Helen McCabe, assistant professor of education, will present a free public seminar “Autism and Education in the People’s Republic of China,” for the University at Buffalo Asian Studies Program this spring.
McCabe will discuss autism and related educational services developed in China since the disorder was first diagnosed there in 1982. She will focus on educational opportunities for autistic children of all ages, and the need for further attention to adult services. She also will examine the relationship over the years between organizations and individuals working in this field in China and abroad, and opportunities for future collaboration.
Several years ago Helen McCabe was studying in China when she met Zhang Ge, an 8-year-old autistic girl who couldn’t carry on a conversation and had limited self-care skills. McCabe worked with her to develop life skills, and with the child’s parents to help them cope with her challenges.
Today Zhang has a job in a local library, and her parents work in the community helping and supporting other parents with autistic children.
McCabe and her sister went on to co-found and direct The Five Project, which creates and supports educational, vocational and community participation opportunities for individuals with disabilities in China.
McCabe joined the HWS faculty in 2004 and is an expert on autism and its relation to education, family and social change in the U.S. and China. Her most recent scholarly writings include “The Importance of Parent-to-Parent Support Among Families of Children with Autism in the People’s Republic of China” to be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education and “Two Decades of Serving Children with Autism in the People’s Republic of China: Achievements and Challenges of a State-run Mental Health Center” to be published in an upcoming volume of Disability and Society.
The seminar at the University of Buffalo is sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation and the Starr Foundation. Her seminar will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst, 6320 Main St., Williamsville, across from the ECC North Campus.