POPARD – Provincial Outreach Program for Autism Related Disorders

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It’s hard to believe, I know – spring has already sprung. The heat on the bus is only marginally blasting in the morning, and there is actual sunlight in the evening! With our practicum placements just around the corner, class is rapidly approaching the finish line.

Tomorrow we wrap up two weeks of instruction under Dr. Kenneth Cole, a consultant on loan from POPARD, the Provincial Outreach Program for Autism Related Disorders. Not only is the material fascinating, the richness with which the lectures are delivered is helping to paint vivid pictures of my future career. I am so excited. Knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavioural Analysis is going to be fundamental in shaping the way I approach exceptional children in the classroom. Most credible SEA programs have course content on the subjects but Stenberg offers five weeks of intense study with the addition of POPARD certificates of course participation; it’s another reason why I chose to attend here. Even if you never encounter someone diagnosed with autism (although I can almost guarantee that you already have), the principles of ABA and approaches to autism can be applied to any child. Honest! It should be required learning for anyone who interacts with children, parents included.

KEN

Dr. Cole explains proprioceptive stimulation to a captivated audience. 

Learning what we did from Stenberg and then attending POPARD training so close to practicum is the best kind of review I could have hoped for. It doesn’t hurt to feel smarter than the average bear for a few weeks too as Dr. Cole repeatedly reminds us that he delights in teaching Stenberg students – we’re so prepared by the time he gets to us! It’s been a densely packed schedule since starting out last August, but to look back and reflect on the amount of content that has been covered is really gratifying. Realizing how perceptive I have become to certain styles of thought and methods of learning has caught me off guard this year more than once. I am a more observant civilian, somehow managing to enjoy people-watching even more than I used to. Babysitting my little brothers has turned into natural opportunities to practice applications from class on children who already trust me.

As graduation gets closer and closer, it’s hard sometimes to slow down and deal with the problems at hand. The house chores tend to pile up when a day of class is followed by an evening of reading and assignments.  Even though I am looking to the future, the reality of an exam tomorrow has the astounding ability to ground me in the present. I have become a self-taught expert in flash cards, notes, study techniques and relaxing anti-stress visualizations this year; I have also invested quite a bit of money in assorted wines.

I have a bottle with my name on it and a pile of flash cards awaiting me. Wish me luck!

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