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'Free-flow' time for Autistic Children.

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by Tessa11, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Hi.
    I am currently working in an EY ASD class.
    It is strictly learn through play, no structured lesson time, although activities are timetabled, but it is in no way as structured as what I am used to in an ASD class.
    We also have 2 hours a day where there are no activities timetabled and the pupils are left to choose their own activities, or are taken by a member of staff to a certain activity quite out of the blue and random.
    I have never seen anything like it.
    What are your views on 'free-flow' learning through play vs. structured lessons?
    Just interested in views from people more experienced than myself.
  2. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    I would have hoped any class deemed ASD - would be described as such because of the particular ASD strategies in place rather than just because the children in it had those needs! Children with SEN have a right to have their SEN met . . . using normal teaching strategies does not constitute special education
  3. jenjen-uk

    jenjen-uk New commenter

    I work with ASD children through behaviour intervention. From experience, I would say that play is a really important way of children learning full stop, but, particularly with ASD children, there should be some form of structure. It's an excellent opportunity to improve social skills and increase flexibility, things which children on the spectrum 'often' struggle with.
  4. Thanks for your responses.
    I think I just struggle a bit with it because these sessions aren't structured at all.
    The staff generally float around the room and take a child over to an activity/task quite randomly. There is not really any rhyme or reason to it, and because of this, the children are often wondering and are either running alone in the playground or are un-engaged.
    The activities don't generally seems to keep their focus (they are very low ability) and I just think things should be more structured and sensory to suit their interests.
    Just wanted other peoples views on it.
    Thank you.
  5. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    at my special school we sometimes get called to see ASD children in mainstream pre-school provision and see repetitive 'play' being allowed and a lack of development. If this isn't remedied then when the children go into a school setting and more demans are put on them the child reacts - often aggresively - and the infant school is seen as failing. This always strikes me as unfair as the child's needs have been known of for some time and no interventions have been made
  6. That sounds very stressful! Yes play is very important, but these children need structure more than other children. How do you assess and monitor the children if it is totally unstructured? How do you ensure that their play skills progress? We have an autistic resource base at my school and wouldn't dream of a two hour free flow session. It would be a prime time for behaviour issues to arise.
  7. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I would venture to say that 2 hours of unstructured free time for any group of students (including typical) has the potential to be unproductive and/or have negative consequences.
  8. I have an EY class with several ASD students. The way I work it is that we have times when every one must sit at the table, for Register for example, as soon as the task is completed they may play. Staff play with them modelling speech and play or extending the child's own play. Then after perhaps an hour they must come back to the table and complete another task which might be snack or pens/paper to play with but sitting. We have a visual time table, times for sitting are called work other times are choose times. In September we managed a minute sitting max with loads of adult support. Now we are up half an hour so long as I have provided the right activity!

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