In a ceremony held at Beijing Normal University on Tuesday 11 October, the release of professors Stephen von Tetzchner and Harald Martinsen’s book on how to help autistic children communicate was celebrated. The authors have long been working on this important issue with health professionals in China, and they hope that the publishing of this book in Chinese will better equip professionals and families in their efforts to help autistic children learn to communicate.
The event brought together authors, translators and health professionals as well as representatives of government agencies and NGOs. In different ways, they have all been involved in bringing about a Chinese edition of the book by Prof. Stephen von Tetzchner and Prof. Harald Martinsen titled ‘Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication’. The Norwegian Embassy was represented by Counsellor for Science and Higher Education, Ms Kari Kveseth.
One of the leading centres in treating children with varying degrees of autism is the Beijing Reindeer Children’s Rehabilitation Centre. The centre’s director, Ms Sun Menglin, stressed that the textbook will provide an important source of information for both parents and health professionals. An estimated 6,480 Norwegians between the ages 1 and 18 are communication-impaired according to Martinsen and von Tetzchner.
They estimate that the number for the same age group is 1.6 million in China. The aim of the authors and their partners in China is that the Chinese version of his book will serve as an introductory text and guide for speech and language therapists, teachers in kindergartens and schools and other professionals, as well as for families with members who need an alternative form of communication. Prof. von Tetzchner warmly commended the extraordinary work by Prof. Xiao Fei from Beijing Normal University in translating the book in his speech.
He noted that through the process of working on the Chinese edition, the collaborators had not only benefitted from each other’s expertise and thus gained valuable insights, but they had also become friends. And he was confident that this basis was something they could build upon in future work. Ms Kari Kveseth conveyed congratulations from Ambassador Sæther and remarked that she was pleased to see the results of yet another successful cooperative effort between Norwegian and Chinese academics.
She hoped that the book could provide families and professionals with a tool in communicating with their children. Moreover, she hoped that this would contribute to strengthening cooperation between Norwegian and Chinese experts in the future. The event was concluded with the donation of copies of the book to representatives of parents as well as to the rehabilitation centre. The books were donated by the Beijing Youyuan Huaxia Culture Spreading Co. Ltd., the Beijing Chaoyang District’s Handicapped Association, Beijing Union University and the Norwegian Embassy.