Welcome to our September newsletter. We hope that you have all had a super summer and know that back to school plans will now be underway. This can be a particularly difficult and stressful time for children with autism as they readjust back to a different and perhaps more formal routine, and have to cope with many changes including wearing school uniform again and building relationships with new members of staff.
Here are a few suggestions that we hope could be helpful.
- Transition can be a time where visual supports are extremely useful, even if they are not usually required. Whether in the form of photographs, drawings, timetables or written routines or checklists, one benefit is that they can be referred back to as often as is necessary which can reduce anxiety.
: Many children with sensory difficulties find new clothing uncomfortable to wear. Introducing new uniform at the beginning of term when there are also other causes of stress can be particularly difficult, but sometimes unavoidable. However, if it is possible for your child to continue wearing older items for the first few weeks you may like to then try introducing new articles when things begin to get a little more settled. If not, washing new items several times with plenty of fabric conditioner before wearing for the first time can help, as can cutting out or unpicking the labels. It is worth shopping around for underwear and socks if your child finds these uncomfortable, there may be a style that is more wearable, and even consider buying the next size up to ensure a looser fit. Wearing socks inside out, so the seams are on the outside is also something that some people find more tolerable. For more information about sensory difficulties click here
To help deal with the issue of homework, the NAS has produced a handy guide containing a whole range of strategies which could help you support your child with motivation and organisation. To view the guide click here
:People with autism often have difficulties with organisation. Remembering to take the correct equipment and belongings to school on the correct days according to timetabled activities, then maintaining possession of those belongings and bringing them home again is a huge challenge for some pupils! There are systems that you can try to put in place to help, such as:
Provide a pencil case that can be left at school plus a dupliate set of equipment for use at home when completing homework.
If there are particular pieces of subject specific equipment that go missing, you could speak to relevant teachers and ask whether the allowance could be made to leave a maths set/lab coat/hockey stick in the classroom so that your child does not have to transport (and lose!) it.
Colour code files and bags for each subject, so that, for example, everything (books, homework, letters) to do with maths is kept in a blue folder.
Make a visual checklists, perhaps in the format of a laminated card, that your child can refer to when packing a bag to ensure that everything is remembered. For younger children, a set of photos by the front door showing coat, bag, water bottle, lunchbox etc could be checked on the way out. Similarly, some children use a list like this at school to ensure that all the correct items are taken home at the end of the day.
Always re-pack school books and equipment back into the school bag once you have finished with it at home, so that the bag is always ready to pick up and go in the morning.
When you collect or meet your child after school, ask them then if there is anything they need for the next day, or anything different that is going on. While it is fresh in their minds they may remember more easily!
At home, once PE or games kit is laundered it could be put immediately back into the sports bag and left in a place ready to take to school, instead of items being put away with the rest of the laundry and then having to be found in a rush in the morning.
We'd love to hear from you if you have other systems that make your life just that little bit easier, as we could then include these in future newsletters! Or, how about sharing them on our Facebook page? For more information on organisation click here
A source of further help and support about dealing with back to school issues could be the NAS online discussion forum which can be accessed here
Recent Branch News
Autism Outreach Service
We launched our new Autism Outreach Service, in conjunction with Autisxm Guernsey, on July 18th with a drinks reception at Government House.
The service is co-ordinated up by Anne Blondel, and aims to provide personalised support to individuals and families within the community and target the gaps in the services that already exist within the Bailiwick of Guernsey.We operate a direct referral system meaning individuals, families or professionals can contact us directly. There is currently no charge for this service, which is open to individuals of all ages.
We have already held some initial workshop sessions to begin to ascertain the level and breadth of need in order to help use the resources that are available most effectively. Thankyou to all of you who attended. Several key areas were identified and will now be addressed, including setting up a new interest group for young people on the spectrum and investigating employment opportunities.
If you have any further ideas or comments to make, Anne would be pleased to hear from you. She can be contacted via email Anne.Blondel@autismguernsey.org.gg
Thankyou to everyone who helped us run a fundraising stall at the summer shows, and to all of you who came and took part.
We ran a stall with children's activities including mask making, a 'pick a lolly' game and the very popular 'throw a poo in the loo!' game.
Hopefully our prominence has helped to raise awareness and all funds raised will help us to run our branch events. It was great to be working with Autism Guernsey demonstrating our co-operative working for autism causes in Guernsey.
NAS Halloween Party
We are holding our Halloween Party on Sunday 27th October from 2.30-5pm at Styx (Western Community Centre, St Peters) for children with families with a child with an autism spectrum condition/ADHD/other related SEN. We always welcome new families, so please do consider joining us for an informal opportunity to meet other people.
Children (and adults) are welcome to attend in fancy dress if they wish and we will have a face painter available. We will have the usual mix of bouncy castles, arts and crafts, Lego and toys available.
We will again serve hot dogs, crisps and cakes as these have proved very popular in the past.
Our book library will be available for browsing, borrowing and returns.
Please (please!) RSVP to email@example.com
or call/text 07781 122234 stating the number of adults and children who will be attending so that we know how many people to cater for.
This will be a free event but all contributions towards costs will be very gratefully received on the day, and if anyone is able to bring some cakes or biscuits they will be hugely appreciated.
St John Skills for Care Programme
We will be delivering the second in the series of autism seminars for families, which is all about sensory difficulties, in the first half of the autumn term.
Autism Seminars for Families are based on the highly successful help! programme that was developed by The National Autistic Society (NAS) in 2002. This was initially aimed at families of newly diagnosed school-age children with autism, and has developed over time to include seminars for parents with children with all ages and lengths of diagnosis, covering a wide variety of topics.
This seminar provides parents with an introduction to the sensory systems and sensory processing. It explores the differences in sensory processing that might be experienced by children with autism,. The seminar highlights the importance of understanding these needs and gives parents an opportunity to share strategies and approaches to help their child with their sensory needs.
Sensory processing differences in children with autism
Helping your child with their sensory needs
The workshop will be run over 2 weekday evenings between 7-9pm, and attendance at both sessions will be required. Spaces are limited.
Dates and venue will be confirmed ASAP, so watch out for upcoming email or keep an eye on our website/Facebook page. If you have not already registered your interest you can do so via email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Are you a Parent/Carer of an Anxious Child?
- Does you child worry about lots of different things or has lots of worries about going to school?
- Is your child unable to attend school because of their worry?
A new group is being set up so parents in similar situation’s can meet informally and chat, support one another, share knowledge and resources, provide information and listen to guest speakers.
Meeting on: Monday 16 September 2013
Thereafter every 3rd Monday in the month
At: The Mind Centre, Arsenal Road,
(left hand side opposite the old Arsenal Chip Shop further down from the fire-station)
For further information please e-mail Jon or Helen at email@example.com or telephone 07911 10 60 32.
Reflect Education Outreach Services
Reflect Education is a UK based school which offers outreach services. They are now offering services to Guernsey families and plan a visit to the island during the Autumn half term. They have initially proposed visiting for at least 2 days, spending a minimum of 2 hours but ideally half a day with each family to set up home programmes to help with behaviour, communication, feeding difficulties or other areas of difficulty.
For more information please contact Reflect Education via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01554 890796
Autism Friendly Private Music Lessons
Karen Le Normand is now able to offer music sessions where pre-school children can explore various sounds and percussion instruments including the harp and piano.
Karen has availability on Tuesday and Friday mornings (between 9.30 and 11.30am for 30 or 45 minute sessions) and can be contacted on 07781 128139 for more details.
Dare we mention the 'C' word! We just thought that we would give you advance warning about a couple of things...
Christmas Party - Sunday 15th December at Styx. More details to follow.
Christmas Cards - we will be selling NAS charity Christmas cards through the branch again this year, so if you are interested in purchasing some for yourself or could sell them on our behalf in your workplace then please watch this space. We will also be investigating opportunities to sell to the public, so if you know of any Christmas Fayres that may be suitable, or perhaps know that you will have a stall yourself and would be able to include our cards in your goods for sale then please let us know. Email email@example.com
Easy Fundraising - We continue to receive a quarterly cheque from easyfundraising as a result of shopping that is done via their portal. For every shop that you do using your favourite online websites a % of the value of your order is donated to our Branch at no extra cost to you- it really is that easy! It is quick and simple to sign up, and if you have not done so already, it would be great if you could take a minute or two to find out more before you do any online Christmas shopping!