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Working with a child with autism advice needed as feeling a bit out of my depth!!!!

(14 Posts)
NotInTheMood Wed 17-Apr-13 21:19:33

I've just started in a pre-school 3 months ago. I am completely new to all this but have since been appointed as a one to one to a 3 year old with autism.
We seem to be bonding well and he seems confident and secure to come to me but I really feel a bit clueless although its only been a few days as a 1:1. Ive not been given any training yet so its a bit. of a learning curve.I haven't completed any IEPs yet and just getting to grips with he EYFS. He can be difficult to manage some times and often flings himself around in frustration and partly because he doesn't want to do something. I have been using picture cards and giving him two choices where possible but its not always easy!!!

As a one to one do I need be next to him constantly or is it ok to stand back especially when he is moving from one activity to another. Generally I've been greeting him, dealing with his personal care, encouraging him to sit at circle time which causes melt downs :-/ sitting next to him and interacting trying to keep language simple one or two words. If he moves to another activity I will follow and will sit at the table but not right next to him iykwim just so I'm not always attached to him but at the same time making myself available. He will often come up to me any how but I just don't want to be in his face all the time. Does this sound reasonable??? I just feel it gives him a choice, allows him to play alongside others and maybe see me interact with other children whilst still keeping myself available to him. Obviously I do sit next to him but I am just trying to keep a balance.

I am going to speak to my supervisor at the end of the week for input on its going as i do feel a bit out of my depth but would like the advice or experiences of others too. And maybe ideas for targets for IEP. I was thinking of encouraging him to sit for a set period a circle time.

crazeelaydee Thu 18-Apr-13 12:58:30

What information were you given about the Dc when you became his 1:1? An IEP is individual unless we know this info how can we make suggestions? Just remember small steps, Target for his IEP could be x will sit for ?5 minutes at circle time- x amount of times (maybe on a chair? on the outside of the group) will be given ? reward each time successful you could use something that he really enjoys maybe a toy he brings from home, a particular activity he enjoys the most, stickers. Reviewing/tweeking until eventually he is sitting on the carpet.

Ineedmorepatience Mon 22-Apr-13 15:05:29

I am shocked TBH, that you have been thrown in at the deep end like this. A child with autism needs specialist care and knowledge!
I am working with a 1 to 1 at the moment and as a senco I see my role is to support her and guide her. She has been given a copy of the IEP and the personal fact sheet for the child. We talk constantly about how she is getting on and she feeds back to me daily on how the session has gone. She also writes notes about his targets for me so that I can complete his weekly target sheets.

Not trying to scare you but I dont think they are giving you enough support.

There is a great book called "10 things every child with autism wishes you knew". It is easy to read and very informative. I would recommend reading it.

Good luck smile

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 22-Apr-13 15:12:04

Why has he got 1:1 support?

NotInTheMood Mon 29-Apr-13 20:32:13

Thank you. Well I've had a little look into his file as haven't had much chance and found some paper work linked to the funding and why they need a 1-1. Basically has the job description which I hadn't been given!!!! So it's to support the child and to be first point of contact when entering the setting. Helping him to settle, supporting him during circle/snack time/lunch time and personal needs and maintaining paper work. Attending meetings and working on his IEP and targets. Basically I've been playing alongside him and naming items and making sounds etc to encourage language. Modelling play and extending it.

However I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed as have to attend a child development meeting this week didn't find out til end of last week and have no idea what to expect I've only been with him 2wks or for 30hours. Plus there is a conflict between the pre schools expectations and the child developments expectations who think we should adapt around the child where the setting feels he should be sat down and circle time and following the same rules as everyone else. I am piggy in the middle and just want to do whats best for the child.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 29-Apr-13 20:37:24

'So it's to support the child and to be first point of contact when entering the setting. '


'Helping him to settle,'


'supporting him during circle/snack time/lunch time'


'and personal needs'


'and maintaining paper work.'

What paperwork?

'Attending meetings'

Which ones?

'and working on his IEP and targets.'

Have you seen them?

I'm sorry. It sounds like YOU are being really poorly supported. And it's a shame because you sound like you are really trying to take your job seriously and do right by this child.

Strikeuptheband Sun 05-May-13 01:00:54

I agree. Is there an autism outreach service who visits this child? My DD is attending a school nursery and also has ASD. She has a 1-1, who like you, is not particularly trained but wants to do right by her. But we are getting lots of support from the autism outreach service, who were coming in every fortnight while she was settling in (took months as she is very anxious and clingy) and they have provided the setting with very clear instructions on next steps each time. Granted, my DD hasn't had an IEP yet because she has taken so long just to settle in, but they have been brilliant in facilitating that, providing the school with resources (visual timetable etc), etc.
I agree with others that you should be much better supported. Perhaps this child development meeting will provide some answers though?

ihearsounds Sun 05-May-13 01:42:01

He will need routine and structure. He will need a timetable to help manage the day. You mention pictures, communicate in print is fab for symbols. To help him have a simple timetable that shows activities for now, next and later. Constantly update this and show him. With a timetable this will help him to settle.

Go crazy on the positive reinforcement. Social skills will be hard for him, so when you see him doing something positive, lavish loads of praise.

Let him know the classroom rules clearly.

It can be very challenging, but very rewarding. But you will need a lot of support with helping him, if your place are unsure of how to help, direct them towards PECS. You will also need to be extremely patient and not get annoyed when you have repeated something for the thousand time that week.

Try not to limit to 2 choices. There should be 3 choices - 2 actual choices so reading or writing for example and a 3 choice that is simply something different... Imagine yourself in his shoes, you are asked if you want to read or write, but actually you want to draw. You aren't given this choice.

Also work closely with parents. What interests him. This helps a lot because likes can be used as distractions at times. Plus of course, they will be able to tell you his routine at home. Also from the parents you will find out how they communicate at home. A few children I know who are autistic use makaton.

Chances are, depending on him, it will take a while before he will participate with things like circle time. All you can do is gently encourage him but not push.

NotInTheMood Thu 09-May-13 19:56:11

Thank you for the responses. I have a bit more info so any further advice or tips would be brilliant. We didn't get the diagnosis as early days. The psychologist wants to concentrate on the interaction side and language so encouraging relationships etc. The child development worker wants to use intensive play, using one or two words etc. she wants the setting to adapt to suit the child where as the setting are not so keen. for example he can wash his hands but on occassion he will refuse and so play worker suggested a hand wipe whereas setting have told me no because they feel its a step backwards. And so i am piggy in the middle.
Basically the child does gets upset when activities end eg coming inside or if the water area is closed etc then he will have a melt down or run away or cower. They want him to choose to sit at circle time or have another choice where he needs to sit with me doing a jigsaw or a book. Again he does not always want to do this. He had a melt down because he could not continue playing so I had to take him out. He especially likes the water.
It's very similar to having a frustrated toddler who has tantrums iykwim.

Another thing is it good to keep a diary ??? weekly??? I am not being given much help and I want to make sure I am doing all the correct paper work. I did ask if I should be doing more and the today she said I hope yo are recording everything even though she hadn't said before!!!

MareeyaDolores Fri 10-May-13 23:13:46

The ten things book is a really good starting point.

You've been very poorly supported. That said, much of the received wisdom about dc with ASD is just wrong, so perhaps the poor support is no bad thing.
Ask the library to try to get you This book about teaching, this book about language, and this book to tie it all together.

When recording, the main systems are counting, for behaviours (eg how often she will / won't wash hands) and looking at triggers and outcomes on a STAR (situation trigger action reaction) or ABC chart. The P scales are useful. The EYFS has been updated, your manager will have a copy, but this chart is easy.

With the nursery manager / play worker / ed psych differences of opinion, write it all down, but keep calm. As you get to know the dc, it'll be easier to see which advice is going to work out well, and which ideas are less suitable. The best short cut is to ask the parents. Failing that, you can always try something and work out whether it helps or hinders.

MareeyaDolores Fri 10-May-13 23:19:42

Don't be put off if someone poo-poos the Schramm book, by the way. Chances will be they haven't read it, and were told it was bad by someone else who hadn't read it either.

Rather bizarrely, some people think it's unethical to use scientifically proven, reward-based teaching methods to help dc with special needs. I think it's unethical not to (and I'm a mum to two such dc)

mrspaddy Fri 10-May-13 23:20:01

Hello, I have worked with children requiring an IEP for nearly 15 years and I honestly wonder how you could be expected to write this child an IEP. Before an IEP can be written, Informal and Formal Assessment needs to take place. Learning style, current Receptive and Receptive Language Skills, concept awareness.

I do not think it is fair at all. IF it is expected of you, I would download some checklists under following headings - Social Skills, Motor (Fine/Gross) and as above.

MareeyaDolores Fri 10-May-13 23:23:28

Btw, what you have figured out by yourself sounds brilliant as a starting point, and exactly the right approach for this stage.

Circle time etc can come later, perhaps much later.

MareeyaDolores Fri 10-May-13 23:33:28

The meeting should be helpful. Ask for some targets

Time limited

So, hand washing
By half-term, Dc will wash hands after: using bathroom ,messy play, garden. And before snack / lunch. She will wash hands according to the handwash chart / song / whatever on at least 80% of occasions, and hands will be cleaned on 100% of occasions (with wipes if 1-1 unable to achieve co-operation).

Then have a detailed, broken down, plan to teach or achieve this and a way to record interim progress

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