Alex has a degree in International Studies and Foreign Languages from Stonehill College and in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Teachers College – Columbia University. Thereafter, she worked at a few inclusive schools across New York City both as an English as a New Language (ENL) and English Language Arts (ELA) teacher in high school and middle school. She also worked as an ENL coordinator and instructional coach training teachers with strategies and techniques to bring into their own classrooms. Recently, she became a Montessori (MACTE) accredited teacher, and she supports teachers with approaches learned from that method to meet the varying needs within a classroom context. She believes the only way to help a student is to know a student. Thus, in all of her work, she devotes herself to learning about the needs of each individual in front of her.
María Laura, a mother within a neurodivergent family and professional passionate about inclusion, transitioned from a career in human resources communications to becoming an educator at Academia Cotopaxi for the past six years. With a specialization in human development, rooted in the humanistic Person-Centered approach and a Master’s degree in Psychopedagogy, she currently works as an infant teacher at IMAGINE. Her mission is to promote confidence in the individuality of each person and break the taboos surrounding neurodiversity in education. As a member of SENIA, she firmly believes that achieving inclusion requires continuous collaboration between various agents of change, and she seeks to transform this belief into tangible actions in Ecuador.
Alejandra López is a special education teacher with 10 years of experience working with kids with special needs (ASD). She likes challenges and is constantly acquiring new knowledge.
She co-founded CIMA, the Multidisciplinary Intervention Center for Autism in Cuenca, and CABLAU, an autism specialized intervention center in Quito. Her work focused on intervention therapy and supporting families. Currently, she coordinates the inclusion department of a school in Quito and provides ABA based therapy. Alejandra holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and a Master coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis.
She strongly believes that inclusion is fundamental to our society and that overcoming obstacles is a sign of a healthy environment.
Daniela Salazar is a passionate educator with over 20 years of teaching experience. She has a master’s degree in Psychopedagogy in Talent and Creativity.
Daniela is an elementary school Spanish teacher and a Certified EFT TAPPING Facilitator. This is her 11th year working at Academia Cotopaxi.
Daniela firmly believes that emotions and learning go hand in hand. When students feel emotionally connected and inspired, the learning process becomes much more effective and memorable.
Thank you to UWC Thailand for hosting the first Phuket SEN Networking Event for this academic year. Therapists and learning support specialists gathered from across the island for a morning filled with meaningful connections, knowledge exchange, and collaborative planning for future events aimed at fostering island-wide development. Amidst the productive discussions, coffee, and biscuits added the perfect touch to a fantastic morning of professional growth and community building. Here’s to a year of continued collaboration and support!
Monday 4th December – 4 – 4:30pm
Hear the CEO of Steps talk about how their innovative accommodations station is being used to help secondary and adult learners access education and work with greater independence and confidence.
Join us online for an informal chat and find out how accommodations can change the world!
Our first Learning Event for this academic was a huge success!
The Makaton Taster events held on Thursday 26th October and Saturday 28th October provided participants with a fun and informative introduction to the world of Makaton, a language program that uses signs and symbols to support communication.
We learnt about how Makaton can be used to bridge communication gaps and promote understanding between individuals with and without communication challenges and of course there was a lot of enthusiastic signing!
Attendees left the event with newfound knowledge, the confidence to start integrating Makaton into their daily routines, whether at home or in the classroom, and some Makaton freebies! A big thank you to all that attended and we look forward to hosting more learning events throughout the academic year.
We have a wealth of experience joining the SENIA Thailand board for the 2023/24 academic year. It is going to be a great year!
Speech and Language Therapist / Early Intervention Specialist
Originally from Cardiff, Wales, Hayley has over 15 years of experience of working with young people with diverse learning needs and styles. Her experience ranges from small community schools in the UK to large international schools in Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. Hayley believes in employing a multimodal approach to developing communication in young learners, and her love of signing has led her to become a certified Makaton Tutor. Hayley also enjoys working closely with families and educators, and as a certified Elklan and Hanen trainer, she enjoys providing highly interactive training that offer evidence-based approaches and practical resources for home and school to achieve the best possible language outcomes for young children. Hayley currently works as an Early Years Intervention Specialist at the British International School, Phuket.
Education: MSc Psychology, MA Autism, PGCE: SENCo and BSc Speech and Language Therapy.
Elizabeth is a passionate and experienced teacher hailing from New Zealand. With a decade of teaching experience in Thailand, she has impacted students of all ages, from 3 to 18 years old. Elizabeth is on a mission to make education more equitable and inclusive. Her journey began as a physical education teacher, followed by a transition to an English teacher, and for the past 6 years, and Early Years teacher, showcasing her adaptability and commitment to versatile teaching roles. Currently working as an Early Years teacher at Canadian International School, Elizabeth continues to foster an inclusive and nurturing classroom environment. She is actively pursuing a master’s degree in inclusive education, underlining her dedication to this vital field.
Education: BPhEd Sport & Exercise Science, PGDip Inclusive Education.
Whole School SENCo
Lissa has worked in inclusive settings since 2003, when she was hired in her first “special education” position to integrate a self-contained program into being full members of the middle school community. Since then, she has been part of the SKIES (Skills & Knowledge in Inclusive Education Settings) program at Northern Arizona University, graduating with her second Master’s in Special Education with a focus on Inclusive Practice. After working in several states, she moved to a fully inclusive school in Hong Kong as a Learning Specialist and then to her current position in Thailand. Her primary interest is in developing systems that meet the needs of all students and in which teachers feel supported.
Education: BA Secondary Education/English, MA Special Education Cross-Categorical Learning Disabilities, MA Special Education Severe and Profound Disabilities with a focus on Inclusive Practices and minor in Assistive Technology, Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Special Education.
Whole School Director of Learning Support
Sofia began her experience of working with neurodivergent young people back in Cambridgeshire, UK, where she ran a network of summer playschemes for children and young people with diverse special educational needs. During her university experience in London, Sofia completed a dissertation on teaching language to non-verbal autistic children and then moved onto Cambridge university where she qualified as a teacher.
Moving on to Brighton UK, Sofia opened a new facility for learners with severe/profound learning difficulties which was attached to a mainstream secondary school and later moved on to working in underprivileged coastal schools where she qualified as a SENCO.
Sofia is now the Whole College Director of Pupil Support for a leading school in Bangkok who hold the international school award for Inclusion. Her specialist subject is in-class adaptation strategies and she is also a qualified psychometric assessor and can provide access arrangement testing services.
Education: BA English 1:1, PGCE Secondary Education, NASENCO, Psychometric Testing Level 7, currently working towards MEd in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
Head of Primary Learning Support
Samantha initially qualified as a speech and language therapist before obtaining her iPGCE and moving into learning support teaching. She is originally from the North East of England and worked in a range of settings there with children and adults with speech, language and communication needs. Samantha’s professional journey then led her to Malaysia where she worked in two well-known international schools, firstly as an SLT/LS teacher and secondly as a learning support coordinator. Samantha recently moved to Bangkok, where she currently oversees the learning support provision for primary students at Bangkok Prep.
Samantha has many years experience in training teachers and families to support communication and learning. She also enjoys organising neurodiversity awareness events with the aim of educating the next generation as well as the wider community. With personal and professional experience of neurodivergence, Samantha is passionate about advocating for inclusion and breaking down barriers for all.
Education: PGCert SEND iSENCO, iPGCE, TQUK TEFL, BSc(Hons) Speech and Language Sciences.
Primary Learning Support and Pastoral Care Co-Ordinator
Born and raised in Essex, UK, James has been working in education for over ten years. Previously working as primary school teacher in the UK, Spain, South Korea and Thailand, he has been co-ordinating learning support provision for the last three years in Bangkok. James spends much of his time working with families and carers of young people with a range of differing needs, bridging the gap between school and home and advocating for their continued development within a mainstream setting. Alongside this he co-ordinates a small team who deliver in-class support, interventions and other additional services. James teaches at St Andrews International School S107 across the primary phase.
Education: BA(Hons) Primary Education with MFL Spanish (QTS), MA Special and Additional Learning Needs
High School Learning Support
The experience of teaching English while living in Japan in the late 1990s was enough to convince Matt that teaching overseas was for him a dream come true. After moving back to the USA in 2000, Matt eventually moved to Las Vegas, where he focused on supporting students with various academic and behavioural needs for five years. In 2008, an opportunity arose for Matt to pursue international teaching in Bangkok, Thailand, where he could continue to work helping students with a wide variety of learning differences. Currently, Matt is teaching at Ruamrudee International school, where he has been happily ensconced for going on 16 years. Matt’s primary focus has been working with high school students in grades 9–12 within the RIS learning support program. His role as a specialist educator means assisting students in various roles, including as their advocate and support teacher whenever (and wherever) he is needed. His position as a specialist means Matt may be found working one-on-one, providing push-in support, or preparing students for life after high school–often in the space of one school day.
Education: BA in Political Science, University of Vermont; MA in Ed, Special Education emphasis, Ohio University
Since embarking on her special education journey in 2017, Najwa had the extraordinary opportunity to learn and grow under the wise guidance of SENIA’s Executive Director, Lori Boll. Najwa’s career began at an intensive learning program Lori founded to teach children with significant support needs. This initial experience was transformative, leading to a lifelong commit to special education as a career.
In her second year, Najwa pursued a Master’s Degree in Arts of Teaching – Special Education, a decision that deepened her passion and commitment to this field. Post-graduation, Najwa’s journey has been one of continuous learning and fulfillment. Najwa currently serves as an inclusion specialist at St. Andrews Samakee International School, where she continues to apply and expand her expertise in education.
In 2019, Najwa embarked on a new venture, assisting husband, Philip Bowman, in co-founding MARIO Education and serving as the Chief Operating Officer for a short period of time before jumping back into the classroom.
Students at ICSA through the Service Learning Program created a documentary to raise awareness about disabilities in Abidjan. They began this process by researching about the laws that impact people with disabilities, interviewed specialists in the field and community members, then embarked on a field trip to spend time with the students at our partner special institution AIM. They feel privileged to be embraced by the AIM community and our school is proud of them for being leaders and advocates of inclusion.
Through our Service Learning program our students visited our local partner special school, Imagine Le Monde. They planned this visit to spend time with the students with various needs. They performed a play about the Rainbow Fish which was interpreted for our hearing impaired audience. We all joined in on the fun and made friendship bracelets and got creative with face painting, with our friends. The students interviewed students and teachers as part of their documentary project. The documentary will inform the community about the experiences of people with disabilities in Cote d’Ivoire. They also interviewed a sign language trainer who will visit our school for a teacher training session in Sign Language.