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TOCICO International Conference - PROGRAM

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July 16-19, 2017
Melia Hotel in Berlin, Germany.


Marta Piernikowska – Hewelt, Teacher Poland
   
 

Can one live without communication? The presentation shows that the ability to communicate verbally or not verbally is one of the most important human’s need.

Lack of ability to communicate one’s wants, needs, emotions or life goals is one of the biggest difficulties, a person can encounter. It may appear that basic human needs of people whose speech is affected,  cannot be satisfied, as they weren’t able to express them properly. This problem regards many disabled children, young people and  adults with disabilities. There are many reasons for speech disorders, to mention a few : severe kind of autism, cerebral palsy, behavioral or emotional problems,  accidents.

Even though, the disabilities mentioned above have different symptoms, and different characteristic, they have at least one common nominative cause which is communication disorder.

How TOC for Education can help in this situation?

The presentation is about how to improve communication skills of children and young adults with autism, cerebral palsy, emotional or behavioral difficulties using ‘TOC for Education’ tools.

One of the examples presented, is about young man with severe kind of cerebral palsy, all his four limbs are affected, neither he cannot talk verbally,  nor stand in the upright position. I have been working with Patryk for nearly 20 years. I am his therapist but I used to be his English teacher as well. We have worked together in order to achieve very ambitious target, to pass the final baccalaureate exams.  He was introduced to TOC tools 10 years ago. At the beginning I was reading him ready examples of clouds and branches. We were reading stories, pieces of newspaper articles, fragment of books,  and based on what he heard, I have prepared the conflict clouds and logical branches for him. It was introduction to TOC, gradually, Patryk started to differentiate needs and wants, and check the logical consequence in the branch. The following task was to ask Patryk to write his own cloud. His first meaningful cloud, which was described in the ‘TOCfE newsletter’ and later in the book of ‘TOCfE stories’, was about conflict which Patryk had with his mother. His want was to have a dog and his mother didn’t want to have a dog. For the first time, Patryk used TOC cloud in order to solve his own conflict. Not only, the family found a solution to this problem, but Patryk became more self-aware and his sense of agency developed as well.

Later we started to use cloud and branch in order to communicate better with each other. With Patryk’s better understanding of TOC tools, he started to use TOC in achieving his life goals.

The bigger experience Patryk had in using TOC, differentiating wants and needs, naming and recognizing needs properly, the better he was in achieving his life goals. We use TOC tools as one of the alternative and augmenting communication tools. Today,  Patryk is a student at University, which was one of his biggest dreams. He also received a special reward “Without borders” , for achieving extraordinary results in the baccalaureate exams, despite his severe disabilities.

The presentation includes other examples of  ‘TOC for Education’ work with disabled children and young people. It also describes the importance of teaching disabled children expressing their needs and life goals in order to achieve full and satisfying life, as part of therapeutic work.


Marta Piernikowska-Hewelt studied Special Education at Gdansk University, and International Education at Stockholm University. In 2007, she became TOCFE certified facilitator. She was involved in the organization of the 11th International TOCfE Conference, in Poland. For the past years she has been working in the Middle and High school, currently in the Primary Non-Public School “LOKOMOTYWA”. She has 10 years’ experience of working with children, young adults and adults with disabilities as a therapist. She is combining ‘TOCfE’ together with emotional training in order to enable students with severe difficulties to achieve educational success and she shared her experience during different educational conferences, in Poland. She is fascinated with alternative communication methods for children with speech problems. Also, together with “Arrupe Formation Center for Educational Leaders” she is teaching Peer Mediation Program to teachers and principals from Europe, where she joins TOCfE tools with mediation process.