The Final Volunteer Day Urumqi -- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 We have now spent eight days volunteering at schools for children and young adults with autism across china (Shanghai, Nanjing, Hefei, Zhengzhou, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Jiayuguan, and Urumqi). The following is a summary of some of these experiences and the impression they have left on me.
1. 5000km on a bicycle is a joke compared to what some of these organizations have accomplished. Fighting bearacuracy and a lack of community support to provide the only outlet of support these children have.
2. China is making incredible strides in terms of awareness of mental disabilities but it still has a long way to go. America deserves a pat on the back in this regards but can't stagnate and needs to push the boundries of research.
3. Inclusion is a great thing. If you own a business -- an incredible deed would be to hire someone with a disability. It's a large responsability but an even bigger deed to society in helping give someone a sense of purpose.
4. Mental disabilities are facinating -- they are so varied and complex. We have so much work to do -- even in terms of termonology to specify what we are really talking about. I believe we need some paridigmn shifts in how we think about autism.
5. People really desire access to medical information in developing countries -- a great service if someone can figure out how to provide it. For instance, facilitating discussions between these schools and schools in America -- these schools have a big desire for something like this.
6. I am going to miss these kids -- they are some of the most beautiful people I have ever met. XOXO
thousands of Chinese people reached and an incredibly humbling feeling gained for the amazing things that
Another great volunteer day. Reporters from XinJiang TV and the XinJiang evening news where there to report on it. We had over 100 people from the city sign our flag. We played all sorts of games with the 20 something kids that attend the school.