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ASD Support please!

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by CooperSM, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. CooperSM

    CooperSM New commenter

    Hi there,

    I'm in need of some advice, any ideas or tips would be welcomed with extremely open arms!

    I'm a Year 2 teacher in a mainstream school with a child who has been diagnosed with ASD before she arrived to me. It is the SENCOs thought that she would be better suited in our ASD base however the parents are refusing to accept this idea wishing to keep her in mainstream. M's parents are less than helpful believing a tutor will help her achieve expected levels.

    M is a female and 6 years old. She is just about able to write her name using pens or paint. She doesn't like to colour in or use pencils as they require too much pressure to leave a mark which frustrates her. She loves watching videos and cartoons on the computer and is able to easily access a computer. She is more able at maths than any other subject. M has a 1:1 on a morning who she has had for just over 3 weeks now (she has no previous ASD/SEND experience before but she is working hard and has created a great bond with M) and a 1:1 on an afternoon till 2:30pm who she had full time last year. And I, although did my dissertation on ASD 3 years ago, have realised I have no experience of actually working with and teaching a child with ASD within a mainstream school.

    This is just a brief background.

    M has no social groups but will seek comfort from her key workers (Her 2 x 1:1s (half days) and myself - slowly). During break times she walks up and down the same space in the playground speaking to herself. She gets lost in thought and when excited about her thoughts she begins stimming - flapping her hands excited and sometimes she will skip a few steps forward.
    She is very excluded from my class due to the gap between herself and her peers and I would love to find ways to make her more involved - socially specifically and educationally. She doesn't speak to other children and I am unsure if she is aware of her lack of friendships/social groups.

    We have managed to find time for M to access the ASD base's playground which is equipped with stimulating equipment and children with similar needs. I am still currently trying to arrange time for her to access the sensory room.

    M is an absolute delight and she makes me laugh pretty much every day. She found my toy gecko today during assembly time and we talked about how it was different to a frog and we watched some videos on the computer. It is very rare I get to spend 1:1 time with her which makes me sad, but unfortunately with 29 other children I can't always tear myself away. I am struggling to find opportunities where she can access the curriculum with the class, however I now have times where M will be doing a different activity but in the classroom with the other children.

    Another thing about M that concerns me is when she is upset she will take her shoes and socks off and pick at the bottom of her toes till they are sore. I am going to trial a tennis/golf ball to provide pressure instead of her picking hopefully. Any other suggestions to prevent this would be perfect!

    Any activities you can suggest would be fantastic, I have a pinterest page that I am trying to build up ideas - and I know that nothing works for all children but any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. Any questions that could help you provide suggestions, please feel free to ask!

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. Jo3Grace

    Jo3Grace New commenter

    I have an activity suggestion: a sensory story.

    The predictablity of the story structure will offer her security. Repeat the story so she knows what happens and does not need to feel anxious. The sensory content may provide for some of her sensory needs whilst also making the story more interesting to others.

    Sharing a story with other people has been shown to build social connections so simply through the act of sharing a story in a small group social bonds will be fostered.

    You may be able to create a story around a current topic. In this way your efforts to provide for M need not detract from your provision for other learners but will accentuate provision all around.

    For more info on sensory stories explore the free downloads on the sensory story page of www.thesensoryprojects.co.uk

    Best wishes
    Jo Grace
    dr_dig likes this.
  3. CooperSM

    CooperSM New commenter

    Thank you Jo Grace,

    I will most definitely look into sensory stories. I'm not sure how much she will respond but I will definitely give them a try!

    Thank you so much,
  4. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    Before even offering any advice I have to say, M is incredibly fortunate to have you as her class teacher, and it sounds as if it is an extremely inclusive school, so she has fallen on her feet! :) My son has autism although not as extreme as this, and I have been told about displacement activities for issues like the foot-picking. Is there something that you could provide her, which would displace this compulsion? e.g. something else which has a similar sensory feel which she can pick without causing herself harm? It seems to be an anxiety-induced activity which is possibly serving her a purpose, so displacing it appropriately rather than trying to extinguish it completely would be the best policy, I would think. Congratulations on doing such a fab job.
  5. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    PS, as regards trying to widen her social network, special interests can be utilised as a bridge. Perhaps she could play computer games with a child that you feel is calm and empathetic, or with whom she has had positive experiences.
  6. CooperSM

    CooperSM New commenter

    Thank you so much Jennylambchop! I am trying to do best by her even if I cannot fully meet all of her needs, noone will be able to say I haven't tried :)

    I shall definitely see if we have any resources in school she can pick at as a displacement tactic.
    Thank you!
    jennylambchop likes this.
  7. CurriculumForAutism

    CurriculumForAutism Occasional commenter

    It might help to get OT input about the toe picking to find out what sensation she may be seeking, and also ask the parents to get the GP to check that there's no medical reason for this (plus they could perhaps provide a cream to soothe her skin). OT waiting lists can be long though, so in the meantime keep a record of when this happens, how long for, what happens before & after, etc, so that you will already have info to show OT. You might find some ideas in Angie Voss' book "Understanding Your Child's Sensory Signals" which you could try for now.
  8. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Have you thought of engaging her with older children?

    There may be some year 6 children who would be happy to share some activities with her at playtimes.

    Just an idea.

  9. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    There are a lot of mechanical contraptions which autistic children enjoy. One such idea is the jack in the box.

    Novelty carts such as didicars and ezyrollers can give them engaging activities at playtimes.

    'Carousels' are popular in America with autistic children. A link to one available in this country ...


    The base is offset to the top ... hence body movement causes it to rotate.

  10. ClearAutism

    ClearAutism New commenter

    If M has a disability, presumably she has an EHCP? Can you give us some ideas as to what the objectives are for her? It would surely be better to have activities aimed at achieving goals rather than just keeping her busy in class time?
  11. CooperSM

    CooperSM New commenter

    My apologies for such a late reply you know how life gets.
    I'm having a meeting with M's parents tomorrow as they are asking for me to send home the same homework that I am setting my year 2 children now and asking whether a tutor will help her reach SATs level. The new SENCO is coming with me to encourage them to reconsider her schooling. There is a place available for her at our local ASD unit attached to our school and we want her to go there to be supported properly.
    The carousel is lovely but we've just had a huge £500k cutback over the 3 sites so we can't buy in any specialised equipment.
    I have engaged her in some play with the children in the playground (a couple of buddies) from my class. The chn are trying but she doesn't want to engage with them. Her 1:1 is even struggling with engaging with her ATM and she's known her for over a year. In the past 2 weeks she has played hide and seek twice with them but after a very short time she will just return to her normal walking spot in the playground.
    Her targets are along the lines (can't think off the top of my head) to develop her socialising skills, develop fine motor skills such as cutting and to develop from a full hand pencil grip.
    I'm not too sure but I think they're them!
    We have introduced the golf ball and balloon filled with flour for skin picking. She hated the balloon and asked it to go away. The golf ball she just enjoys playing with. We have moved on from skin picking at the moment but she still isn't wanting to wear her socks and shoes around school.
    Thanks everyone! S
  12. CooperSM

    CooperSM New commenter

    I just wanted to add in addition.

    It is also becoming unsafe having M.

    M doesn't have a 1:1 after 2:30. Yesterday the fire alarm went off at 2:45. I struggled to bring my class out and M who wanted to run off. Once we were outside M refused to hold my hand and a member of staff had to hold her to keep her safe and stop her from returning to the building.

    M is also well known for leaving my classroom and I have to send a child down to SLT to get them to find her as I can't chase her around the corridors when I have 29 other chn in my classroom to watch and cannot leave.

    It has sparked a new fear that one day M will not be in the classroom and the alarm will go and M will panic and She could be put in danger. Thai is no downfall of the school. Only the number of hours the LA have awarded her a 1:1

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