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Hi there,

 

I'm wondering if anyone can help me with some advice or point me in the direction of some! Next school year I have a gorgeous little boy starting who has many needs. He has been diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum but only has the language of a 1.5 yr old although the understanding of a 2.5 yr old. I will be receiving additional help during morning sessions but feel very overwhelmed at the moment. I'm worried he wont make any progress but dont see I can access all of the curriculum until I can give him some more understanding of language? Someone recommended using the TEACH approach could anyone tell me a little about this or where they would start?

 

Thank you in advance! :o

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Hiya Sarah, there is lots of support out there for Autism.

 

Children with autism are typically visual learners with a great dependency on routine and structure. Teacch is about structured teaching and fits in with the ethos of the EYFS curriculum of all children being individuals. It looks at the physical environment and uses visual materials e.g. PECS to aid communication. Children with autism need a clear routine. It uses a visual timetable so that children knoww what is happening now and what will happen next.

 

Do you have local special school because their support could be invaluable. Some of the following resources will help you :

 

http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/173893

 

An interactive e-learning resource on autism for staff working with children in the early years.

http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/289539

 

http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/auti...ars%20education

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I taught a little boy with Autism and one with Aspergers. Both really appreciated routine and I used a daily visual timetable with them, talking them through what would happen and when, as both struggled with change. The child with autism had basic language and achieved through going with his interests, in my case he learnt to count through the carriages in Thomas the Tank Engine. The child with aspergers was very literal and interestingly couldn't lie or understand friend's changing their mind. I found things to watch out for were things like fire drills and sudden noises.

 

In your shoes the first thing I'd do is talk to the SENCO of his previous setting as well as his parents as that'll give you a starting point on his developmental needs.

 

The other thing I used to have was his own personal quiet area with no bright colours where he could go if the setting ever got too much, a pop up tent type thing can work as an example.

 

Good luck and enjoy, I have some lovely memories from my boys x

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I know exactly how you must be feeling - my son is starting mainstream school in September and although not autistic he is very globally delayed. He too understands lots of things but does not speak except in baby babble so my input is really coming from what a parent can supply you with to support your language needs.

 

My son will take with him a report from his speech and language therapist - if your child has one of these he should have a speech and language action plan - that is a starting point - fortunately my son has attended the nursery of the same school and the outside agencies have been involved for a while, however you will need to ask if a S and L therapist is coming to visit you at school , children in the EYFS are entitled to 3 visits in their school year and they have lots of helpful advice.

 

The other thing you might want to enquire about is the use of sign language - my son has developed his own rules and his own unique sign language and if your little boy has done the same or learnt any other forms of sign language it will be good for you to be aware of that. He may not know any type of sign language and you may want to discuss this with his parents.

 

At home with have pictures such as toilet, stuck to the toilet, cup stuck to the cup etc the school have taped the exact same pictures to the objects there - as your little one is autistic you may find this particularly helpful as some autistic children find change difficult so consistency may be key in his language development.

 

My son also has a board - i can not remember what it is called - but he goes to it to push what he needs - there are pictures on it of drink, toilet, food and of all things a TV. and when he wants something he presses the correct button - this was supplied by the S and L therapist too. Finding out about his favourite tv programme may also be of some help as my boy loves Mickey Mouse clubhouse - you would be amazed at what he has learnt language wise from the telly - and it may offer you an opportunity for language development with an area that he is familiar with.

 

Lastly talk to his parents - they are most certainly the key to being able to access your child's language needs, they will be able to supply you with the details of outside agencies that he is already involved and as a professional you are allowed to contact them directly if you seek permission first from his primary carers.

 

Good Luck - I worry all the time about how he will cope in school, but the school are fantastic and you will get to know what sounds he makes mean and be able to develop his language from there. I am sure you will do an amazing job.

Nicky

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Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it and am feeling much better. All the resources you suggest I have prepared and the reading material is great. I will have to learn to take a day at a timeand go with my instincts! Thanks again, you are very kind! :o

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Guest LornaW

Great advice here and I don't know if it would help but after reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time it gave me a greater insight of autism and aspergers. It is a work of fictiion but very interesting.

 

I also remember a booy I taught who would never come to the carpet or join in group work and after discussion with parents and the Ed Psych I realised when I was say everyone come to the carpet or everyone tidy up etc he really did not nderstand and once I starter saying David and everyone..... he would do as requested and began to join in!

 

Good luck I am sure you will be fine.

 

Lorna

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The other thing you might want to enquire about is the use of sign language - my son has developed his own rules and his own unique sign language and if your little boy has done the same or learnt any other forms of sign language it will be good for you to be aware of that. He may not know any type of sign language and you may want to discuss this with his parents.

Its also worth knowing that children with autism can find sign language difficult because it relies on facial expression, gestures and body language, all of which may not be readily understood by someone with an autism.

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