GHA continues collaboration with Japan

Published 9:52 am Saturday, November 10, 2018

GHA Autism Supports Chief Executive Officer Dawn Allen and Chief Innovations Officer were featured lecturers at the Collaboration Seminar of Supports for individuals with autism in Yokohama and Osaka, Japan Sept. 28-Oct. 8.

This is the third time they have been invited to be keynote speakers in Japan. In addition they toured residential and day service facilities and consulted to four agencies in Japan sharing support ideas and suggestions.

GHA has a history of collaborating with autism agencies in Japan for 25 years. Hundreds of visitors from Japan have toured or interned at GHA to learn more about how to provide quality services to individuals with autism.

The groups have been inspired by GHA’s café and coffeehouse, Second Street Sundries, in Albemarle. Based on GHA’s model, one of the Japanese agencies recently opened a community lunch kitchen and a specialty chocolate shop, which Allen and Banks toured during their trip.

Kayoko Shigematsu interpreted the first day of Allen’s and Banks’ lectures in Japan and departed the following day to interpret for a group of autism professionals heading to Albemarle to tour at GHA.

The individual leading that tour to Albemarle, who also attended the first day’s lecture in Japan, was Toshiaki Suwa, who served as GHA’s first intern from Japan 20 years ago.

Suwa and Shigematsu have visited GHA many times over the years and both already have plans to return, bringing others in the field with them, to learn from GHA.

GHA Autism Supports is proud of its international collaborations and opportunity to improve the lives of individuals with autism here at home and around the world.