Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Sat, 2009-11-21
Caithness Early Years Autism Centre (CEYAC) opened in August 2000 in Wick.
The Purpose of CEYAC
Its purposes are to directly provide, or support the education of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from the ages of 4 to 8 across the county of Caithness. It was created because of the desire, whenever possible, to educate children with autism in their own local community. Children with autism have a particular way of acquiring new knowledge and skills and CEYAC uses a visual and structured approach to accommodate this.
Some ASD children come to the centre daily and other children come weekly, being educated for the rest of the week in their local primary school. There are also some children who do not come to the centre at all. They are educated in their local primary school and CEYAC staff support the local school staff in an outreach role as required. When it is appropriate children who come full time to CEYAC are slowly and gently individually integrated into their local school with adult support.
Problems Experienced by Autism Sufferers
People with autism experience difficulties in three areas. They lack social skills finding it harder than others to mix with people, to take turn and to share. They can be obsessive and ritualistic, finding it hard to cope with unexpected changes. Thirdly they very rarely are able to enter into imaginative play (e.g. doctors and nurses, pokemon and so on) as other children around them frequently do.
How CEYAC Helps
Therefore CEYAC aims to provide an environment which appears to be safe and secure for the children, where they know the plan for the day (told through pictures), distractions are minimised and they are told of ‘new’ things (such as a workman coming in) in advance. The academic curriculum is taught in a structured way which includes repetition of familiar tasks to encourage the development of confidence and independent working. New ideas and skills are taught visually and demonstrated as the children find it more difficult if they are communicated primarily through words. We also try to develop their social and sharing/turn taking skills through games, through the staff using everyday toys to play with them and then with other children in controlled situations which they can cope with. When playing with toys the children often have to be shown how to play with them and initially they often copy what they see others doing.
Caithness Early Years Autism Centre (CEYAC) c/o Pulteneytown Academy Miss L Wark, BA
Tel: 01955 609424, +44 1955 602 649
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