Education for Life
As your child advances and they begin to learn more from their natural environment, a variety of different teaching methods are incorporated in their program based on their individual needs. According to each child’s ongoing assessments a program will be developed that may incorporate the following areas of development:
Children with autism often require skills to be taught by breaking the skill down into smaller steps. Therefore, we can teach a variety of academic skills systematically to foster learning and ensure school readiness. The academic skills we work on at Little Souls are delivered in three stages in Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced.
Instruction and Imitation
Children with autism often show delays in communication development including verbal and non-verbal expression and difficulties with understanding the use of language. Developing verbal and non-verbal communication skills, as well as communicative intent are embedded in our early intervention programs. Naturalistic teaching is incorporated when developing communication in order to foster spontaneity and generalization. Our oral motor program has been developed in alignment with out positive behaviour and reinforcement strategies with excellent results.
Children with autism often do not learn through natural, spontaneous imitation of others, therefore the skill of imitation must be taught. We start by prompting imitation with the use of simple actions with objects, using the principles of positive reinforcement. The skill of imitation then becomes a habit through generalisation, facilitating natural learning and is a staple skill that is focused on and used throughout the day.
Children can develop meaningful relationships and social connections through positive interactions with teachers and peers. Using highly motivating activities we can show children the potential pay-offs in enjoyment and positive excitement that can be obtained from social interactions. Due to the unique learning environment provided at Little Souls children have daily opportunities to interact with their typically developing peers through planned activities and play which is a key element in the development of relationships.
Emotional outbursts and negative behaviours can occur when children with autism are presented with change or deviations in routines . In these moment through planning and working closely with families and therapists children are taught coping strategies that will begin to help them understand and accept change and undesirable situations for the particular child. We focus on long term goals instead of a quick fix solution.
Through initial explicit teaching and later generalised to the natural environment, children learn how to engage in functional play, and interact with peers to enhance social development and school readiness. In many cases children need to be shown the enjoyment that accompanies play either independently or with a peer. This is a large focus within the preschool room and heavily incorporates the participation of typically developing peers.
Fine/Gross Motor Skills
Gross and fine motor skills of children with autism are often delayed, impacting on active play and movement as well as language, imitation and overall cognitive development. In addition, developing motor skills supports activities of daily living such as dressing and eating, providing independence and social acceptance in society. Fine and Gross motor activities are imbedded in each child's program and built into the daily routines of the child.
This program expands the one-on one and inclusion therapy to ensure children have the required abilities to successfully participate in the classroom and school environment. As well as being academically prepared in the areas of literacy and numeracy, our children are prepared and equipped with necessary practical skills including self help, sharing, participating in a group, communicating wants and needs, following both individual and group directions/instructions. We also offer support once a child has begun school by liaising with the school regularly to offer advice and information that may be beneficial in successfully transitioning.