Seminars, sunsets and Sodom and Gomorrah

My time in Aukland/Hamilton so far has been mainly occupied with visits to Special Schools and Early Childhood Intervention Conductive Education units as well as speaking at two seminars on FASD for Positive Path International.

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Over 200 people attended the seminars which took place over two days and feedback from delegates has been really positive reinforcing the need for more information for educators and other professionals about FASD.

Following this some relaxation was in order with fish and chips and a beautiful sunset at Raglan Bay

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And a visit to Rotorua with Red Wood forests and Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Spa where for more than 700 years the Ngati Rangiteaorere tribe have lived and protected the site as place of healing and revitalisation. The Sodom and Gomorrah Pool can reach temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Celsius and water can erupt from the pool up to two metres in height.

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E noho rā Christchurch, Kia Ora Aukland

It’s time to say goodbye to Christchurch and hello to Aukland.  I leave Christchurch with many happy and rich memories of the City, the people, the children, families and staff at the Champion Centre who made me feel so very welcome, and with a sense of understanding of a population who constantly re-create themselves.

The innovative and creative approaches they take to rebuilding their lives after the disruptive effects of earthquakes pervades all aspects of life and can be seen across the city.

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They are also a population of explorers and travellers and hence very welcoming to people who travel to see them. I’ve really enjoyed my time here but its time to move on to pastures new and the exciting possibilities that Aukland and Hamilton have to offer, starting with two FASD seminars.

How to deal with home sickness ?

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Starting to feel home-sick, I decided to spend the latter part of the day reflecting. After a morning observing children and attending meetings, I headed for the coast in search of ‘New Brighton’ beach.  There are some similarities in relation to gift shops, cafes and a pier, although it’s not quite as well-developed as the original Brighton Pier.  Still being somewhere near something that sounds familiar helped.

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The lambs have arrived at the Champion Centre to see the children

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It was very exciting at the Champion Centre this morning with the arrival of lambs.  Some of the children do not have many opportunities to visit the countryside, so this was very special.  I spent the morning observing R who has 5q14.3 deletion.  He visited the music therapist, the computer room, the speech and language therapist and the early intervention teacher and physiotherapist jointly.  There was also a visual impairment teacher present to assess his needs. He is using Assistive and Augmentative Communication to support his learning and really enjoys the music and computer sessions.

Akaroa – historic French and British settlement

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Spent the morning visiting the family of a child with Down’s Syndrome in Little River.  Their very rural lifestyle means that their aspirations for their son’s future are focused on agriculture and horticulture.

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Following this, enjoyed the company of David and Susan Foster-Cohen, fish and chips in a French Bistro and a stroll around Akaroa which is 75 kilometres from the city of Christchurch. Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. The most outstanding ocean views accompany beautiful colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores, and cafés.

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