Travel to China Opens Doors to Collaboration and Sharing Expertise



“We are very excited about collaborating with Stars and Rain to improve services for children and adolescents with ASD in China.”
– Dr. Lauren C. Solotar, May Institute President and CEO

May Institute President and CEO Lauren C. Solotar, Ph.D., ABPP, and Bob Putnam, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Executive Vice President, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, were invited as sponsored presenters to share their expertise in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Heart Alliance Autism Learning Network, International Autism Seminar organized by Stars and Rain Educational Institute for Autism in Beijing, China.
Stars and Rain is a non-governmental educational organization that serves children living in China with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Drs. Putnam and Solotar were not the only ones who traveled a significant distance to attend the conference. “It took some of the hundreds of attendees – parents and teachers and nonprofit agency administrators – nearly 40 hours to get to Beijing,” Dr. Putnam said.
“ABA is just emerging in China. There are only four board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) in the entire country. Compare that to Massachusetts, we have approximately 1,200,” explained Dr. Putnam. “The public schools in China are not providing services for students with ASD, so parents are highly motivated to learn about ABA. Stars and Rain does a lot of training for families and teachers.”
The Executive Director of Stars and Rain and several colleagues visited May Institute’s campus in Randolph, Mass., last fall. Their visit was based on a recommendation from Helen McCabe, Ph.D., a former direct therapist in the Consultation Services division at May Institute. Dr. McCabe currently heads the Five Project, an organization dedicated to collaboratively improving services and quality of life for individuals with autism and other disabilities, with a focus on China. As a result of this visit, Dr. Solotar was invited to participate in the spring ABA conference in Beijing.
Drs. Solotar and Putnam were the keynote speakers and provided attendees with information about functional behavior analysis, behavior support plans, and teaching replacement behaviors. Dr. McCabe, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, was their interpreter and was able to translate their PowerPoint presentation to Chinese.
The Chinese contingent is interested in setting up an ongoing exchange program with May Institute and plans to send a delegation from China to visit us in the fall.
During their time in Beijing, Drs. Solotar and Putnam had the opportunity to visit and provide technical assistance to the Stars and Rain School’s intensive 12-week parent training project focused on teaching ABA practices to parents from across the country. Families move to Beijing for three months to attend the program. There is a very long wait-list to attend Stars and Rain. Their hope is to be able to train enough teachers to expand ABA services throughout the country.
“We are very excited about collaborating with Stars and Rain to improve services for children and adolescents with ASD in China,” said Dr. Solotar. “Fortunately, modern communications technology such as Skype will enable us provide training in ABA, and data collection and analyses across continents on a regular basis.”

To see more photos of the event click here.