Today we met the families and children that we will be working with for the first time. Over breakfast we looked over the questionnaires and measures that we were going to use with families in our parent interviews, and practiced translating these.
When we arrived at the centre we were pleased to see that lots of parents and their children had arrived to meet with us. Most of the children had lots of energy and we had a very busy few hours meeting them, asking and answering questions. One girl called Rama made a particular impression on us when she kept taking and then giving back our pens as we were writing with them! Another highlight was meeting Hassan, a boy who drew us a very detailed picture of a specific travel agency in Mersin, complete with full address and phone number.
In our initial meeting with each family we discussed their child’s skills and behaviour (for example, how they communicate and whether they engage in play with their peers or siblings). We also measured the levels of stress that parents are experiencing supporting their child with autism within the context of their culture and current situation living in Turkey.
It was great to hear how keen the parents and caregivers are to be involved with the program, and hear stories, anecdotes and things that they enjoy doing with their child. We talked about goals and parent priorities that will help us to individualize our training for each child.
This evening we have had dinner in our apartment, discussed the structure of the program and also had time to relax and reflect on the day ahead of another busy day tomorrow.