Arriving for the first time in Oman I realise it’s nothing like the UAE, namely Dubai. It’s absolutely stunning and is steeped in tradition.
Passing through the arrivals lounge I’m greeted by the father who leads me to his Hummer and we drive to the hotel. I’m given the full history of the city I’m in and told the family “own 70% of the land“. Shattered after my economy flight I wonder why I didn’t push for a little comfort so that I could at least have a chance of sleeping and then be prepared to work when landing!
Checked in at the hotel the bellboy takes my bags and the father takes me to the family home where a feast of local delicacies is waiting for me. I feel bad for thinking about the flight as this family clearly do respect me and appreciate me being there.
The morning after I conduct a school observation of their child; train the shadow teacher and his dedicated teaching team on how to create a communication friendly environment & an introduction to using visuals in the classroom. We create a visual timetable for the class to follow and identify a quiet space where the child can access some joint attention activities with his shadow teachers. Demonstrating Attention Autism stage 1, with the child in tow, to his Teacher and Shadow Teacher it’s now time to interview some potential SLTs for the family over Skype.
The family have lined up 3 potential SLTs, all from overseas and all newly qualified, and I roast each of them for 45-60 minutes each. Dedication to the family is going to important but upheaving and moving to Oman and committing to stay is always a challenge. I go through my notes with the parents, we choose the best fit for the child, and the SLT is offered the post within the day.
My initial programme for the SLT to work with is clear, working on:
- Joint attention
- Choice making
- Intensive interaction
- Using the TEACCH structure to start developing independence skills
Back in the UK I Skype the new SLT once a fortnight for the first 2 months until a more local supervisor is sought. Job done and the child’s communication skills are developing nicely, still no MDT assessment though!