world of the internet, resources are at hand! At the moment we are are beginning distance training and supervision in DTI (Discrete Trial Instruction) and PRT (Pivotal Response Training), both of which are therapy models that fall under the ABA umbrella. Distance training includes online study and professional critique of our own therapy videos.

DTI training is provided by the ASSERT Program in the University of Utah (research article here), and PRT certification is provided by the Koegel Autism Center in California (resource page here).

If you're curious, here are some "about" pages on the two models:

And let's not forget about ESDM (the Early Start Denver Model):

3. School Services

A budding partnership: Dakar ABA has begun working with another school in the area! This school is looking to set up a special education system (which includes staff training, 1-1 aides, resource rooms, IEP structure, etc.) and has sought out services from one of our team members, who has extensive experience from her work in the United States. This is a wonderful opportunity to provide an introduction to ABA and to incorporate our services into the school setting, as this school has so far been unable to welcome special-needs students. Stay tuned for more details.

4. Home sessions and summer activities

Within our trainings, it is extremely important to work within multiple settings. As the academic year ended and summer began, we transitioned briefly from a "center"-based environment to the home environment, which allowed us to focus more on domains like self-care skills and age-appropriate household and neighborhood activities. Toilet training using the water method (no toilet paper here), and cooking using inexpensive, local Senegalese ingredients have both been fantastic learning experiences for us foreigners. We've organized pottery and local roller skating sessions, as well as the children's science museum Keur Imagination. We've heard tell of horse therapy in town... must check that out as well!

Lessons courtesy of Baba Roller in Mermoz, Dakar.

Including playdate friends and siblings during therapy sessions can be helpful for everyone! Not only can children learn about their special-needs friends through guidance in sensitivity and diversity, peers as young as 5 years old can be trained in basic ABA techniques.

Above, for our non-Senegalese readers: A communal plate of ceebu yapp, rice with meat (prepared by an adult!). Everyone eats around the same bowl, using either spoons or their hands. Table etiquette is taught from infancy (right hand only, eat only from the section in front of you, remove unwanted food from mouth with left hand, etc). Some families also eat in the "Western" style using individual plates and high dining tables - in these families, it is important that children learn both sets of meal norms.

Below: A cooking setup in a courtyard

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