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Advice re Aspergers


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We had a new start visit today and the little boy has been diagnosed with Aspergers (older brother also has it). Mum was really impressed with our setting and wants him to start straight away so I wondered if anybody can give me some advice on strategies etc we can put in place to help this little lad.

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Hi,

When you are giving instructions make sure you use his name first and keep the instructions short and clear. Use a visual timetable for routines during the day and if you change something in the routine try and let him know before hand. There is quite a lot of visual support on websites but you need to understand what his needs are once he has settled into the setting. Look at your Best practice guidance for starting points. I'm sure you will enjoy getting to know him. Have fun.

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This is tricky to answer because i dont know what he will have problems with at the moment. Every child is different...does he have good communication skills? (i have had both ends of the spectrum on this one!) Can i suggest you just get to know him and then come back and ask specific questions...he may settle and have few issues within your setting or he may find it stressful ! Just make sure everyone uses clear language and watch how he responds emotionally to things (i used to have a boy who would hit anything he walked in to because it had hurt him!) Visual timetables etc can be useful but he may not need them and be quite flexible in his approach....if he doesn't need them i wouldn't use them i tend to find they emphasise issues with routine rather than help often.

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You may need to think about sensory issues as well. ie he may be sensitive to light, noise, touch, tastes. Anything that you can do to make him more comfortable in the setting will help him and everyone else.

 

It will really help that you have a diagnosis before he arrives.

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Hi

I would say as well get to know him first. I think people hear Aspergers and often see this before the child (understandably!) I know we did.

Ask mum what strategies she uses when he is anxious or upset, but then take some time to find out about the child and then look at the Aspergers.

We had a child start with us last year who came from another setting. We were given a lot of information and at the end of the day, everything they said was different in our setting. We had a different set up that seemed to suit him better and once we knew how to diffuse situations quickly they stopped happening.

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Definitely meet up with the parents and get their advice. They will have tried and tested lots of strategies and there's little point in putting him through trying them all and failing again. Children with AS can be very different so try not to make too many assumptions.

It's a good idea to keep setting routines in place with plenty of advanced warning of changes.

Sensory difficulties are often more pronounced when the child is anxious so be careful not to challenge him too much with things you're told he finds hard in the early days. You may find that once he's settled in he may be more resilient. You could do a bit of a sensory audit of your setting once you know what, if anything, he finds difficult and work out if you can reduce any of those challenges.

If he finds touch stressful give him the peg on the end of the row and make sure there's plenty of space for each child at circle time. Make him first or last when you line up.

Find out what he finds calming, e.g. deep pressure, a dark den, running and jumping, chewing, etc and make sure it is accessible to him without him having to ask.

Try to use literal language, e.g. don't ask him to 'pop' into another room, ask him to go.

You're taking the right approach by asking lots before he even starts. If you keep doing that and are prepared to be flexible when your routines and rules don't meet his needs he will do well with you.

Also, please keep very good records of the support you give him and why. It could make a very big difference to the support he gets later on in school.

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Leading on from the suggestion of a visual timetable I have a very small business ( www.very-Violet.org) we have some individual timetables which children can clip onto their clothes and there may be other items for specific needs or interests. Of course you could also take photographs of your setting and use these in the same way, but you may find some inspiration :-)

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