“We auto accept the ‘ism’ in ‘autism’”
At Autism Connect we believe in unlocking greatness in each learner through an eclectic approach of methods which is learner-specific with the aim of reaching their full potential.
Autism Connect Learning Centre aims to function as a learning and resource centre within our community providing a specialised early learning programme that is autism specific. Our ethos encompasses neurodiversity and advocacy of inclusion focusing on learner intervention.
Autism Connect learning Centre follows an eclectic curriculum utilising methods and strategies from approaches such as The Integrated Learning programme, Applied Behavioural Analysis, Relationship Development Integration, Structured Teaching and Individualized and Educational Development Plan. It is an adaptive curriculum that focuses on being autism specific and keeping up-to-date on relevant research.
The aim of an eclectic curriculum is for Autism Connect to implement autism-specific interventions that are unique to each learner with the objective of independence and generalization of basic skill development within a holistic approach. This is integrated into all aspects of their lives with the involvement of a multi-disciplinary on all fronts so as to reach inclusion and acceptance of diversity.
The Learning Programme is a learning strategy if differentiation that is aligned with the National Learning and Development Standards and the National Curriculum framework for children from birth to four years old. These frameworks adopt a holistic approach and include education, health and social services. The learning programme is designed for children with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disabilities (SPID) that have developmental delays with high support needs. In line with the National Policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) and individual Support Plan (ISP) must be developed for each child to customise the LP.
The Learning Programme encompasses four subject components; language and communication, Visual perceptual and cognitive skills, life skills and physical skills. The principle of the programme is the development of skills, learning and application of knowledge take place through continuous integration of the four components in the natural environment or daily programme. The programme follows normal development and learning by doing.
Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and Relationship Development and Integration (RDI)
ABA is a Behavioural treatment methodology based on the theories of operant conditioning. The methodology reduces inappropriate behaviour and increases communication, learning and appropriate behaviours.ABA uses different procedures to teach new skills. Autism Connect has implemented Discrete Trial Training (DTT). DTT breaks down tasks into smaller teachable steps for children. It uses a reward system to motivate and reinforce children while learning new skills and behaviours. It teaches play, social, communication and relationship building skills through prompting through the use of the ABC model.
Individualized and Educational Development Plan (I.E.D.P)
The I.E.D.P is specifically formulated per learner according to developmental areas and skills development. Goal banks are utilised to stipulate learning outcomes and assessment standards. I.E.D.P are upgrade and evolving.
Structured teaching provides visual structure and routine in the learning environment at the learner’s level of representation. The TEACCH method refers to Treatment and Education for Autistic and related Communication and Handicapped Children. Visual structure is the instruction and organisation of materials that clarify for the student how to complete the task. Physical structures clearly define demarcated areas. The aim of TEACCH is to promote independence, organization, routine and behaviour management.
The Tulip class consist of our early adolescents, ranging from the age of 10 years old and above. Our main focus for our pre- teenagers and teenagers is targeted at their independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADL), pre- vocational skill training and basic vocational activities. Some of our activities include grooming skills, basic exercises, gardening. The classroom criteria is aimed at equipping our adolescent with functional skills at their age which prepares them for the working environment.
Each classroom has documented criteria based on how learners are grouped developmentally. It is formulated and stipulated according to the skills sets from goal banks and operates according to how learners are assessed on progression to the next level.
The task team consists of the Programme Implementer, Occupational therapist, Speech and Language Therapist and the Principal. The task team is responsible for the implementation of the curriculum and training of educators.
The principal is responsible for the development and implementation of the adapted curriculum. To ensure that the curriculum is relevant and adapted accordingly. Ensure that the curriculum is implemented and the supervision of staff and learners. To ensure that staff are upskilled and trained on the curriculum.
The Programme Implementer is responsible for the implementation of the Integrated Learning Programme. Ensuring that the LP is integrated into the daily programme and weekly schedules with reference to planned monthly themes that are adhered too. Allocation of relevant worksheets, creativity and resources for weekly schedules such as arts and crafts, computer lessons, make and bake and show and share activities are planned and prepared.
The therapists are responsible for the formulation, implementation and assessment of I.E.P goals per learner. They ensure that tasks and activities are appropriate and followed through and learning resources are allocated to each class. Ensure that all learners at the centre receive therapy either in the form of individual, joint or group sessions or classroom observation on a weekly basis.
The curriculum is a continuous assessment model. The learners are assessed on a weekly basis informally and formally according to a target sheet that incorporates skillsets.
Biannual reports are issued annually in June and December. A I.E.P review is done termly by the therapists and a meeting is scheduled every two years with the multi-disciplinary team. A Round table meeting is scheduled per learner annually with the multi-disciplinary team.
The therapist report to the parents on a weekly basis after each session. They also do weekly classroom observation reports.
Regular communication is forwarded to the parents via social media and parent groups.
The principal is responsible for monthly monitoring and evaluation reports on each educator and classroom as well as termly appraisals. Monthly one-on-one meetings are scheduled to gather feedback from educators as well as daily administration slots. In-service training takes place three times a year and staff are also sent to training workshops regularly.
The development and implementation of the curriculum has commenced since January 2019. The L.P was part of the existing programme at A.C. The curriculum was first adapted with the implementation of the DTT. We are currently implementing the TEACCH method. The term I.S.P have been replaced with I.E.D.P Programmes.
The Early Start Denver Model is an up-and-coming approach which A.C would like to implement in the near future. We are awaiting training dates from the programme lead.
Implementation of toileting readiness skills in preparation for toilet training in combination with ADL readiness with full support. Improved Awareness and engagement with a focus on learning to play.
Working towards independence in toileting and ADL’s. One-to-one implementation of table-top activities.
Sensory-based integration with a focus on communication skills through utilising technology.
Implementation of basic concepts. Focus on independence in classroom routine and structure.
Approaches that prepare the learner to enter into schooling system for formal education. Focus on independence and generalisation of skills.
Implementation of pre-vocational skills working towards vocational skills to equip learners for the workforce.