Over the years, Speech Pathology Group: Children’s Services International (SPG: CSI) and the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina have combined their efforts to establish and implement a ground-breaking program, The Bosnia Autism Project. Our mission has been to “teach the teachers” and provide sustainable aid to children with communication impairments. Lisa Cameron has recently extended the SPG: CSI efforts to the Himalayan country of Bhutan, and Marci VonBroembsen remains active in South Africa. SPG: CSI is truly expanding and going international!
From 2009-2012, SPG: CSI sent specialized teams of professional volunteers to provide evidence-based assessment and treatment education to professionals, university students and parents in Bosnia- Herzegovina. This past summer, SPG:CSI worked with a four-year old who was hidden in his house because his family was ashamed of his disability. We met a 12-year-old who had never been to school and whose parents would lock him in his empty “bedroom” (merely a concrete room and a bucket) because he was nonverbal and had become so aggressive that they did not know how to control his behaviors.
Because of the tireless efforts from professionals in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and SPG: CSI’s dedication, together we have achieved amazing results! We are ecstatic to tell you that in October 2012 both our four-year old and the 12-year old started attending school and are doing well. For the first time students with autism and other disabilities are receiving treatment, a home-based intervention program has been established, parents are being educated, and the numbers of treatment centers continue to grow. But our mission is far from complete.
We are now in phase three of the Bosnia Autism Project, which is providing advanced training to the community leaders and medical and educational specialists. In an effort to maximize our efforts, we have invited seven key professionals and medical specialists to train with us in California for three weeks in the summer of 2013. These trail-blazing pioneers will receive advanced training in communication assessment and treatment strategies for children of all ages and stages, and go back to Bosnia to train other professional peers, leading them through a professional transformation.
For those of you who have wanted to participate with the non-profit but were unsure how, we invite you to get involved. Now is the time—and you don’t have to make the trek overseas!
- Visit our website and learn more about the Bosnia Autism Project. Any and all help is welcomed, without long-term commitments. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you have any questions or want to get involved.
- Friend us on facebook at to follow the most up to date information, see pics and follow the progress of our Bosnian colleagues.
- Join us at California Speech Hearing Association Convention for a 90-minute informational seminar (Thursday, March 8th) and Happy Hour at the Hyatt Long Beach on Friday March 9th. Check out our website for more information.
Larisa Petersen, MS, CCC-SLP is in her third year as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Currently, she works for The Speech Language Pathology Group in Walnut Creek, California. She provides speech-language services to students in Kindergarten through sixth grade. She updates the blog for The Bosnia Autism Project and you can visit her at http://spgcsi.wordpress.com. Also written by Anna Taggart, Leah Huang, and Raquel Narain.