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What does a child with HFA need when starting reception and beyond?

(9 Posts)
Justgotdiagnosis Wed 17-Apr-13 11:08:49

Can anyone help?
I have a few questions...
What has to be done different for a child with HFA in education terms?
I have heard about social stories... And social skills training... Facilitated play in breaks...
Visual timetables I have heard of.
I guess a really inclusive environment where all differences are welcome and everyone is accepted to promote self esteem. Some anti-bullying measures?
Some targeted help to aid language development for my DS as he has delay.

But what other strategies might need to be utilised?
For a child who I can see it might be hard for a class teacher to be to follow instructions... are there specific teaching methods that need to be used? He gets very absorbed in things and then finds it hard to break off to do an activity not of his own choosing, so I can imagine he would find it hard to change activities in the classroom setting when not of his own volition. What could a teacher do about the above?

What else would a teacher need to know/do?
I know all kids are different but just some general ideas would be really enlightening.
Thank you

amberlight Wed 17-Apr-13 13:07:38

Yes, good list. What helps us most of all is usually a classroom environment we can cope with.
Have a look at for a brilliant two minute animation of the world of 8 out of 10 people on the autism spectrum. Classrooms are filled with intense noise, flickering fluorescent lighting, massive visual input, computers and OHPs whirring....for hour after hour. Look what happens to the lad even after a couple of minutes. Try learning in that lot.
Get the school to take this stuff seriously, and you'll find we can learn lots.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 17-Apr-13 13:46:27

Dd3 needed a named adult who she could get to know and go to if she was upset. She isnt able to express herself when she is upset so it needs to be someone with an ability to pick up on her cues.

I agree with amber about the OHP's I know Dd3 struggles with them [so do I] and also with not being able to follow instructions when there is other noise going on. I would ask for instructions to be given individually to start with.

Reception is similar to nursery so I would follow what has worked and try to slim down what has not.

Good lucksmile

Justgotdiagnosis Wed 17-Apr-13 20:32:17

Thanks very much, really useful info.
Any other tips gratefully received, it's going to help with making the right school choice.

AgnesDiPesto Thu 18-Apr-13 11:51:27

They will often use visual timetables to help with transitions(but try and get them to use these flexibly from the start eg to teach things can change and so sometimes to move things round the timetable or do 'surprises' so does not become really rigid about it).

DS is bright but moderate ASD / speech delay /disorder.He has a statement with 1:1 support and the list of objectives on the statement says:
•To improve his motivation so that he is able to engage in all lessons/activities with greater independence.
•To develop his concentration and attention to task so that he can focus on an activity for increasing periods of time;
•To make progress in line with his ability/developmental levels in the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (EYFS) with particular focus on Social communication and play.
•To develop tolerance of and ability to work within groups so that he is included in social interaction and learning alongside his peers
•To develop ability to move independently through tasks and onto new activities so he can experience a broader curriculum
•To develop his ability to retain, transfer and generalise skills across activities
•To develop his ability to comply with instructions
•To develop his ability to control his self stimulatory behaviours to a level that does not interfere with his learning
•To improve play and early learning skills
•To improve ability to learn observationally

Communication and Interaction
•To improve language comprehension skills
•To promote use of spoken language
•To develop social communication and interaction skills

Social and Emotional
•To help develop "social" skills that can be used to facilitate positive interaction with other people, both adults and children
•Reduce the frequency and intensity of self absorbed, repetitive behaviours and replace with more appropriate alternatives
•To improve ability to regulate his behaviour and respond appropriately to requests
•To develop play skills, including his ability to play in parallel and then interactively with other children.
•To increase social interest

Physical, Sensory and Medical
•To develop self care and independence skills
•To develop awareness of danger, risk and personal safety
•To develop his social skills at mealtimes and extend his tolerance of food and dietary range
•To accommodate sensory sensitivities AND develop his tolerance to situations which he finds difficult.

He then has a list of provision for each objective which basically says provide a programme to do x. He also has a behaviour plan. Behaviour / reward system has been crucial.

In his IEP we then have the immediate next step for each programme so for instructions - we have that the teacher will provide a list of written instructions (DS can read but could be in symbols if he couldn't) and that he will be taught to follow a plan of three instructions.

He works with a token board and earns points (as he has no motivation to join in or work) when he gets 10 points he gets choice of reward which might be read a book, do a puzzle, play on computer 5 mins etc. Then he starts token board again. Teacher may need to devise a reward system specific to your child with rewards motivating for him eg DS could not care less about having his name on board, a sticker or a marble in a class jar. he needs immediate tangible rewards

With lots of activities we started with say 10 seconds and built up - so paying attention for 10 seconds (getting points the whole time) - then 30 seconds etc etc then reward. He will now sit for 15-20 mins in activities he likes. You want to build success and reward positive so better he sits beautifully for 10 seconds and is successful & gets reward than is made to do 20 mins and told off for failing. You want to try and get the teacher to understand this from the start. Assess what he can do already and then build slowly from the point he is at.

Not all teachers get that its ok for your child to have a different reward system than the others. It has never been a problem with other children if you start it day 1 the other children just accept different rules for different children and its not a big deal.

Autism Education Trust have basic info for teachers you can download- do not assume teachers will know anything about autism.

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

amberlight I have just watched the video, that makes so much sense. When my Ds seems distressed I will pull him to one side where it is quieter (usually his bedroom if we are at home) and he always asks to play a game where I say a word and he has to answer with the first thing that pops in his mind, without fail every time I say playground or classroom he will always answer with noisy....sorry that has nothing to do with the thread blush just felt the need to write this. smile

<scuttles off again to do the dishes>

Justgotdiagnosis Thu 18-Apr-13 20:35:04

Great, thanks, much appreciated; enormously helpful!!

cjn27b Thu 18-Apr-13 20:37:51

Thank you Agnes - DS1 starts reception next year and we're wondering what support he'll need too. The statement process continues meanwhile, so we're not sure he'll have one when he goes up.

AgnesDiPesto Thu 18-Apr-13 21:01:32

We had to go tribunal so what we have is way above what is typical and getting teachers to do their bit is not easy. But hopefully it helps to know what you can ask for and then the onus shifts to school to say no.

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