By Fiona Yapp, Clinic Director


January 23, 2016 marked The Essential Learning Group’s 2nd Annual Community Development Day, which aimed to provide space for our team and other international and local educators to come together and explore various subjects regarding the emotional health, safety and support of children and adolescents in our care.




Over 40 attendees arrived to represent a multitude of professions, from school administrators, to teachers of various disciplines, to counselors, and more! Our guests were greeted with an opportunity to meet our staff and learn a little more about The Essential Learning Group. We are thrilled with how all our departments came together to demonstrate each of our special qualities, and contributed to ensure everyone had an enjoyable and informative day. Fiona Yapp, our Clinic Director, welcomed participants and kicked off the day.



Each class in our Innovative Learning Center worked hard to come up with and prepare individual treats for our staff and guests to enjoy. Volunteers from the ILC team, the Clinic team, and even our managerial team came together to volunteer their knowledge and wisdom, in order to support the growth of individuals both inside the ELG family and within our community.DSC_0008



Mark McCann, one of our Special Education experts, and Davy Guo, a Mental Health Counselor, gave a demonstration as part of their presentation “Defense 101: Protecting Yourself and Supporting Those in Your Care”, in which they educated their audience on self-defense when being confronted by a client or student. Mark and Davy stressed personal safety and the diffusion of incidents that escalate into crisis situations.


5Siyang Sun, one of ELG’s Speech-Language Pathologists, gave a presentation that dispels hurtful myths and provided helpful tips regarding the different ways to raise and teach bilingual children. Siyang incorporated strategies and fun activities parents and teachers can use to help their children speak two or more languages.DSC_0109



Two of our founders, Monte and Shari Rosen, gave an informative session on adolescent Mental Health and the different issues children face when enrolled in an international school. The presentation covered some of the more common struggles and mental stressors they have encountered during their extensive experiences in Shanghai.





Joanne Li, our Board-Certified Applied Behavior Analyst, gave great insight into understanding Applied Behavior Analysis and the benefits of employing ABA therapy when dealing with students and clients who display difficult behaviors. Joanne’s topic invoked so much interest we could barely fit enough chairs in the presentation room!



8Mooney Niu, Mental Health Counselor, led a session on ways to identify clients who are potentially self-harming, and some of the most effective ways to help and support them. Children and adolescents in international settings can be vulnerable to these risks, and recognizing these behaviors early can be essential to the healing process and their ability to cope in healthy ways.



9A joint presentation by Speech-Language Pathologist Reyhaneh Rajabzadeh and Occupational Therapist Chantal Chen challenged the audience to rethink difficult behaviors in children, and enabled them to view problem-behavior through sensory, motor and linguistic lenses. Chantal and Reyhaneh address the relationships between behavior, language and motor difficulties, and explored some different techniques they employ from their respective disciplines. The popularity of this multi-disciplinary sessions has led us to begin organizing more trainings of this sort – coming soon!


10Professionals traveled from all over Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Ningbo to network and connect with other like-minded individuals, to enhance their knowledge and skillsets for application during real-world experiences. The Essential Learning Group is truly humbled by the support we received from everyone during our 2nd Annual Community Development Day. We look forward to building on all of the new relationships we have made, as well as doing our part to enhance our community in the near future!