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The F****** LEA Part 5- what makes good ASD provision?

(19 Posts)
JakB Mon 11-Jul-05 13:42:40

Is it part 5? When will it end?
I feel like a very small, insignificant parent against the huge powerful might of local government.
Anyway, I wanted to ask you- what do you think makes good ASD provision for a child who is severely affected? What is a 'unit', in your eyes?

Jimjams Mon 11-Jul-05 14:21:11

Individual timetbale, individual attention, sensory work. It doesn't have to be in an ASD specific unit- I think ds1's provision - with a mixed class - is much better than the ASD unit. In his school every child has their own individual timetable- makes a huge difference.(other spoecial schools I saw, and the unit, had class timetables).

JakB Mon 11-Jul-05 14:23:19

Yes, that's really interesting, Jimjams. The unit I've seen has a class timetable and individual timetables. How much 1:1 teaching does your DS get and what techniques do they use? What sensory work to they do?
Sorry, Jimjams, just trying to build up a picture!

Jimjams Mon 11-Jul-05 14:34:01

Not sure about the 1:1- he gets a lot - especially in class activitities such as circle time as otherwise he's off. His IEP is to start to get him to do some activities with less support (register to office, PE without 1:1 etc).

Sensory work is daily- Every day they do a combined sensory pecs session (with lotion, feathers etc). He also has weekly hydrotherapy, and I think several sessions of sand and splash. Currently he's gettng music therapy as well. He hasn't used the dark room yet, but some children have- again its individualised.

His shcool is very active. So for example they have one story book a term- but they each get their own versions of it - with lots of photos of them dressed up etc. This term they've been doing the big sneeze and they icoroprate a lot of sensory work into that.

The school is very visual as well. PECS are used frequently- so at snack time (where they all have jobs as well- recently ds1 has been counting the children). They might request I want orange drink etc. They wear different colour t-shirts for different days of the week- and the activities on a yellow day are all yellow etc (activities are done at cirlce time- like a box of surprises).

Less than 2 terms after starting there ds1 sits down and enjoys circle time. That's the bit that surprised me- but he actually gets the point that an adult is going to show him something nteresting and funny.

It's an incredible shcool- lots of community trips as well. I'm interested to see how he goes today- off to the aquarium. Last time he went he was in mainstream and I was called to pick him up as he was refusing to go in! That's a school trip- but often he goes to cafes etc.

Jimjams Mon 11-Jul-05 14:40:08

whoops - teaching techniques- forgot to say- again dependson the child. With ds1 a lot is PECS bases - so behavioural- some TEACHH but his teacher isn't that keen on it. A LOT of work on lifeskills.

JakB Mon 11-Jul-05 18:10:50

Davros, I need you here honey. How does it work at Treehouse?

JakB Mon 11-Jul-05 20:34:47

Sorry, Jimjams, very rudely didn't say thanks for your fab input. Your DS's school sounds fab. The sensory stuff sounds like something DD would really pick up on. I think that's great that they are encouraging independent skills, too. Sounds very similar to fab 'unit' I'm trying to get DD into. Am going to visit again tomorrow.

Jimjams Mon 11-Jul-05 21:39:43

jakB- Treehouse is a bit of a one of a kind (not quite- there are other like the rainbow school) but AFAIK (in the absence of Prof Davrois as she will correct me) it is entirely based on ABA - so each child has their own programme, and there is a lot of home-school links within programmes. I think each child has a one to one.

LEA's will NEVER set up a school in treehouse style though as it is hugely expensive. AFAIK Treehouse, rainbow, any others have been set up by parents- then the LEAs fight not to fund places there

You have to watch out for LEA's being overkeen on TEACHH- they love it (nice and cheap). In reality though I have found that although LEA's bleat on about TEACHH at the coal face experienced teachers only use it in a limited fashion. Certainly although my son's school don't uses ABA as such- their approach is behavioural in the main. And they use a lot of Pyramid type lesson plans which of course are mainly ABA.

I don;t think there's anything wrong with using a mix of appproaches (whereas in the past I would have wanted purely ABA) providing the approaches are being fitted around the child, rather than the other way around.

Decent sensory work by the way requires facilities. DS1's hydro pool is also a snoezlen room- then they have the sensory room and the dark rooom, and the sand and splash room. Along with lots of outside play equipment. About the only thing they don;t have a tramplines (too big) but they do have people who come in to doo rebound therapy and they have a circus skills group.

Visits are good from outside facilities- for example donkeys come regularly to ds1's school.

The biggest differrence in ds1 since changing provision was demonstrated well today. last aquarium visit with mainstream he refused to go in and I had to collect him. Today he came home saying aquarium and fiish

JakB Tue 12-Jul-05 06:45:53

How fabulous- donkeys visiting the school!!
Yeah, I know Treehouse is an ABA school but I was interested to know exactly how their day is broken up and what other things they do, if you know what I mean. I have seen Pyramid type lessons at the unit which are essentially based on an ABA approach, they just don't like to call it that! The school with the unit has a sensory room, pool etc and I think they do SALT in the splash pool. Thanks for all your input JJX

pixel Tue 12-Jul-05 13:41:41

Jak, if you want I can send you one of Ds's weekly picture shedules which will show you exactly what he does all week at school, how the day is divided up etc. Send me your address and I'll stick it in the post if that's any use.

Jimjams Tue 12-Jul-05 14:12:17

JakB- the unit sounds good- sounds like you need to press for that to be expanded. If you wanted to set up an ABA school I think you would have to doo it yourself, I think most LEAs would be reluctant.

JakB Tue 12-Jul-05 19:32:38

Pixel, that would be FAB. I would really appreciate that. Went in to the unit again this morning with my mum. It is so fantastic. The other boy whose name begins with D took a liking to my mum and insisted she wore a latex glove! . I can just see DD fitting in perfectly there Just so stressful.

JakB Tue 12-Jul-05 19:32:58

ps Deffo no energy to set up an ABA school, Jimjams!
Energy, yes, but not that much.

Davros Tue 12-Jul-05 20:25:59

Hi Jak, had a ruddy busy day! First, if you're going to set up something new or try to improve something existing, I think you should talk to TreeHouse, now merged with PACE. Apart from the actual TH school, the Trust with PACE is there to support and advise people on new/improving provision nationally. THis does not mean only ABA but whatever people feels meets the relevant children's needs.
As for how it works at TH. Each child has their own file with programs based on their IEP. These are delivered as DTT at the table. This takes up, maybe a quarter of the day at the most. The rest of the time is all those other things you can't manufacture at home like Circle Time, PE, Music etc. These are all observed, analysed and managed with ABA principles in the background iyswim. THe classrooms use a lot of visual material like timetables, lots of childlren using PECs and the staff all use Makaton at least informally to reinforce PECs and other communication. They have themes to the term, go on outings and have a wonderful playground. Being still a fairly new school and still in temporary accommodation, they don't yet have things like hydrotherapy, proper sensory room etc but that side is growing and, I'm sure, in the future plans.
I think what makes good ASD provision is that learning/teaching should be the prime target and there should be individual targets for each child that are systematically taught, monitored and adjusted and not just stuck on an IEP and reviewed now and then.
Having 1:1 is also great. However, there are a LOT of people in the school and it takes a lot of admin, maintenance and management.
My opinion is that "standard" special schools focus less on learning but that does sound patronising and I suppose I am talking about non-autism-specific schools where the needs and learning style is different. I know plenty of people who are very happy with other special schools but their children are not autistic.
Can't think of much more to say, post again if you want to ask anything more but I really do think you should contact TH/PACE, this is just what they are there for. Tell them that Prof Davrois deMumsnet sent you

JakB Tue 12-Jul-05 21:30:37

You star ProfDavroislaminatorlovaas. I have to say that the unit is as near as damn it to that kind of level of input/teaching as I have seen. The emphasis is on each individual child and very much on learning and probing for newly learnt skills. Every child has a folder and everything is monitored. I can really see DD thriving there. Funnily enough, I have been in touch with Virginia B as I contacted her about us potentially joining forces for an article. She has a book coming out later this year about how having an child with autism turns mothers into campaigners. Watch this space...

JakB Tue 12-Jul-05 21:36:36

Also, just thinking about it. Lots of PECS and PECS activity boards used for choices, repetition, brilliant circle time, child-led play sessions (SALT style), each teacher wears a key ring referring to the child they are with, lots of stuff around the classroom about each child's likes, dislikes, behaviours they are working on (ie: what to ignore, how to respond), lots of visual support plus individual teaching at work stations using discrete trials and backward chaining. It's just brill.

Davros Wed 13-Jul-05 06:18:26

Jak, the place sounds really good. Now, if you can just get donkeys in....

Jimjams Wed 13-Jul-05 07:50:31

the donkeys travel

from davros' post, and from comparing with the school we rejected, I would say that the most important thing for a child with ASD is that their education programme is individualised and each child has individual timetables. The school we rejected did whole class work the majority of the time (with widely different abilities). Can you imagine? No neither could we keeping quiet seemed to be valued more than learning.

JakB Wed 13-Jul-05 11:32:17

Absolutely concur.
Must get Donkey visits on DD's statement, though!

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