Autism Early Support deliver and promote early intervention for young children with autism or communication difficulties (aged 2-11 years). We do this through tailored programmes of assessment, support and advice, consultancy and training.
Below is a case study provided to us by the charity in association with MK Charities, to help raise awareness and understanding of the types of work carried out by the charity.
‘Ben’ began Circle Centre in September 2019, aged 3 years and 6 months with a diagnosis of autism.
Ben’s parents reported a delay in his spoken language, and were concerned that he was not interacting with his peers. They wanted Ben’s Educational Planning Grid (EPG) to focus on developing his verbal communication, and their long term aspiration for him was for him to communicate effectively.
Ben was a happy, active child, with interests in numbers, letters, books, puzzles and songs. He preferred engaging in activities on his own, making eye contact with his supporting adult to engage, usually to share a song. He would request help by leading an adult to the object or to a place.
Separation from Mum was difficult and caused anxiety. He struggled to cope with finishing a task and transitions from one activity to another, and would show frustration through body language and vocal protest.
Ben’s initial targets against his EPG:
· Respond to bids for interaction and engage in reciprocal interaction, thus enabling increased participation in social interaction.
· Respond to an offer of choice. Developing Bens’ communication skills, and his emotional regulation, thus enabling increased participation in opportunities for learning and social interaction.
· Respond to the use of ‘now and next’ visual support card, and to demonstrate this by transitioning to the next activity. Enabling him to predict what is happening next, increasing his receptive language and supporting his emotional regulation; to finish and transition.
Over time, Ben initiated and responded to interactions with a number of adults. He demonstrated increased interest in social interactions by beginning to greet and call to adults. This demonstrates an emerging ability for spontaneous, functional communication. He also started to use adults’ names to secure attention. With the use of photos and visual supports he is now beginning to request objects, activities and places to go.
To support Ben’s transition into a mainstream setting, we have created a transition plan to ensure consistency. Strategies such as visual supports, movement breaks and using quiet places will enable Ben to access the curriculum.
Ben’s Early Years Foundation stage levels were re-assessed in March 2020, just before the closure of Circle Centre due to COVID-19. Progress was noted across all three areas of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language.
On the re-opening of Circle Centre, Ben attended four individual sessions, settling well and with enthusiasm. He was motivated to initiate and respond to interactions with a number of adults. Ben also settled quickly without the separation anxiety that he had earlier experienced, and is growing in confidence in his social interactions with all of his supporting adults.
Ben returned to Circle Centre in September doing a dual placement with his mainstream setting so that we could support the transition stage which was delayed due to lockdown. The session he attended with us enabled us to work on targets that would support him in school readiness such as attending adult led activities and using his timetable to understand what is happening next. The dual placement ended at half term where he then attended his mainstream setting on a full time basis.
Every year Autism Early Support needs to raise more than £300,000 to provide their much-needed services. They cannot exist without external support and as always appreciate any support that can be given.
*Names and pictures have been changed to protect the identity of those mentioned in this case study.
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