In 2002, the Special Education Network in China (SENIC) was started by two individuals Revalyn Faba-Sack (Nanjing International School) and Lynedan Vartell (Beijing International School Singapore) to form an organization for special needs teachers in China to share resources and advocate for our students and ourselves. We decided on the mission statement: Our aim, as special education professionals, is to encourage the sharing of our strengths and, above all, be advocates for the young people we work with We also came up with the logo and had it designed. Our first meeting had only 8 people in attendance and we pretty much used the two-day conference to work out who we were and where we were heading.
In 2003, Lynedah Vartell and Sandra Helmig hosted our first official SENIC conference at Western Academy of Beijing, Again a small affair (23 people in attendance) and we discussed common issues, had school visits, collected resources and had Dr. Lynette Levy (ed psych) do a presentation for us on how to access ed psychs in Hong Kong (remember we had very few resources in mainland China,
In April 2004, Dolores van Dongen held the second SENIC conference at the Sunshine Learning Center in Beijing, the first special needs school for expatriate children in Beijing (10 people in attendance. Here we discussed assessment, toured the Sunshine Learning Center and looked at service delivery models, The logo for SENIC was getting approval from all members at the time before coming up with the final SENIC logo. We also discussed how to keep SENIC going (link to ACAMIS) and had volunteers from Nanjing to set up the next conference.
In November 2004, Revalyn Faba-Sack hosted the next SENIC conference at the Nanjing International School (about 30 people in attendance). We had Jenny Reed from the IBO make a presentation on IB programmes and the entitlement of SEN pupils and there was a special two hour workshop for parents on one of the conference days about testimonials of parents of children with LD. At the end of the conference, we had a 30-minute discussion on how to keep SENIC going and it was decided to incorporate other countries (we had people from Thailand attend the conference). SENIC became SENIA (Special Education Network in Asia) as there was a need in Asia for special education professionals to have a network. The Chinese characters were removed from the current SENIA logo.
In 2005, Priscilla Carlisle hosted the SENIA 4 conference at Suzhou International School (about 40 in attendance). Here we had a presentation from Jenny Reed from the IBO, presentations from teachers on accommodations and assistive technologies and a presentation from an educational psychologist on ADHD. A SENIA website was created and maintained by Tanya Farrol.
In 2006, the ESF schools in Hong Kong hosted SENIA 5 (45 in attendance). We visited many Hong Kong schools as each had different services that they provided for students with identified needs. We spoke about the career pathway being introduced in the IBDP program as one of the schools here was piloting this program. We also shared IEP formats, profiles and handbooks. We learnt about the ESF programs at each school. Jenny Reed from the IBO was here to answer questions about the IBO,
In 2008, Sandra Hemig and Priscilla Carlisle hosted SENIA 6 at Western Academy of Beijing (approximately 50 in attendance). The focus was “Reaching and Teaching Across the Inclusive Spectrum. Many teachers from around Asia attended, including enrichment and counselors. Topics included: the Montessori method, math and dyslexia, supporting gifted and talented student, etc.
In 2009, Reed Rhodes hosted SENIA 7 at Beijing City International School(approximately 60 people in attendance). Presentations by teachers ranged from different support delivery models to response to intervention to using different pathways to graduation to using song in our teaching. Most of this conference had power points which were uploaded to the BCIS website.
In 2010, Erickson Perez hosted SENIA 8 at Brent Manila International School (approximately 100 teachers/parents attended). There were two keynote speakers: Tina Santilli and Dr. Tracy Alloway. For the first time, there was choice in the workshops. The workshops focused on advocacy, awareness and interventions.
In 2011, Lori Boll hosted the conference at Concordia International School. This conference was unique as the people putting in the work were from Essential Learning Group, and Concordia offered their facilities. Our main keynote that year was Dr. Stephen Shore. Dr. Shore has autism and he helped open our eyes and hearts to our students on the spectrum. Approximately 180 educators from all over Asia attended this conference.