Visit to Association Imagine le Monde

The SENIA West African Chapter Committee discussed the status of special education in the local community of Abidjan. The history of civil war in Cote d’Ivoire is in the backdrop of a society who is hopeful for the future. Sadly, as is the case in most African countries, children with special needs remain side lined from governmental support. Local policies and laws are vague and in some instances impractical, due to the limited resources available. The adoption of transitional organizational policies from the NGO community provides some hope for equity and inclusion, however, there are still a cultural and religious barrier influenced by limited awareness about disabilities.

As a committee we visited the Association Imagine le Monde. The visit was enriching and exposed the committee to the realities of special needs institutions in Cote d’Ivoire. AIM is one institution that brings hope to the community, doing amazing work in creating opportunities for students with more intensive needs.  They give their students access to education, practical life skills and vocational skills. AIM is a safe place to grow and learn and the facilitators parental support, with seminars on how to raise students with special needs. We are grateful to be a partner school and the committee will be working to sustain these relations with them, through vocational projects to assist the adults with disabilities to receive sheltered employment.

 

December 2021, SENIA Conference at ICSA!

The SENIA West African Chapter hosted the first SENIA Virtual Conference in December 2021 at ICSA. In attendance were 20 elementary, middle and high school teaching staff. This was a much needed opportunity for professional development, awareness about diversity in learning and reducing stigma associated with special needs.
The event was highly interactive with participants engaging in discussions on the platform with other teachers in international schools across the world! This brought our community closer to other schools and inspiration was ignited about how we can create more inclusive access points for our students. The presentations were enjoyable with many moments for deep reflection and discussion. This was a great opportunity for teachers to reflect on best practices, to become advocates in demystifying special needs in Cote d’Ivoire.
      

SENIA Bulgaria’s Inaugural Networking Event

           

SENIA Bulgaria’s Inaugural Networking Event 🎉

We are proud to invite professionals and educators from across Sofia to attend SENIA Bulgaria’s first networking event. Attendees will learn more about SENIA Bulgaria and our mission, connect with other professionals who work with the special needs community, and learn how we support each other in our vision for a more inclusive world.
This event will be hosted at the Anglo-American School of Sofia on June 8, 2022 from 9:00-10:30. Coffee, tea, and small snacks will be provided.
If you are a professional or an educator in Sofia who works with children with special needs and would like to attend, please email Cassie at cnutini@aas-sofia.org.

SENIA Saudi Chapter’s Mission

The SENIA Saudi Arabia chapter’s mission is to increase and promote awareness of individuals with neurodiverse needs. Our aim is to bring professionals from different communities across Saudi Arabia to collaborate, share experiences, support each other, families, and professionals to be well equipped to serve the needs of neurodiverse students. 

You can learn more about us from our website and by following this Facebook page to keep up to date with the recent news and events. 

For more information, please contact the Board Members: Inna Polianska (The KAUST School-Thuwal), Rayan Itani (AIS-Riyadh), Roslyn Dotterweich (AIS-Jeddah) at 

SaudiArabiachapter@seniainternational.org 

Meet the SENIA Saudi Arabia Board Members

Roslyn Dotterweich is the Secondary Learning Support Coordinator at the American International School of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. 

Roslyn is a mom of three boys with Autism, and is a passionate advocate for the inclusion of all types of learners in international schools. Over the past 10 years, she has helped build a comprehensive and inclusive secondary learning support program at AISJ, including a high school general (modified) diploma program, and is very interested in promoting vocational and educational opportunities for young adults with special needs.

She has 20 years of educational experience in locales such as Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Peru, and the UAE. She holds an MSEd in Special Education and is currently a Doctoral student at the University of Northern Colorado.  Her research areas include secondary and postsecondary transition services, self-determination, and Universal Design for Learning.

 

Inna Polianska

Sp Ed in Special Education

  1. Ed in International Education
  2. Ed in ESOL

Inna is an inclusion specialist with over fifteen years of experience in international education. Throughout her career in international schools in Ukraine, Uganda, China and now Saudi Arabia, Inna has worked as a learning support teacher, individualized program teacher and a department lead. Currently, Inna works at the KAUST School as the Kindergarten Learning Support Team lead. 

With a breadth of knowledge in child development, Inna is passionate about early intervention that hinges on collaboration between parents and the support team. In addition to her degrees, Inna is a certified Positive Discipline Parent and Early Childhood Educator, and is qualified to deliver PECS, Zones of Regulation and Orton Gillingham Reading interventions. 

In working with the students with neurodiverse needs, Inna advocates for equal access to education for all students who will grow up to become capable, independent learners.

 

 

Rayan Itani is a Learning Support specialist at the American International School of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Rayan was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon and then moved to Saudi Arabia in 2013 to be with her husband and has been living here since then with her two kids. Throughout her career Rayan has been an advocate for students with learning difficulties and her aim is to ensure that every student receives the needed support to thrive and learn to the best of their abilities.  Rayan is passionate about learning; her goal is to empower students with skills that help them unlock their potential regardless of their abilities. 

 Rayan holds a BA in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Special Education and a Masters in Educational Psychology from the American University in Beirut. 

 

Our Mission and Vision

Our Mission

The Special Education Network Inclusion Association (SENIA) is an association of educators, professionals, and parents whose mission is to advocate for and provide resources/supports for differently-abled individuals.

Our Vision

To live in an inclusive world where every individual is supported, resources are accessible, potential is maximized, and action is inspired. SENIA Bulgaria also aims to help educational professionals establish effective ways to promote inclusion and diversity.

SENIA Bulgaria Board Members

Amanda Frank

Co-Chair

Amanda Frank is one of the co-chairs for SENIA Bulgaria. Amanda has worked in the field of special education in Los Angeles, Boston, Ecuador, and Bulgaria supporting children and adults aged 2-22 for 15 years. She has been a board-certified behavior analyst for 10 years and has worked in both in-home and school environments. She is currently a learning support specialist in the elementary school at the Anglo-American School of Sofia.

 

Matt Johnson

Co-Chair

Matt Johnson is one of the co-chairs for SENIA Bulgaria. He has worked as an Elementary and Secondary School Psychologist/Counselor for 11 years. Matt began his career in the United States before moving overseas to the International School Bangkok. He is now the Middle School Counselor and Psychologist at the Anglo-American School of Sofia.

 

Cassie Nutini

Communications and Social Media

Cassie Nutini has seven years of experiences as a special educator. She began teaching in the United States before joining the international school community in Bulgaria. She is currently an elementary learning support specialist at the Anglo-American School of Sofia.

 

Amy Dincuff

Secretary

Amy Dincuff has been teaching Learning Support and English as a Second Language for 16 years. She is originally from the United States where she taught K-12 in the suburbs of New Jersey as well as in Spanish Harlem in New York City. Internationally, she has worked in London, England and is currently a middle and high school learning support specialist at the Anglo-American School of Sofia.

 

Debbie Guzzi

Treasurer

Debora Guzzi is originally from Italy. She is in her 9th year as an international teacher. She has taught Learning Support from grades 1 to 12 in the UAE, South Korea, China, and now Bulgaria. She is currently the middle school learning support specialist at the Anglo-American School of Sofia.

 

Lindsey Moore

Local Chapter Liaison

Lindsey Moore has been a school counselor for 14 years and worked in Alaska and Bulgaria at all age levels. She is also an active member of the American and International School Counselor Associations. Lindsey served on the Alaska School Counselor Association board for seven years, including two years as board president. Currently, she is the elementary counselor and counseling team leader at the Anglo-American School of Sofia.

 

Joe Gorski

Local Chapter Liaison

Joe Gorski has been an educator for over 15 years and worked in Japan, Canada, New York City, Denmark, and Bulgaria. he was part of SENIA Japan for many years (and former co-chair of the board). Currently, he is the Director of Student Support Services at the Anglo-American School of Sofia.

 

Ruslana Anastasova

Local Service Provider Representative

Ruslana Anastasova is an occupational therapist and learning support specialist. She has been supporting children and their families for more than 20 years. Ruslana served the Anglo-American School of Sofia for 10 years as a learning support specialist. She is also an active member and one of the the chair members of Bulgarian Occupational Therapy Association. Currently, she has her own private practice as an occupational therapist located in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Senia India Board Members

Nurazwin Liyana Binti Abdullah December 2021 SENIA World Changer Award Recipient

Nurazwin Liyana Binti Abdullah has proven that individuals with a hearing impairment can always find different ways to showcase their talents through her monologue and poetry performances in sign language. Nurazwin Liyana’s monologue performance titled “Mother” received recognition at “Les Etoiles De Paris 2021” Art Festival (Nov 2021). She also performed sign language poetry at George Town Literary Festival, the biggest literary event in Malaysia, and at a national OKU (individuals with disabilities) convention organized by Malaya University, a renowned national university. She leads her school team in sign language performing arts and trains for performances and competitions. Her monologue performance can be viewed here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=W-QyhWTI2GA&feature=share

Congratulations to Nurazwin Liyana Binti Abdullah as December’s 2021 SENIA World Changer Award winner!

You Are Not a Bad Parent

Dr. Elizabeth Henry, affectionately known as Dr. Liz. She is a nationally renowned, board-certified pediatrician, speaker, author, parent coach, and youth advocate.