Kimi is ready for school – The Growing Pathway of Kimi in Autism Partnership
Interview conducted by:
Kelvin = Kelvin Ho (Senior Behavioral Therapist)
Ivy = Ivy Chan (Case Supervisor) | Chirsty = Christy Lai (Case Supervisor)
1. We are delighted to see that Kimi has successfully enrolled to a mainstream school! Can you share with us how Kimi was when he first came to Autism Partnership (AP)?
Kimi demonstrated quite a lot of behavioral and learning-how-to-learn problems when he first received therapy. He would avoid work by pushing the chair away and throw a tantrum when the therapist announced that it was time to work.
Kimi had restricted interests, and we could only use transports as reinforcers. He had difficulties in expressing his thoughts and his articulation was difficult to comprehend. Kimi tended not to listen to instructions from others and he was inflexible about changes. For example, he would get frustrated when he had to have lesson with an unfamiliar therapist. That’s why we are glad to see the tremendous improvement he has made in social interests and in receptive instructions and tasks.
2. So what did you do to help Kimi?
His disruptive behaviors and learning how to learn issues were top priorities in his first month curriculum. It was upsetting for us to see how frustrated Kimi was when he wasn’t able to communicate his needs with us. Thus, we’ve conducted a lot of programs to improve his articulation and length of speech. We introduced programs such as verbal imitation, expressive labels as well as communication temptations to improve his spontaneous communication.
3. Have you ever been impressed by Kimi’s performance?
I am always amazed by Kimi’s creativity and he is always curious about the things and people around him. Initially, his limited exposure to different toys contributed to his restricted play interests. However, once a new toy has been introduced or once he discovered the joy of gameplay, he could spend hours playing with the toy.
Thus, it was not particularly challenging to expand his play interest with reinforcement development and we created many opportunities to expose him to a variety of toys, activities, and social games. I was also amazed by his effort in learning even when the tasks were difficult to him.
I love Kimi’s generalization skills. There was one time we were teaching him how to show and share with peers, and the day after his mum told me that he had shared what he had made in AP. It truly was surprising as none of us expected that he could apply the skills so effortlessly.
4. Kimi would not have made it without the help of the therapists in AP. How did you get him prepared for school? What were his major improvements over the past 1.5 years?
To prepare Kimi for school, we have designed individualized programs to improve his Learning How to Learn, Language, Social and Play skills.
5. I hope it’s a smooth transition for Kimi! Does it mean that Kimi no longer needs to receive therapy in Autism Partnership?
At first, a shadow teacher will accompany Kimi to go to school every day, to make sure the transition is smooth. AP’s supervisor will have meetings with school teachers to keep track with Kimi’s progress and performance in school. Kimi will receive half day 1-on-1 therapy in AP in the afternoon. It’s likely that Kimi will face different curriculums and learning modules, such as delivering presentations, have group discussions and engage in more peer interactions. We are looking forward to seeing his performance.
6. A lot of parents have been worrying about whether their child can adapt well in school, especially those with special educational needs. Could you give them some advice or what can parents do to help their child?
Before your child goes to school, early intervention is essential for him or her to have similar ability as other typically developing children. To achieve this goal, parents have to make a big commitment for their child to receive intensive therapy, just like what Kimi’s parents have done. His parent’s dedication and efforts in cooperating with AP is one of the reasons that makes this happen.
Most of the parents hope their child can study in mainstream schools, it is completely understandable. I agree that school is very important in our lives. However, children should only go to school when they are ready, especially for children with special educational needs. Equip them with all the skills necessary for them to flourish at school is vital. Apart from equipping your child with school readiness, choosing the right school is also very important. For instance, you need to consider if the school provides full support, whether it promotes integration, or if it’s a school that focuses heavily on academics. The choice is yours, and your child’s learning effectiveness and experience will differ significantly depending on the school you choose.
– Interview conducted by Kelvin Ho (Autism Partnership Senior Behavioral Therapist)
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