The day in the life of an Autistic child in Long Day Care

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition which affects how people make sense of the world and how they communicate and interact with others. People with ASD may experience behavioural and sensory issues, along with difficulties in social interactions, communication and repeated or restricted interests or behaviours.

Here at Cire Services, we support children, teenagers and families who may have ASD or are supporting a family member with ASD. We have students with autism at our school, Cire Community School, and in our pre-accredited courses at Cire Training; we provide relief to carers of children with autism through Cire In Home Care; and we have children who attend our long day care and after school care programs at Cire Children’s Services who have been diagnosed as on the Autism Spectrum.

Whilst understanding of ASD has come a long way, many people still have misconceptions regarding Autism. With understanding and greater awareness, we can break down social barriers and support those living with or affected by ASD. The following was written by Lysa Smart, the director of Cire Children’s Centre, Yarra Junction campus, from the viewpoint of a day in the life of an autistic child and how their view of the world can differ.

I have ASD and this is my day…

My day begins with routines and familiar guardians and family before I head off to long day care.

Upon arrival at long day care I quickly scan the room to check for my friends, familiar educators and experiences that I am familiar with.

I am very sensitive to changes in my environment and when I notice these changes it can make me feel like I’m not in control. When I don’t have control I become very upset and can become aggressive towards everyone in my environment.

Sometimes I don’t like loud noises so when the room gets busy this can be upsetting. I may make my own noises because I like to experiment with how my voice sounds.

My friend Cheryl in the kitchen knows that I like my food served in a special way and it must be the same way every day!

When I become engaged in experiences in my room my senses become heightened and if I feel uncomfortable with the texture I may not want to join in, especially if it feels funny or makes me messy.

I also like to hide in my environment because it’s how I cope if I have no one to help me and make me feel safe.

Sometimes you can redirect me to things I am interested in and this will help bring me back to the green zone, but I need your help to achieve this.

I normally have a very long day so please remember that I don’t do these things to make you angry, I do them because I don’t know how to stop, this is my way of asking for help.

All of these things may apply to me or some may apply to other friends with Autism, we are all different.

And the following is another viewpoint of a day in the life of an autistic child:

Lots of children with Autism have a special interest; I have had an interest in birds for a long time.

My bird lives in my Pocket

Wow what does he eat?
He doesn’t eat anything

Why doesn’t he eat anything?
Because he’s not real

Can I meet your bird?
No he’s tiny.

Ok maybe another time I can meet your bird.

(Ten minutes later)

Here is my bird

What is your bird’s name? I have forgotten.
He hasn’t got a name he is just bird.

(Sitting on the table is a small porcelain bird sitting next to the child)

Look my bird is missing his head.

What happened?
I didn’t like him anymore. He wasn’t doing what I wanted him to do.

Ok, does he need to go to the hospital?
Yes can we put him in a box?

What size box do you think we need?
Only a small one as he doesn’t have a head anymore.

I feel comforted by having my bird with me.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects children in many different ways and as educators we provide support based on those individual needs.

If you would like to join this rewarding industry Cire Training offers Certificate and Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care – now taking enrolments for semester 1 2017.

For further information on Cire Community School an alternative to secondary school call 1300 835 235.

For further information on Cire Children’s Services call 5967 2776 Yarra Junction or 9736 1918 Mt Evelyn.

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