Saturday, August 2, 2014

Back to School - Giveaway!!!

Apologies for my long absence. I've been taking an extended sabbatical to be a Mom for the Summer. Slowing down to concentrate on my kids has been very relaxing.

So well over a month ago I saw a post on Facebook about "Back To School" kits on the excellent Therapics Facebook page. Therapics offers a range of visual aids and evidence based therapy materials designed to help children on the autism spectrum learn and develop through fun games and activities. These educational materials are great for kids with Autism,PDD-Nos, Aspergers as well as speech delay or other developmental delays.

Now, as a kid, I actively hated anything with a "Back To School" theme. Bookshops, department stores, uniform suppliers and shoe shops all seemed to conspire to distract from the joy of running around barefoot doing exactly what I wanted all summer.
I know now that it is a different story for parents, ALL parents. That many of you count the days until there is structure and yes, a bit of respite for everyone when school re-opens.
I saw a neuro-typical family in the pool this morning where the two eldest siblings were squabbling about who was pushing whom while the exasperated Mum explained to the Dad - "they've been like this ALL WEEK"

I'm actually enjoying my summer. As a committed multi-tasker I am finding it quite enjoyable to just focus on my teens and do what they want to do. Right now Grace wants to go and feed the ducks at Cabinteely again! 



So I will hand over to Phillipa from Therapics herself to explain what she is up to.

"A few years ago my sweet son took the big leap from a tiny, supportive preschool to starting mainstream school. At the time his entire vocabulary still numbered in

double digits, and I could tell you every one of the words he knew, because we had diligently and patiently taught him each one. He was only just beginning to grasp the concept of numbers - numerals 1 - 5 had taken well over 2 years of intensive ABA therapy before they sunk in. Although he longed to be with other kids, noise was a big challenge for him, and keeping up with full speed conversations was something we were still only aspiring to.

Although he was offered full time access to a shared SNA and maximum resource
hours at school, I still had serious concerns as to how he would possibly cope. And so I did the best thing I could possibly think of at the time - I went in to brainstorm with his new teacher what visual aids I could prepare to help him bridge the communication gaps. You see I’m by profession a graphic designer, and my son is a highly visual fella. Put these together and with the help of his teacher we developed an armoury of supports that both he and his teacher and SNA could use to improve their daily experience.




 This included a social story to help him anticipate starting school, a lesson schedule to help him transition from one activity to the next, a folder of classroom relevant jargon that the teacher might use, such as “line up” and “walk out” as well as words that he could be prompted to use, such as “help me please” and “go toilet”.









 

The final item was for communication with myself - a quick and easily completed form for the teacher to fill in detailing things she wanted us to know about his day, as well as vocab to work on and concepts that were being taught in class which we could support in his home therapy. It still blows me away that in both of his first two years his teachers filled these in daily - they made such a big difference and my gratitude and respect runs deep.




In the meantime I’ve created a little shop selling many of the visual aids I’ve developed for my son over the years, as well as some materials that others have approached me to make. My Starting School kit is now available for both the Irish and British school systems.


I was also approached by a teacher in the west of Ireland to do a translation of the pack into Gaeilge, and with the help of the lovely people at COGG (Commission for Eduaction in Gaeltacht and Gaelscoileanna) this is now available too!

Hopefully these items will help other children on the spectrum make an easier
transition into big school, I firmly believe that with the necessary support our little ones can surprise us all. 

You can find out more about my business here at: www.therapics.org, and the Starting School pack in particular here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/103094339/starting-school-in-ireland-pack?
 


Thanks to Lisa for sharing!"




Phillipa has offered a sweet giveaway of a kit to one lucky sharer/commenter on this blog post. I will make a list of all the shares, number them and get her to choose a number at the end of the 3rd week of August. So you can have it posted out in time for school. NB: Phillipa will ship anywhere including US and Australia, but if you win you have to choose the British or Irish version. 
 

10 comments:

Laura Clarke said...

What a GREAT idea! This will save a lot of people A LOT of time. Especially me. I'd love to win this and happy to suggest alterations for the Aussie version :)

Vicky Castle said...

My youngest starting " big school" on. 28th August this would be a super

Elbo said...

Would love to win this, great article.

Beck said...

I would love to win this to share with families in the Bendigo region

Stuart O'Mahony said...

fab idea...nervous this year for our little one changing schools.....a big step....would love to win this for her....well done lisa great article....:)

Lisamaree Dom said...

Sinead D and Paula MCG have also shared and entered but Google is stopping their comments. They shared via FB

popsie said...

Would love this for my work. Could really help x

mairead tallaght said...

Would love this ��

Diane crawford said...

Brilliant idea for our special little kids

Lisamaree Dom said...

I'm adding Candi R, Katy Mac, Mags Kennedy and Majella McDaid to draw as they shared on my FB page. I wrote a list of 1-13 then asked Phillipa to choose a number randomly without seeing list. She chose 12. So can Mairead from Tallaght please email lisa@graceapp.com as you win. All screen shots of the list are on my FB page.