“AIMS Global offers accredited courses for potential therapists and the opportunity to work abroad. The benefits for therapists are endless – they have the opportunity to not only change the life of an autistic kid and their family, but also experience life in a different country,” says director Karla Pretorius.
Therapist Rosa-Nellie Toti describes, “AIMS is a program designed to follow, optimize and question behaviours. It isn’t just a curriculum or guide, but a way of life that, in my personal experience, has not only made some impressive changes in a relatively short amount of time in my clients life, but also made me rewire and rethink the way I experience everyday tasks.”
Kids all over the world, who are dealing with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), can benefit from in-home care to make therapy a little less like therapy and a little more like play time.
Director Nanette Botha explains, “Therapists really get the opportunity to get to know our kids! They not only provide ‘therapy,’ but rather support them on a daily basis. This leads to children making progress in everyday life which is very rewarding for therapists. Our therapists play a very special part in our children’s lives, which often causes them to feel more like a friend than a teacher/therapist.”
AIMS Global is looking for more amazing therapists to join this international team and help make a difference in the lives of children and families affected by ASD.
So what exactly does that look like for a therapist?
Rosa-Nellie Toti is based in Addis Ababa, the capital and largest city of Ethiopia. She lives and works with and eleven year old girl and her family. Her client has not officially been diagnosed with ASD, but she exhibits challenging behaviors that require the expertise of a trained professional. The child is defiant toward authority, has little self-control, is easily distracted, has sensory issues, and has difficulties with her fine motor skills, among other things. Toti describes her experience as a creative challenge, pushing her abilities as a therapist and teacher to a higher level.
Toti started out teaching English as a second language in Vietnam. She did this for three years before training with AIMS, honing her skills as a teacher and learning how to engage with children. She heard about AIMS and was drawn to its unique international program.
“The revolutionary way AIMS develops the interests of the individuals it works with, and the way it does not have the pretense to change someone, but rather to optimize the person’s strengths, is probably the aspect that drew me most to this program,” she says.
AIMS Global is so much more than a therapy program. It offers therapists an exciting opportunity to experience life in another country. With program support and proper training, you can immerse yourself in a new culture while cultivating your skills as a therapist. More importantly, AIMS Global offers a chance to make life a little easier for a child in need.
“We work with families from all over the world, and this presents different cultural and religious beliefs. During training, we focus on presenting specific scenarios that might arise,” says Pretorius. “Therapists have found the cultural differences to be an exciting learning opportunity!”
She ensures, “The supervisors are in constant contact with the therapists and will support him/her if any challenge arises.” Toti’s training experience helped her deal with the challenges of her job, and she found support through the AIMS Global team, “My experience training for AIMS was great. I did online training through Skype sessions, activities and assessments. I found it really clear, easy to follow, and stimulating. I found my trainer always present and prepared to answer any questions that arose.”
She explains, “The initial struggle to get my client to engage in activities and be respectful of people around her was quite challenging. What worked one day would not apply the next day, and that was quite hard to master. The most rewarding experience I have had so far is to see my client’s change of attitude, firstly toward me, and now, slowly toward others. The ratio of ‘good days’ to ‘bad days’ is significantly changing. We have now had a steady streak of brilliant days where my client has finally accepted that I am not here to ‘boss her around’ but am here in the role of a friend or older sister.”
Toti says the child she works with is now exhibiting positive behaviors and listening more. She is more respectful, follows directions better, and is generally less angry. Humor is key, “I am slowly managing to change her serious, angry attitude, shake it all off, and turn it into a good laugh!”
Working with children in any context can both challenging and extremely rewarding, so what makes working with AIMS Global different?
Directors Karla Pretorius and Nanette Botha run a diverse and growing global program. “AIMS Global therapists have ample opportunities to grow in a personal and professional capacity,” Pretorius says. “They can specialize in a field that usually becomes a vocation for those investing in it.”
There’s potential for professional growth with a program like this. “Seeing that it is an international company, we, the Directors, are looking for leadership qualities in therapists. The possibilities for growth in the company are endless – from working yourself up to become a Supervisor with your own cases that you lead, to being a Senior Trainer and presenting all over the world,” she explains. “We are constantly expanding our services as the needs arise.”
AIMS Global is accredited through IBCCES, and offers courses for tutors, therapists, and supervisors. Receiving accreditation also means receiving CE credits. After 14 credits, you can become an “Autism Specialist.” IBCCES is an internationally acclaimed organization and this gives both parents and employers more faith in your professional abilities. It can open doors world-wide to furthering your career in the field of autism and special needs care.
AIMS Global partners with specific colleges and universities to offer practical hours to their working students with the addition of specialty training courses like Life Coaching, the Trainer course, and more. This is just one of the many way AIMS works to support their therapists in their work and in their lives.
AIMS works for both their therapists and their families all over the world. “I would surely recommend AIMS to families in need. It looks at behaviours in depth and gives an array of options of how to proceed from there,” says Toti. She describes AIMS Global as a non-intrusive intervention program that allows the child to be in charge of their actions with a trained specialist present, gently guiding them toward better behaviour. Therapists don’t just correct the child but help him or her find a path to success.
Toti’s only began her work as a live-in therapist few months ago, but already she feels she has found a home here at AIMS Global. “I am very grateful to be part of the AIMS team, it has given me the opportunity to work for a great cause, visit a magnificent country and meet amazing people. I really couldn’t be happier.”
Want to be a therapist for AIMS? Email Founders, Karla and Nanette to learn more.