Nine year old Charlie was introduced to our School Aged Therapy Service late last year. Charlie’s goal was to develop his confidence to speak in social situations. As with many children and adults who have Autism, Charlie had difficulty reading other’s body language and recognising the emotions of friends and family. Charlie worked with his Key Therapist to increase his social skills in a number of settings. Over time his confidence developed and Charlie began to practice some of these skills at school with his peers.
Prior to beginning with our School Age therapy team, Charlie’s mum reported that “he barely speaks at home and it can be like pulling teeth to get him to engage”. However recently, Charlie’s therapist and mum were both “jumping with joy” because Charlie had his first ever argument with his brother. Charlie’s mum reported that Charlie was able to express himself in a way he had never done before and said “it was a real back and forth argument, using appropriate tone of voice and intonation”. She was ecstatic!
Charlie’s therapist describes his’ achievement as a team effort. His therapist works in collaboration with Charlie’s teacher to integrate therapy goals into his individual education plan so strategies can be implemented across his school day. Charlie is starting to generalise his new skills at school and he is starting to make new friends.
In addition to Charlie’s therapy sessions, he has also attended Fit Kidz—one of our many school age therapy social skills groups. The groups are run either after school or during school holidays. Fit Kidz participation aims to build upon current fitness levels, enabling children to participate confidently in physical activity, including recreational activities at home, school and in the community. Developing social skills is also a component of Fitkidz with the opportunity to practice being in a group, team work, flexibility and coping with losing. For Charlie, the combination of therapy, attending a group program and a supportive school environment has led to a huge boost of confidence along with greatly enhanced communication and social skills.
*Stock image used to protect the family’s privacy