Sunday, June 23, 2013

Baia Mare and Maramures: June 9th-14th, 2013

Last summer 3 girls from Autism Baia Mare Center came to my training on sensory processing in Bucharest and inquired if I could possibly come and do trainings for their center as well. The original plan was to first come to Bucharest and then fly with Lili to Baia Mare. However, due to scheduling needs, I was asked to go to Baia Mare directly from Oradea. Thankfully the train ride was only 3 1/2 hours long and it was on one of their newer trains. Anita, the head psychologist, and her husband, Cristi, met me at the train station late Sunday evening. I loved staying with them and getting to spend time in the evenings with their adorable 2 year old, Eric. 

Instead of doing formal training sessions, I was asked to observe each worker in the Center during their individual therapy sessions and to provide feedback and specific recommendations.  I was truly impressed by the level of service and commitment these women provide. They were also extremely receptive to my feedback and training. We also did several home visits to surrounding villages as some children require in-home therapy. Seeing 20+ children in a matter of 3 1/2 days and then trying to come up with specific recommendations after only 1-2 visits was definitely challenging. Due to tue Center's policies, I am not able to post any pictures of the children. But I have to tell you about one special little boy, Vasilica. He is 2 1/2 years old and had a stroke in utero. On my first day there, I noticed that he only used his right hand during his therapy sessions. After explaining to his therapist the importance of incorporating his left side in all activities, I was then able to demonstrate. Immediately, he tried using his left arm to activate my iPad! The next day, I joyfully watched as his therapist reinforced these same techniques. I was also able to meet with his mom and provided some hands-on training. 


On my last day, I was treated to a half day tour of Maramures, driving from Baia Mare to Sighet. It was a beautiful drive and I was finally able to see a few wooden gates, a wooden church and Elie Weisel's home. The church we visited was built in the 1700s and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I am already looking forward to returning to Baia Mare next summer!

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