The Autism Early Learning Program is an intensive program for kindergarten-aged children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and very high needs.
What is the Autism Early Learning Program?
Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder have difficulties in making sense of the world around them.
This affects their:
- Communication, social skills and behaviour; and,
- Ability to play and learn.
Some children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder develop obsessions and rigid routines and have great difficulty with change. They may feel overwhelmed in noisy, active environments – such as kindergarten or childcare.
The Autism Early Learning Program (AELP) is an intensive small group program for children who:
- Have an autism diagnosis (or one pending).
- Are 4 years of age by the 30th April in the year they attend AELP.
- Have significant challenges in day to day living; and,
- Are not attending a mainstream kindergarten program.
AELP is held in a kindergarten-like environment with a small number of children. It is a specialised program designed to provide:
- Practical strategies for families in understanding, managing and teaching their young child.
- Teaching in a range of functional life skills; and,
- Peer support for families.
What happens during AELP sessions?
During AELP sessions children are assisted to do a range of physical activities to reduce their fears and broaden their experiences. They are encouraged to engage with the world around them and complete activities that require planning and concentration. Independence in daily activities such as eating, dressing and toileting is also encouraged.
Communication skills are also a focus of AELP, with children taught to use words, signs and picture symbols to interact with others. Structured social experiences are also practiced to help prepare the children to live with their families in their local community.
AELP has a high adult to child ratio and is staffed by a speech therapist, occupational therapist and/or an early intervention teacher.
Family participation is a vital aspect of AELP. This program can only be effective if families make a commitment to attend regularly and participate in planning sessions, and to ensure that their child regularly attends the program.
How do I find out more?
For more information about AELP contact the Gateways Early Childhood Intervention Services Manager on 5221 2984 or via Contact Us.