Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Autistic child starting nursery


 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi I hope someone can help.

I have a little boy starting in Nursery next week, they have recently moved to the area and the parents told me at the initial visit that they think he is Autistic. We have had him observed by a person in the know and they have confirmed that this little boy is definitely autistic, we just need to get all the paperwork in place for a formal diagnosis. (He has no awareness of others, no eye contact, flapping a large proportion of the time, no sense of danger, sensitive to loud noises etc oh and to make things a little more complex he is also EAL)

I have worked with older children who are on the spectrum and have had work stations and individual visual timetables however never worked with a child this young with these needs.

Does anyone have any experience with ASD children in nursery settings? If so do you have a first and next board, visual timetable, task trays, work station etc??have you needed a quiet space just for the child.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Thank you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yes i have had quite a few children through my care (can i be a pain and ask that you call them a child with autism rather than an autistic child...just find it a bit disrespectful....one of my things i'm afraid!)

 

Now where to start!

Get as much info from the parents as possible.

Difficult to tell you what to do because all children are different and all the children i have had who have asd have been very different from each other. but in general i have given the option of quiet spaces (which is important for all EAL children) I dont do 'work' stations because that's not the way i run pre-school ...so i do the same as i would for all the children. I use visual support for all (again important for the eal element) is he using makaton/pecs or is verbal?

I am not a fan of visual timetables...because most of my little ones have been able to be flexible and this is something i actively encourage! it is important to be able to say right we are going to the park and for them to accept it!...if however this is an issue for them then fine but then you need to do what you have said!

choice making is usually with objects first then photos then representational pictures ...first this then that boards are good if the child is visually orientated.

I always try to do the same for these children as i do with any of them....just sometimes they need additional support in order to be able to access all the activities. Additional work on SALT is incredibly important though to help with eye contact, NVC etc

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi :)

No harm in preparing and thinking ahead but I'd wait and see how he reacts to you and your environment before I set anything in stone. I'd also do some I depth observations recording how he behaves in different situations and be prepared to give him 1:1 at least until he's settled enough for you to get to know each other. I'm sure some of your previous experience will come in handy, just don't rely on it working this time. Could I also ask that you don't describe him as an autistic child, I personally prefer to see him as a child with autism, if anything :)

 

Oops, crossed posts there :)

Edited by Rea
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be very cautious about offering a diagnosis unless the person who has observed him is a CAMHS psychologist or paediatrician. The diagnostic process is long and in depth and usually involves considering reports from several professionals. Please don't confirm the diagnosis to the parents.

Reports from professionals that contribute to the diagnosis should include recommendations on how best to support his development. This is your starting point for planning his support.

In the meantime ask the parents what works best for them and put similar support in place in the setting. Children with Autism have very diverse needs so you also need to observe him carefully and see where his strengths and challenges lie.

The National Autistic Society has some good resources on their website here

http://www.autism.org.uk/Working-with/Education.aspx

You may be able to arrange visits from a SALT and Occupational Therapist via the Area SENCo who can make recommendations on how best to support needs that they identify when observing him.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your comments, please accept my apologies about my reference to him, I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone.

Finleysmaid - He has come in for three small visits now and this has really helped, mum and dad are very supportive though have only been in England for 8 months and English is quite difficult for them, we have been using translation programs on ipads to help with this. My thoughts were no to a work station as I want him to be able to access every area of the nursery. I am glad that you have said that you don't use them. At the moment he doesn't use any form of supported communication. I have heard him make noises and parents have told me that he doesn't really say words. From what I understand from them they have had no support from any agencies in their own country before he came to England. He is however seeing a pediatrician this coming week for an assessment so hopefully we will be able to get more support to hep with his communication.

Rea - I agree about trying to give him 1:1, I am in the process of organising the staffing to try to give him as much support as possible. when he has come in for visits, upto now it has not involved group time or tidy up time etc so I am prepared for this possibly being a challenge for him.

 

Thanks for the support

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does you have Autism outreach or specialist autism teachers in your area? They could also observe and make recommendations.

Have you ever used PECS? It may be worth asking for advice or training on using them if he isn't able to speak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i absolutely agree with Upsy daisy but as she says in her post trying to get a true diagnosis takes time...and you probably will have this little chap start before any other support is in place.So glad the parents are on board.this is so important. What language does he speak...i probably have a translation list for most! How's his comprehension?

Do keep asking questions here ...people like Upsy are fantastic at coming up with solutions....best to ask quickly before it becomes any sort of issue!!! ;)

Are your staff up for this...do they have any experience?

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

HI

He starts on Monday so wanted to see what I could do for him over the weekend to try to give him support for routines etc before he gets there. The staff are all aware of him starting and some of the needs he may have. I think some will be more supportive than others to be honest. I have been able to rejig staff so I have support for him particularly during group times as I imagine this may be a difficult time for him, especially in the beginning. At the moment I don't know if we have any Autism outreach, certainly something to look into. We only became aware of him just before Christmas so with the break we have not been able to approach anyone yet. Paper work, such as detailed observations etc are getting started from Monday and hopefully we can get him the support he may need before he goes to school in September.

 

He is Polish, we have got quite a few Polish children in the nursery so we know a few useful words which will help. Not too sure of his comprehension at the moment, this is something I will be observing and trying to discover this coming week. I think my concern is that if he becomes distressed I won't know how to comfort him, Most distressed children I can comfort in the usual ways, by distraction, cuddles and lots of smiles and playing etc Obviously with him not speaking English, giving eye contact or liking too much physical contact I am concerned that I will not be able to comfort him. I want him to feel secure and safe as well as enjoy his time in nursery and I don't want to distress him (inadvertently)

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's the Picture Exchange Communication System.

http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&p=pecs

 

You can use them in all different ways to aid communication, e.g. to make up a timetable, to show the child a choice of activities, to say what's happening next, to help them organise themselves to do perform a task, e.g. getting coat and shoes on.

This might be quite a useful strategy for you considering the added complication of EAL.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have had children on the a. Spectrum as well, as already said all were different and on one system worked it was all trial and error as we got to know the child. Along with everything else that has been said I would gather tons of evidence as this will be needed for the outside agencies you will need. Maybe a CAF will be a good idea

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have had a few children with Autism over the years, all wonderful little people.

An official diagnosis, which of course must be taken by a recognised professional, does not stop you putting some strategies in place, the same as for any children in your care, and that's what you are trying to do which is great.

He may find group times too difficult at first, and we didn't expect them to stay at them. We used this time to have some one on one input.

As for consoling them if they get upset, we have had children that would allow a cuddle, others have had a comforter toy.

One of the things we have used a few times is to make a unique book for that child. It doesn't have to be large about the size of a notepad. Working with parents we have put photos or a picture of objects or people that are important to them. These can be used by an adult or by the child and can help to reassure them, link words, actions and objects.

Any early support can make all the difference, so observations are key at this time.

Please let us know how it's going. He sounds like his lucky to have you.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is crucially important that, when children with additional needs join our settings, we use the parent’s expertise in their own child to guide our practice. They are the ones who have watched the child grow and develop. They will probably have tried and tested numerous different strategies before settling on those that work best for their child.

Children with ASD can experience very high levels of anxiety in group settings and other challenging environments but it is also common for them to be unable to express those anxieties to setting staff. This applies equally to children on the higher functioning end of the spectrum whose vocabulary and expressive language skills can, to someone less experienced in ASD, seem to be very well developed and perfectly adequate for expressing distress or anxiety.

To start a child in a new setting without the support suggested by the parents could mean we are giving that child a very negative introduction to education which can colour their view of pre-school and school for many years. No decent clinician would advocate placing a child in a challenging environment with insufficient support in order to collect evidence for a diagnosis. That would be unethical in the extreme.

It is perfectly possible to push children with ASD to comply with situations in which they don’t feel comfortable or able to cope. Indeed there is a huge debate around the use of certain methods that take advantage of this to force children with ASD to suppress their innate behaviours and act in ways that are deemed more socially acceptable. As adults some of these people are now describing the terrible damage this has done to them. As a parent I have seen first hand the damage a setting can cause to a child by meeting only the needs that are apparent by the child’s behaviour within the setting.

It is always appropriate to support children in making progress and in becoming more independent but this needs to be done sensitively, using carefully planned phased withdrawal and in cooperation with the parents and the child concerned.

The approach should never be to place a child in a setting, allow them to fail and then put the support in to pick them back up again. Instead the introduction to the setting should be set up so as to cause as little trauma to the child as possible, acknowledging that the new environment is quite enough of a challenge for now. By putting in place support which has been tried and tested in the home environment, we can set these children up to succeed from day one and have positive view of their ability to meet the challenges ahead of them in the classroom and beyond.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've reported my post and asked for it to be deleted - sincerest apologies everyone - I can see on reading it back that it hasn't come across terribly well at all.

Please ignore until it goes - it certainly wasn't meant to read as 'ignore parents' or offend anyone

 

Apologies again

 

edit to say that the terminology used ('freaked out') was a parents words, not ours

Edited by Steve
Deleted at your request Gingerbreadman. If you want it re-instated just let me know! :)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've reported my post and asked for it to be deleted - sincerest apologies everyone - I can see on reading it back that it hasn't come across terribly well at all.

Please ignore until it goes - it certainly wasn't meant to read as 'ignore parents' or offend anyone

 

Apologies again

 

edit to say that the terminology used ('freaked out') was a parents words, not ours

No need to do that Gingerbreadman!

 

It was clearly not intended to be offensive or to upset anyone.

 

I just needed to explain how valuable that information from parents can be to support the well being of children with additional needs and those with ASD particularly. Perhaps my own experience with teachers who absolutely do choose to ignore parents and the terrible damage I've seen it cause to my own children and others made me word my response more strongly than I might otherwise have done. I apologise for that.

 

It is, of course, really important that, as practitioners get to know children, they feel able to work with the family to help children make progress. :1b

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for all the comments they have been very valuable.

He started today and I must say it all want very smoothly. Mum and dad took a while to go as they were a little anxious but as we have a policy of parents being around until children are settled that didn't really matter. The little man certainly demonstrated lots of repetitive play and lots of excited 'flapping' as time. There were many positive including coming to me (I was sat on the edge of the sand pit next to him) when he got sand in his eye and he did join us for group time. We were in an area where he could wander and explore further then returned to us and sat down in the middle of the circle. (I was really pleased with the fact that he sat with us) He didn't seem aware of what was happening during group time though, so I will continue to monitor this. He found home time a little tricky with others being picked up before him and got upset about leaving.

I did set up a simple visual timetable for him, though he didn't look at it, only time will tell if this strategy will work. We were also able to spend time making a detailed observation for today which we are really pleased with. Hopefully we can gather lots of evidence ASAP. Mum was really pleased when she picked him up. I think she had been worried.

Any suggestions for snack time?? He went to the table, his own choice, and with our help collected some snack though he would not sit down to eat, keeping getting up and wandering around. I am sure this will get better once he is a little more settled as many children wander to start with but I am not sure how much he is understanding me even with me talking in Polish to him.(probably in a terrible accent!)

thanks again

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No need to do that Gingerbreadman!

 

It was clearly not intended to be offensive or to upset anyone.

 

I just needed to explain how valuable that information from parents can be to support the well being of children with additional needs and those with ASD particularly. Perhaps my own experience with teachers who absolutely do choose to ignore parents and the terrible damage I've seen it cause to my own children and others made me word my response more strongly than I might otherwise have done. I apologise for that.

 

It is, of course, really important that, as practitioners get to know children, they feel able to work with the family to help children make progress. :1b

Thanks Upsydaisy but no need to apologise; I do completely agree with your posts, and their tone - not too strong at all, especially given your own experiences...I propably evoked memories which, quite rightly, fired you up

 

I don't have experience with my own children but understand a little, through my elderly parents, the frustrations of not being heard/ignored/repeating info again and again

 

I should have ensured I mentioned the background; lengthy settling in process, long chats/information gathering, following parents guidance, routines etc and then maybe added the information I gave (worded better!)

On reflection, had it not been in place, the parents wouldn't have trusted/instructed us to (sensitively) try new things

I shall stop now!

Thank you for your kindness though :-)

Edited by gingerbreadman
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Any suggestions for snack time?? He went to the table, his own choice, and with our help collected some snack though he would not sit down to eat, keeping getting up and wandering around. I am sure this will get better once he is a little more settled as many children wander to start with but I am not sure how much he is understanding me even with me talking in Polish to him.(probably in a terrible accent!)

thanks again

Try giving him a cushion to sit on so he can meet his need for movement while remaining seated. An inflatable one like Move'n'sit would be best but a normal one might help enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)