Our specialised classes for children with autism are funded by the Home Tuition Grant. Children must qualify for this grant in order to attend these classes.
In the class we have 6 children with 4 teachers, and children alternate between small group and 1:1 sessions, with time for play, social skills and activities. All of our teaching is within an ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) framework, incorporating our own CLEM curriculum, which is based on Montessori, Primary school and Aistear and Siolta curricula.
ABA is the science of behaviour change. In practical terms, it means that we constantly take data on your child’s learning and behaviour, and make changes where necessary. You may have heard of terms like positive reinforcement, which is the cornerstone of everything we do at Hope. This means we reward good behaviour, thus teaching the children what we expect from them, and constantly encouraging them. Our classes provide an enthusiastic and positive environment for children with ASD, with all the supports they need but also with a focus on independence.
All children in our ASD class undergo a thorough assessment of their skills and difficulties. With the results of this, we will meet with all parents to discuss target for your child’s IEP. These are the goals we will work on for the year, and are individual to each child. The structure of the IEP is in line with the Primary School Curriculum, making the transition to school easier.
Each child will have both a group teacher and a 1:1 teacher as per the alternating schedule above. All parents will have a meeting with their child’s teacher at the end of every half term to discuss their child’s progress on these goals. The teachers then rotate for the next term so the children can get used to different people.
Sometimes children with autism can display challenging behaviour, often due to frustration while trying to communicate their needs and wants. If we are concerned about a behaviour we have seen, we will let you know and arrange a meeting to discuss this and why it may be happening. Both parents and the teachers will complete a Functional Assessment Interview which will be analysed along with other data to determine the function of the behaviour. We will then put in place a Behaviour Support Plan which outlines the supports the child needs and all the teaching strategies in place to show them a more appropriate behaviour.
We continue to monitor how often the behaviour occurs to make sure that our intervention is working. As much as we can, we fade out the supports if they are not needed anymore.