Here at Learning Patch, we're on a mission to make the world a little better for children with autism and their families.
We have experienced the uncertainty that comes when developmental milestones are not met, the anguish of jumping through hoops to get a diagnosis, and the frustration of trying to support our children with autism through the many daily challenges they face.
Nothing in life is certain! And no one person has all the answers.
What we at Learning Patch hope to do is identify areas where we can support and contribute to our children's development, and then to share those resources so that other children with autism may also have the opportunity to learn and thrive.
My own personal journey has been an emotional roller-coaster. There have been joyous highs, but also some heartbreaking lows. One of those lows came after months (no, make that years) of preparation for our eldest son to attend school. Sadly his school journey came to an abrupt end after just 3 terms, when I arrived early to pick him up and found him being pinned down by the teacher in front of the entire class.
I have no doubt that many little things contributed to causing my son's anxiety to peak so intensely, and it is likely that many things also led his teacher to take such an extreme course of action.
After more than one year of reflection and consultation with behavioural and teaching experts, we have come to identify some areas where we (that is, us parents, teachers and integration aides) can work together to:
- better identify behaviours and habits that may be emerging as potential problems, and then to develop and integrate strategies to overcome these patterns
- accustom our little learners to follow a simple 2 step schedule that allows them to understand what's coming next, easing anxiety and uncertainty and encouraging participation in academic activities
- a simple and fun progress tracker that helps keep our little learners on task, focussed, and moving towards accomplishing classroom tasks
Like all tools and strategies, these resources provide a starting point and become much more effective when they are used consistently over a period of time.
While it can take us time to develop good habits and become confident with change, it takes our little learners a little extra time and encouragement.
My son is now in the process of transitioning back into school. That is, he is homeschooled 4 days a week and attends a mainstream school 1 day a week. As he slowly adapts, learns to manage his anxiety, and grows in confidence - we will slowly increase his hours at school.
I'm feeling quietly confident.
In fact, all of us at Learning Patch are feeling hopeful. We hope our enthusiasm is contagious and that you and your family continue to take little steps forward each day.