CTC intern Kim was busy once again, visiting one of the fantastic projects funded by CTC. This time it was the Parent Support class, which is run by Lanjing Ling (LJL). This class is aimed to help parents improve their care of autistic children and improve the professional level of parents and family members with regards to autism and special needs. By arming parents with more information and education about autism, it means a better quality of life for the children.
LJL works in 6 key ways to enable education and support for families and children involved with autism and special needs. These consist of building a good family nurturing environment, providing quality rehabilitation training and guidance, answering key questions during rehabilitation, providing knowledge and welfare information for children with autism, supporting autistic families to utilise community resources and supporting self-help among autistic families.
Kim visited the Parent Support/Education class, which hosts a speaker to educate and assist parents/caregivers of children with autism, in the best way to help their child. He is a kindergarten teacher form Guangdong, who has been in the autism/childcare sector for over ten years. Each time he presents to the parents, he covers different topics relevant to that time.
The speaker was covering topics on what the parents can do for their children during the winter vacation when Kim visited. He commented that it was important to cater the vacation activities to the ability and potential of the individual child and how to arrange the home environment/site for the holidays in a reasonable way that meets the needs of the child. Throughout the talk, the parents were asked questions by the speaker, with the whole group being engaged.
Among the suggestions for the vacation break, the teacher presented a reward system, where the child would complete a chore/task and be rewarded with something that they liked. He stressed the importance of telling and explaining to the child why they got the reward, as well as how rewards can be motivating to children as by displaying more positive behaviour, they get another reward. Once they make the connection for the action and reward system, the parent can start introducing harder tasks or activities to build the child’s abilities and perseverance.
The speaker also proposed the visual hint method, for teaching the children what places or things are used for what activity or are done in what space. The “we do what in where” teachings. This is where the parent will create hints through words, pictures, models or objects that enable the child to think about which room we do which activity in (such as sleeping in a bed, in a bedroom). He said that parents/caregivers can start with the more obvious hints, but to make sure that there is enough mystery that the child will use their thinking skills to find the answer. As the children get better at this, the hints can decrease in obviousness. The real purpose of these kinds of activities is to teach the children skills that will help the operate within their everyday life.
CTC is glad to support the LJL Parent Class, as it provides valuable classes for children and parents, as well as giving parents with autistic children an opportunity to connect with other parents and families in the same situation.
The class finished with the main message being noted that it is important to build on the child’s communication skills as this is what helps them to operate in everyday social situations. By being able to communicate, the child can express their wants, needs and desires.