We were delighted to welcome visitors from China recently who are keen to learn from best practices in autism support around the world. Mr Zheng (far left) and Mr Luan from the Ai You Foundation, China's first, non-governmental charity to be established in 2004 had a tour with CEO Mike Robinson; Director of Education, Sue Piper and Director of Care Services, Sarah Butcher. The Ai You Foundation was established by a group of entrepreneurs who wanted to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people in China.

The Ai You Foundation focus on a few different areas, including support for children with congenital heart disease and leukemia but they also have 6 autism centres around China, providing education and therapeutic support for children under the age of 7, who have a diagnosis of autism.

The recognition of autism and the provision of specific services are in their infancy in China and so they are keen to learn best practice from around the world. Their introduction to Prior’s Court came via the TEACCH organisation at the University of North Carolina, who have been providing training for Ai You and recommended they visit Prior’s Court to see an example of best practice at work.

CEO, Mike Robinson was delighted to show them around and commented:

“It is extremely rewarding for the great work of all the staff at Prior’s Court to be recognised at a global level. Our visitors from the Ai You Foundation came on the day of the 'Let me Shine' theatre performance and, as well as taking part in the performance itself, Mr Zheng and Mr Luan, were amazed at what our young people were achieving."

The 'Let Me Shine' performance was the culmination of a week of drama, music and dance based around our song 'Let Me Shine' as a way to use the powerful lyrics from the song to aid young people's learning. You can see a photo album and video of the final performance on our Facebook page.

Following the visit, Mr Zheng and Mr Luan commented:

“Priors Court has shone a light on the way our Foundation moves forward”.

We have regular visits from TEACCH representatives at the University of North Carolina and we were very proud that they recommended us as an example of best practice. An exceptional number of our staff are TEACCH trained including Teachers and Home Managers. In addition three staff are TEACCH Certified Practitioners and four are TEACCH Certified Advanced Consultants which is a very significant achievement. We are the only organisation outside of the United States to offer the Beyond the Basics advanced TEACCH training course. We are proud of our expertise in supporting those with autism at the severe end of the spectrum.