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This information describes what I did during my period of three months placement at the Hillside Primary school Dundee, Scotland, total of 30 hours covered. Any report of the job will be described by the objectives set out for this project exercise. Hillside Primary is characterized by students with light autism, which is a disorder that affects the nervous system. A child with autism develops disorders, which are characterized by poor communication and cannot interact normally on social grounds. They tend to repeat the same thing always. This placement came well for me, and my coordinator approved this because of my humble nature and interest in children. Autistic children naturally require patience when being dealt with because they exhibit a slow tendency to respond to issues naturally (Educational Institute Of Scotland, 1918).

In this logbook, the major objectives of the project will be well spelt out and handled in detail. Even though, it is almost repetitive I have tried to summarize the details of the problems, which will be dealt with at hand. The issues dealt with, however, depict a clear picture of the structure and nature of this school with the autistic children and their responses to fun exercises, which is my main role in the placement. At the same time, the exercise will classify time periods, in which the exercises will be performed. It will also classify the elementary level of students with fun games to be introduced to them. Three sessions will be carried out in during this exercise and not necessarily of the same time duration. The activity will be carried out mainly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with one hour per session. There will be two sessions on each day with different classes. It will also spell out a clear role of my participation with students and also give feedback on the impact on my skills and experiences at the end of the exercise Fletcher, 1874).

My coordinator, Gareth Dailly, was readily available on the phone or via email if I had any questions to be answered.

1ST SESSION PLAN, INCLUDING EVALUATION, REFLECTION AND LINKS TO THEORY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS FIRST SESSION

The first session took place between 25/10/2011 to 29/11/2011. The session consisted of ten hours with children of both primary 1-4 and primary 5-7. The initial stage was to acknowledge autism as a disorder among children. In the plan, I had to devise mechanisms to determine the level of autism as a first step in order to identify the activities in which to introduce to the children. It is essential for an instructor to be compassionate and understand that children with autism are precious and can be taught and are crucial with regard to educational involvements. This will also strive to bring out the potential of kids with autism, which even though not always immediately visible, must be assumed and cultivated.

After identifying the level of autism, I divided the children into different groups so that I could be able to identify the responses from them as individuals. Dealing with smaller groups is easier than dealing with a large group. I had to reach out to them in a bid to assist them reach their potential. Furthermore, I had to talk to them directly and engage them in the various activities to get a personal touch and, if possible, create a warm atmosphere to nurture friendship. This was enhanced by obtaining personal information from the teachers on the nature and characteristics of the children. By so doing, I was able to identify the games, which they respond to easily and which create interest in them. All children suffering from autism should get access to extracurricular activities, like other peers not suffering from autism (Fairley and Paterson 1995).

The third part of this session plan will aim at identifying the variety of games that will appeal to these children. This will be easy because I will already have personalized myself with them and gotten to know them individually. The games will be easily identifiable and, therefore, a lot of time will not be wasted in investigating them. For instance, in the primary 1-4 class, the small children enjoyed colouring with crayons. Some children drew patterns and representations of their families, pets, and grandparents among others. Since colouring is repetitive and easy on the mind, many children enjoyed the exercise. This was evident from the squeals of laughter and playfulness.  

The first day of this session I introduced techniques to establish the responsive nature of non-verbal communication through eye contact, gazing and gestures. The aim of this exercise was to cultivate courage and comfort in the children. Since autism affects the social response and interaction, many kids suffering from autism are academically handicapped, and communication is hampered. This necessitates the need for implementing skills and acquisition of techniques, which would aid these children respond in an open-minded manner.

I then introduced toys to the children in separated groups of three, each in a bid to determine their group interaction response and their ability to share with others and give attention to others. The children’s response was intriguing, as all children engaged in activities on their own. Some of the toys were cubes, which children used to build castles and various shapes. All the children were brought in groups; however, they were involved individualistically. I noted that the children were attracted to these toys by virtue of their colours. This shows that the children are highly visual and can express themselves using objects, patterns and colours. The intensity of these colours varied differently with the children, as children would initially be attracted to the same colour, but of a lesser intensity and later drop it for a higher intensely coloured toy. These responses were mainly between classes of 1–4. The classes of 5–7 were a bit more active. The reports given by their teachers previously gave me an insight on the level of autism, and this was also seen from their reactions in these activities. The different levels of autism were identifiable in the children. The application of different tones in this session was used to trigger off different emotions in the children. They responded differently to these tones (Hm Inspectorate of Education (Scotland) 2003).

In the primary class of 5–7, I used symbols in a bid to identify their imaginative capabilities. I drew pictures on the board and directed them to copy the same pictures in their pieces of paper. The response was distinct as some children clearly identified with the drawings while others had absolutely no idea what the drawings were all about. Interestingly, there was a major distinction between the two different responses to these symbols.

From the first session, I realized that people dealing with children with autism need training on how to identify their problems in a bid to cope with them. The inability of these children to speak cohesively or express their emotions does not mean that they lack emotions. Autistic children are just like other children; however, they need additional care and protection.

MIDWAY SESSION PLAN, INCLUDING EVALUATION, REFLECTION AND LINKS TO THEORY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS MID-WAY SESSION

The midway session took place between 07/02/2012 to 27/03/2012 and consisted of fourteen hours. After finishing the first session, which was mainly to identify the needs nature and weaknesses of children with autism, I decided to make the second session more interactive. I undertook to play with the kids outdoor games in order to establish the coordination of their physical bodies in response to external stimuli. I also involved other children who do not suffer from autism in the outdoor games.

The purpose of this exercise is to determine, how well autistic children can emulate actions by the other non-handicapped children, and also identify the group affiliation with both sets of children. This session plan also involved calling in their parents and engaging both children and parents in indoor and outdoor activities. This was meant to identify the responses of these children when their parents are around in school. An interactive session was held with the parents, so that they let me know if there is a difference in behaviour around strangers, as opposed to when they are around their loved ones or people who care for them (Paterson 2009).

In a strange twist, I decided to swap parents to interact with children of other parents. This was directed towards establishing the reaction and examining how well these children adapt to new situations and whether they are sensitive to new surroundings and people.

I introduced a variety of games, which involved these children’s individual response for the betterment of the group’s success. One of the games was three blind mice game, which involves two teams, where one team has ribbons tacked at the back of their shorts. They first spread out and on command; the team without the ribbons tries to get the ribbons of the other team by chasing them around. With this game, I involved both children, who were not suffering from autism, and those who were autistic. The purpose was to identify their levels of understanding and emulating of what they see. The response was varied, as some responded slowly, while others lacked interest and withdrew to stay on their own, from the crowd. This also showed the levels of social development in different children with different levels of autism.

Involving the parents gave me an insight on the responses of autistic children towards their loved ones. The children, who were autistic, tended to lack the attachment compared to those who were non autistic, towards their parents. Creating and at the same time maintaining friendships seemed not to be easy with children suffering from autism. The children who were not suffering from autism seemed to enjoy their peers company intensively, compared to autism children. They also seemed to create friendships easily and identify with friends.

Communication was not smooth and even though they seemed to go with the flow their speech was hampered, and they could not express themselves fully. The use of body language was evident in an effort to bring out what they wanted to express. Body language was more common with those children suffering from autism than in healthy children. However, the non-verbal communication relayed by autistic children is not as clear as other kids. I also noted that some children were on the other edge. Whereas some were quiet and withdrawn, others displayed hyperactive tendencies. Others tended to concentrate on one thing for too long in a manner of being unaware of their surroundings. The coordination of such kids was not clearly defined. In these outdoor games, children displayed behaviour that was repetitive or restricted. For example, a kid can be digging at a spot for a long time without changing the activity and showing signs of unawareness of what he is doing at that moment; thus, being absent minded. Although some actions may not necessarily be a direct outcome of suffering from autism, such as self injury, some kids portrayed actions of injuring themselves without knowing. For example, a kid could be kicking at a hard surface, such as a wall, repetitively. I noted that more of the kids with autism had more of these tendencies than the other kids. However, as said earlier, this may not be directly related to the prime consequences of autism (Hm Inspectorate of Education (Scotland), 2003).

By the end of the mid-session, I had noticed that motor coordination and reflexes in autistic children is poor. This was mainly brought out, when they were engaged with play activities. Furthermore, autistic children seemed to be more at ease with their parents and guardians. This is as a result of their inability to make friends or socialize quickly. I realized that the presence of their parents and guardians made them comfortable and more participatory in games and activities. This signals the vital role of parents in the lives of autistic children.

FINAL SESSION PLAN, INCLUDING EVALUATION, REFLECTION AND LINKS TO THEORY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS FINAL SESSION

The final session was conducted from 24/04/2012 to 08/05/2012 and took place in six hours. The final session plan concentrated on how these children can be assisted to continue exploring their talents and in the journey of learning effectively. My main task was to address the principal of the school, so as to establish whether I could have a meeting with other teachers, in order to come up with ways in which we could assist the children effectively.

In this framework for assisting the children, I had to come up with ways in which the children can be helped by intervening early in their childhood development. I proposed programs that can help children cope early enough. My next course of action in the final session plan involved the family in planning for the child’s educational and social development. I proposed the creation of an enjoyable learning structure for these children, which will foster and speed healthy growth and development (Fairley and Paterson 1995). The teachers and parents decided to work together in this development.

It is also essential that the school engages its staff in specialized training for the handicapped children, and especially, in dealing with the children individually. This would give autistic children attention with the view that they also are capable of learning like other children. In addition, the teachers should be encouraged to have sessions with the parents so as to train them on handling their children with disability. Special programs should be advocated for them by the school administration. Teamwork between parents and teachers should be encouraged.

I gave suggestions on the implementation of structures, which will identify the child’s strengths and weaknesses at an early stage in order to tackle them. This will also require that the child is dealt with individually, in order to identify areas in which he may need increased attention; and if he has strengths, then these strengths can be emphasized to bring out the best of him. A system can be designed to monitor the growth and development pattern of the child, in order to establish progress, and if not, what can be done.

In this final session, I worked closely with the school administration, so as to reinforce and implement what I had planned. I met with the principal, whose reception was extremely welcoming. A board meeting was scheduled for one of the days that I was present. The meeting involved all the members of the teaching staff. Another meeting of non-teaching staff would be announced later. I brought up the issues at the staff meeting and was pleased to realize the cooperation that the teachers had.

We began by designing training programs for all members of staff. Another program was to be scheduled for the non teaching staff before engaging the parents, who would be informed, in due course. Each teacher was then assigned at least three students, which he was responsible for and was required to give feedback on the child’s development, on a quarterly basis. This attempt supposes that the teacher would liaise with the parents and inform the parents, when the training programs would be scheduled for them. The teacher will be required to have a cordial relationship with the parent.

Special programs were suggested for the children depending on the classes. The children will undergo specialized programs depending on their individual needs and their levels of autism. The early involvement of the children’s lives will help them develop socially. Identification of the children’s needs early in life will not automatically place them in classes for the handicapped; however, will help them deal with their disabilities in other areas of life in detail. The school will come up with extra curriculum activities to help the children be more active and interact with others who are not handicapped. Such activities should include tours, which will assist these children in identifying their surrounding and people around them. The interactive activities will also give children suffering from autism confidence because of mixing with people, now and then. The programs will not only help children develop socially but also academically because these programs will be incorporated into the curriculum (Great Britain, 1986).

Conclusion 

The placement to Hillside primary was a thrilling experience for me. I learnt a lot about children with autism since I had a chance to interact and relate with them. Children with autism can be identified at the early stages of their life. A child can be assisted if the symptoms are detected and dealt with immediately, in the early stages. A child with autism has equal rights to education, social facilities and privileges as other children; it is, therefore, essential that they are given attention, as it is a disorder which can be treated.

I have learnt to interact well with children with autism, which has expanded my knowledge on medical disorders in children. Moreover, the practice has created a sense of awareness in me, such that early detection of autism and related diseases is necessary. This will significantly enable me to deal with the children in a confident manner. The project has sharpened my communication skills and, due to my interest in children, it has broadened my knowledge and made me sensitive towards identifying children with exceptional needs. I have gained more experience in the art of gathering information from people through interviews and observing the children.

It was my delight to meet parents of kids suffering from autism. I realized that some parents had lost hope in their children ever becoming better. It was an absolute honour for me to meet parents, interact with them and share with news about their children’s development. Through my interactions with these parents, parents opened up and expressed their insecurities and fears. I was able to give encouragement to most of them and give them hope. This was a thrilling experience, and I would like to have another any time, should I have an opportunity to do so.

Code: Sample20

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