Integrating children with autism – examples of good practice
MIHĂILĂ LIZETTA and TĂNASE ALINA,
Support teachers at Special Secondary School Saint Nicholas, Bucharest
“Let’s not educate our children for today’s world. This world will no longer exist when they are big and nothing allows us to know how their world will be. Then let’s teach them how to adapt.” (Maria Montessori)
Throughout time, in our psycho-pedagogical activity, as support teachers, we had the opportunity to interact with children of all ages, with or without special educational demands, with desires, ideals, frustrations or unfulfillments, or fears, insecurities or on the contrary, fighters and ambitious.
Regardless of all this, of their diagnostic, deficiency grade, their roll in the school environment, their birth family, the conditions in which they live and regardless of age they love to play and perform non-formal activities, this is their common point, the binder which reunites and makes them happy.
Therefore we choose PLAYING, because the objective is to develop the verbal communication, an important step in socialization and group integration. But, we don’t forget the ,,reward”, the importance of this. Each activity will have a success with a TOKEN!
The importance of game in integration
From the age of 3 years, playing becomes fundamental activity, an excellent way of intellectual, moral, aesthetic and physical development, satisfying the child’s tendencies of knowledge, creativity and independence. Like work, pre-school playing begins to be goal-oriented, involve efforts to achieve a result, be accompanied by the joy of creation and success, impose rules and coordination of group actions.
Doru Vlad Popovici says that the introduction of the game, as a method, is all the more important as deficient children, especially the institutionalized, have fewer opportunities to play. “Solitary play only makes a small contribution to the development of these children, and only by playing in group they can get the stimulation needed for optimal development. (S. Ionescu – “L’intervention en defficience mentale”, Pierre Mardaga , Ed. Bruxelles, 1997)
Once a child with autism will be stimulated through play, his vocabulary, ability to express and language expressivity will be enrich.
Socialization involves learning through interaction with others, social models and rules.. The goals we are pursuing are:the practice of social rules -understanding, generalizing and performing instructions (collective, individual),-involvement and realization of activities together with other children; engaging in -interactive games;-initiating communication and game play;-developing the ability to wait for a game;-learning functional gestures for the purpose of communicating;
Methods of therapeutic intervention:
In order to increase the level of verbal communication of children with autism, we have applied various working methods, sometimes combining them.
1.GAME WITH MARIONETS
2. THE ROLE GAME
3. DIDACTIC GAME
4. JOINT ASSOCIATIONS WITH OBJECTS AND NAMES
5.COGNITIVE STIMULATION THROUGH NON-FORMAL ACTIVITIES
6.STIMULATING PSYCHOMOTRICITY through GAMES
In order to increase the level of communication of a child with autism, communication through rehearsals and ludo therapy, as well as puppet play is needed.
Children with autism, to solve a teaching task need short messages / sentences as well as oral messages accompanied by images;
The puppet can become a reason, this being the main character when we started a game of any kind.
In the same time, the shadow s role is very important, because the child aways has someone behind him, someone that can help all the time.
A child with autism, integrated into a main school needs
– curricular adaptation,
-adapted working methods and evaluation,
-a companion/ a shadow,
– a support and cooperation among others, who can help and guide him / her to engage in activities.