Teaching in RB2
Children are grouped accordingly to need, age and ability, having access to a wide range of activities and accessing the National Curriculum where appropriate. They work in small groups with adult support and all the children are encouraged to work with different adults to help them gain independence.
Children access the mainstream classes where appropriate and work alongside mainstream peers. They are assessed according to the Birmingham Continuums using a small step approach. This highlights progress in clear and precise stages and allows for progress to be tracked in small increments and targets to be set according to individual needs.
Autism Friendly Environment
All children work in a structured and autism friendly environment. These include…
PECS where needed. PECS consists of six phases and begins by teaching an individual to give a single picture or desired item or action to a communicative partner who immediately honours the exchange as a request. It then goes on to teach discrimination of pictures and how to put them into sentences. Children use PECS to build upon their knowledge and become more verbal in their communication.
Makaton is a language programme that uses signs and symbols to help aid communication. It is very similar to British Sign Language. Children are encouraged to use Makaton alongside speech in spoken word order. Staff in the base teach Makaton on a daily basis and make it fun. This includes learning the alphabet, the date, saying Good morning and Good afternoon and having signs and themes of the week. We also use Makaton to support music lessons and learn new songs every few weeks.
Colourful semantics is the meaning of words. Sentences are made colourful by breaking down and colour coding different parts of a sentence. It is a speech and language intervention that directly works on developing grammar through spoken sentences, answering questions, the use of nouns, verbs, prepositions and adjectives, developing story telling skills and written sentences and comprehension.
Visuals and Communication In Print
Visuals using the Communication in Print programme are a vital tool that enable children with an autism diagnosis to navigate through the school day. They are key to supporting the structure of the day and supporting and developing confidence and independence as well as alleviating anxiety about what is coming next. These include now and next boards and visual instructions. The base uses a visual timetable to enable all children to get through the school day. There are also visual signs around the school too, to help this as well.
We have a sensory room with a variety of equipment to help children manage their sensory needs. There are a number of sensory resources in class as well, including weighted toys, ear defenders, fidget toys and a dark room with teddies and soft toys inside it.
Fine and gross motor skills
Many children with an autism diagnosis have undeveloped fine and gross motor skills. We use a variety of techniques to support children in this area and we teach this in a specific OT lesson every Monday afternoon as well as reinforcing it throughout the school week. Examples of support we give include handwriting, sensory circuits and trying a wide variety of foods that require children to eat in different ways. The school is also supported by an outside occupational therapist.
Social and life skills
Every morning we have an emotional regulations session where we discuss children’s feelings and situations, where the children may feel a range of emotions. We also teach the children how to recognise how other people are and might be feeling. Life skills is timetabled every Wednesday on the timetable and as part of this we teach real life things that they may need to do including dressing, using money and communication skills such as turn taking, waiting, giving eye contact, listening, sitting and sharing. Children also take part in swimming sessions, cooking, PE, music lessons and a variety of visits in the local and wider community. They are additionally taught and provided with opportunities to practice everyday skills like looking after ourselves, making friends, staying safe and learning about the wider world.
Speech and Language
All children in the base receive speech and language support. Targets are part of their daily routine in and they receive sessions with an outside speech and language therapist. We also support this throughout the day in all lessons and through Pragmatics and LEGO therapy taught every Thursday afternoon.
Topics we are currently working on
- Retelling a familiar story (The Highway Rat and Handas Surprise)
- Writing simple information reports
- Composition and calculation – 100 and bridging 100
- Addition and subtraction
- The world around us (The UK, Birmingham and the surrounding area around the school)
- Belonging and naming ceremonies (Christianity, Sikhism and Islam)
- Being Me In My World (Jigsaw)
- Ball skills
- Following a sensory circuit (climbing, jumping and landing, crawling and balance)
Art and Messy play
- Drawing using pencils, crayons, pastels, felts and chalks
- Drawing basic objects using observational skills
- Investigating tone, patterns and shapes
- independent play and investigation
- Organising a mess into something that is constructive using imagination to do so
- Following rhythms and patterns in music
- Exploring and playing a variety of different instruments
- Learning and performing songs using Makaton to support
- Listening to different genres of music: Reggae, Classical and Pop