FSM Receives Consultation on Autism Spectrum Disorders

Dr. Irina Zamora (standing), confers with Maureen Villagomez, Pohnpei State Special Education Teacher, during the school personnel session review activity on December 1.

Guam CEDDERS’ June De Leon facilitated the on-site consultation, from November 27 to December 1, in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Pohnpei State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).  The focus of the on-site consultation was to support FSM’s efforts to improve educational results for students with ASD.  Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and Ms. De Leon conducted the on-site consultation, which included classroom and home visits, and parent and school personnel sessions.

The classroom and home visits were opportunities to learn from family members and school personnel on the needs of children with ASD in the FSM.  The two 2-hour parent sessions, attended by 32 family members and service providers of children with ASD, included an overview of ASD and dialogue on the “what and why” of ASD.  At the end, family members shared that the behavioral strategies, such as calming techniques, visual supports, and schedules were helpful to them in supporting their child with ASD.

The two-day school personnel session was attended by 50 service providers from Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Yap.  The session, “Working with Children with ASD: Early Identification and Intervention,” incorporated the needs observed and discussed during the school and home visits conducted earlier in the week.  Similar to the parent sessions, the school personnel session included the “what and why” of ASD and strategies to support children with ASD in school.  At the end, school personnel reported that they will be able to use the behavioral and sensory strategies, visual supports, and schedules in their classroom to support children with ASD.

Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation