Specialist Experience and Skills
Over 10 years' specialist experience working with children with autism; I worked on my first family-run early intervention therapy programme back in 2007 with a five year old boy who had been diagnosed as severely autistic. This child would often engage in inflexible, repetitive play patterns and did not exhibit any pretend behaviour. The intervention model focused on developing trusted relationships, engaging in sharing emotions and reciprocating interactions. This early intervention method was child directed and adult supported. It provided an opportunity to transform perseverative play... Read More
Over 10 years' specialist experience working with children with autism; I worked on my first family-run early intervention therapy programme back in 2007 with a five year old boy who had been diagnosed as severely autistic. This child would often engage in inflexible, repetitive play patterns and did not exhibit any pretend behaviour. The intervention model focused on developing trusted relationships, engaging in sharing emotions and reciprocating interactions. This early intervention method was child directed and adult supported. It provided an opportunity to transform perseverative play into more meaningful and developmentally beneficial behaviour. We were able to expand the play themes of this child while also develop meaningful relationship. Since then, I have worked with a number of families who employed the same play-based intervention programme with their children. As this intervention model in particular is family-led it allowed me to build close and meaningful relationships with the parents and other family members. I have also worked alongside a BCBA to deliver Applied Behaviour Analysis to a two year old boy with autism. Following the principles of ABA we worked together to develop his communication skills, his social skills and to reduce any problem behaviours that he displayed (such as violent tantrums) through direct instruction.
I have had a number of years of experience working therapeutically with children under 5 to teach play, communication, self-care, academic and social living skills, and reducing problematic behaviours. In each of these experiences, the individual learning environment of the child is specifically tailored to their needs in a flexible way that evolves as progress is made. A crucial part of this process of designing a learning environment is acceptance of where the individual is at any point in time, in knowing what they can or cannot do and ensuring that their learning environment is matched to their current level of skills. I have had experience of carrying out Discrete Trial Teaching and Natural Environment Training strategies in order to help teach new behaviours, such as prompting, shaping and training. I have found it useful to combine these teaching strategies with a Verbal Behaviour approach to help children to understand the function of words. While implementing behaviour plans I have carried out preference assessments and strived to ensure the most effective use of reinforcement. Other teaching strategies I am familiar with include imitation, discrimination, sorting, matching and generalisation to help successfully teach a new skill. I have an understanding of procedural alternatives for behaviour reduction; strategies of differential reinforcement and extinction that can bring about meaningful changes in behaviour.
I have experience of using and implementing PECS, Social Stories, the TEACCH approach and Lego Therapy to assist children in their social communication and interaction development.
I communicate with empathy, genuineness and a non-judgemental approach which I believe has helped with my development of trust and rapport within relationships. To enable connectedness, I endeavour to relate closely to the child and family’s experiences, interpretation of events, challenges and needs and help them to feel heard and understood. I believe that I have achieved such high degrees of quality and rapport, by demonstrating my genuine interest toward the child and the family with sensitivity to all aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication.
I posses excellent written and verbal communication skills which I am able to use effectively to communicate to parents and in interactions with other colleagues and professionals. My strong interpersonal skills have allowed me to work collaboratively with colleagues and professionals to develop IEPs that create appropriate goals, objectives, and accommodations for students to be successful. I have successfully liaised with outside professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists, Outreach Teachers and Educational Psychologists to ensure that all children have their needs met.
My experience of teaching in mainstream school settings has allowed me to teach and plan across the curriculum to a wide ability range. Whilst I have enjoyed teaching in mainstream schools, my passion has always been to work with and support children with ASD to access the curriculum and develop their social, communication and interaction skills.
Recently I successfully prepared two children for the 11+ Examination. Both children achieved high scores in the tests.