HISTORY AND INTRODUCTION
My name is Deborah Sanaipei, nowadays better known as Mama Kalel.
Kalel is my beautiful baby boy. He was born in April 2017 and at the age of 2 years, he was diagnosed with ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder.
When he was around 18 months old, I began to take notice of a few delays in his development. Kalel would not answer to his name, nor would he look anyone directly in the eye; he wasn’t speaking and was he wasn’t eating solid food – he was still eating only pureed food. He was also still waking up 3 to 4 times a night like a 6 month old baby.
I was essentially more worried about his feeding and sleeping patterns, so I decided to go to the UK to seek the services of a feeding specialist and a sleep trainer. After a week of working with Kalel, the specialists told me that they thought that Kalel wasn’t responding to their usual techniques and recommended that I see a Paediatric Neurologist to get a proper diagnosis and mentioned that they thought he may be Autistic.
This was the first I’d ever heard of what Autism really was. I’d come across a few Charities that I helped raise funds for by doing charity walks a couple of times, but I had never met anyone or interacted with anyone who was on the Spectrum (not to my knowledge anyway).
In June 2019, Kalel and I boarded a plane and went back to the United Kingdom to see a Paediatric Neurologist at the Portland Children’s Hospital in London. After a 2 hour consultation, the Doctor confirmed my worst fears – that my son was Autistic and was in need of therapy immediately. Luckily for us, she managed to get Kalel into the best therapy centre for children on the Autism Spectrum in London where he started his sessions 2 days later. At the time, Kalel was the youngest child at the centre and he thrived as all the therapists doted on him.
In October 2019, we came back to Kenya, and now the burden was how to find therapists who could carry on the work we had started in London. Kalel had been having Speech, Occupational and Applied Behavioural Therapy daily for almost 3 months. Since Kalel had taken so well to ABA Therapy, I really wanted to continue with the same at home in Kenya, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any ABA Therapists in the country. I reached out to our Paediatric Neurologist and she recommended a Therapy centre in South Africa that was literally the only one in Africa that was offering ABA to children on the Spectrum. I got in touch with them and after a few months of back and forth and a lot of begging and pleading on my part, I managed to convince them to send a therapist out to Kenya to work with Kalel instead of us relocating to South Africa. The next part was to convince the Immigration Department to create a whole new work permit category as there wasn’t one that covered “Therapists”. Again, we were blessed and after many prayers and visits to Nyayo House, I managed to get a work permit and our first therapist came from South Africa in October 2020 – one year after I had started the process.
A couple of weeks after Kalel started his home based ABA Therapy, I could see a huge change in Kalel. He was more confident, he was babbling; laughing; playing peek-a-boo and pointing at objects. He had even started colouring and 1 year later – Kalel has words; great eye contact; feeds himself solid food and sleeps through the night – literally a whole new child who will be starting Kindergarten in January 2022!
ABA transformed my child, but the cost implication of importing and housing an international therapist was never going to be sustainable, thus I had to come up with a plan to get a trained therapist locally and this lead to a very interesting conversation with Prof. Josephine Arasa at the United States International University - Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya. She suggested that instead of sending someone to South Africa to get trained, that we should see if we could offer an ABA Therapy Course at USIU-Africa and train many students to become Therapists.
The next step was to find an Internationally qualified and highly reputable partner to help us train Therapists – after months of dead ends and chasing institutions we came across the most amazing team at the University of Nevada, Reno that has a satellite program that was willing and able to work with us. After 6 months of discussions and very efficient execution of contracts and ideas, we are now able to offer the FIRST EVER ABA TRAINING PROGRAMME ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT – THE KALEL PROGRAM.
Welcome to the course and I know that it will be the most fulfilling and rewarding course for all taking it as the impact it will have on the children and their families will be immense.
ABOUT KALEL PROGRAM: APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS TECHNICIAN TRAINING
The program is offered by the University of Nevada, Reno’s Satellite Programs in Behavior Analysis in conjunction with United States International University - Africa.
This is the first of its kind to be offered in Africa, and the long term goal to create a self-sustained training program for providing evidence-based treatment to individuals on the autism spectrum in Kenya.
The First program has two goals:
The Second program will focus on training more supervisors for behavior technicians.
Asynchronous and Synchronous Online Instruction will be carried out, with in-person intensive instruction and in-situ competency assessment undertaken.
Price includes 40-hour course that will start March 28, 2022 and end July 31, 2022, with scheduled breaks for holidays. In-person intensive instruction will occur August 8-12, 2022.
The first 25 qualified applicants will be accepted.
To register please apply here:
For general inquiries, please contact;
Prof. Josephine Arasa
Tel: +254 730 116 204
Tel: +254 730 116 626