At our First Steps for Autism therapy program, one small boy named Cong comes in through the door and greets a group of therapists with a happy “Hi”. Mum, Amanda, is dismissed and Cong is ready for action and learning.
But it wasn’t always that way. Toward the end of last year Cong was fraught with anxiety, especially about leaving Mum. It seems that a world beyond Mum and Dad was envisaged as threatening. How could Mum leave him there! Cong’s parents, along with those therapists, are now delighted to tell how life has changed for Cong.
Emeline, Cong’s Key Therapist, relating the many ways that Cong is making great progress, points to what she believes is the greatest achievement—his newfound confidence to separate from Mum and engage with other children. When he first joined the Association’s First Steps program Cong would continually ask for Mum, become increasingly upset in a room with other children and insist on leaving. Despite all of those early anxieties, Cong knew he was in a good place. Emeline tells how, even during Cong’s first week at the centre, when Amanda came to pick him up he would take her to every room where he had been that day and show her all the activities he had engaged in—early signs that Cong would surely become a Little Star!
Mum’s appreciation of Cong’s progress through First Steps:
“We enrolled our son in the First Steps for Autism program in term four last year, primarily to address separation anxiety and build his confidence in trusting others before the commencement of Kindy. We were all extremely anxious at how he would cope but within a few sessions he was settling into the program really well. The staff was very welcoming, knowledgeable and organised which enabled him to trust them and for them to assist with his needs. Our transition to Kindy this year went very smoothly and he continues to attend First Steps or “Little School” as it is known in our house, once a week to continue learning new skills and building his confidence. He has certainly come a long way in only a few terms.”
Sharing his new experiences
Our therapy programs are best-practice and founded on a wide body of research on Autism. The research demonstrates that children who participate in the programs make significant gains in their skill development and school participation.
Cong continues to demonstrate how well he can participate and is embracing new experiences and striving to share his experience with those he loves.
*Stock image used to protect the family’s privacy