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Nurturing behavioural change builds rapport

Naomi Chan
Bachelor of Nursing with Honours in Mental Health Care (full-time programme)

Intern at a day-care centre for underprivileged children in Mexico

‘I applied techniques taught in class, while modifying the approach in order to develop tailor-made intervention for them. I realised it was essential to first build rapport with them and gain their trust. After discussion and analysis with other interns, we decided to develop games which we would play in class to engage the children.’

Naomi Chan

Nurturing behavioural change builds rapport

On joining the AIESEC Global Volunteer Programme 2017, Naomi Chan spent her summer working at a day-care centre for underprivileged children in Mexico. During her first few days, Chan came across children who displayed similar signs to the symptoms of hyperactivity and autism. “Some kids were ill-tempered and could easily start a fight,” Chan says. “Looking after them required a lot of care and patience. I used various different methods taught at school to help them vent their frustration. To deal with these children, I drew on my professional knowledge as a student of mental health care. I held discussions with the other volunteers, who were business students, to let them know about my views, and suggested the correct approaches. I applied techniques taught in class, while modifying the approach in order to develop tailor-made intervention for them. I realised it was essential to first build rapport with them and gain their trust. After discussion and analysis with other interns, we decided to develop games which we would play in class to engage the children.”

Initially, Chan encountered a language barrier because she had only taken a few Spanish language lessons before going to Mexico. However, she discovered that sincere interaction and patience would help her overcome obstacles. Although the children were not mental patients, Chan found she was able to put some theories she had learned into practice. “For instance, mental patients share a poverty of words. When I came across this situation, I gave simple instructions to get their attention and basically do things together with them. This is about building rapport.”

Towards the end of her internship, Chan noticed an improvement in the children’s overall behaviour, and better order in the class. “Through applying techniques, such as conditioning, the kids in our care became more engaged. I think this has been a positive experience for me,” she says.

 (Source: Classified Post, SCMP)

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