SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE
SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE
Individuals with autism have complex communication needs and generally require support to develop skills across the communicative domains, including social communication, comprehension and expressive communication.
At Giant Steps, our speech pathologists focus on developing all aspects of a student’s communication, recognising that comprehension and social communication provide an important foundation for future language development.
Speech pathologists form a part of a transdisciplinary team at Giant Steps and work with students within the context of the classroom, alongside teachers, educators and other therapists, to seamlessly integrate social and communication goals within the teaching and learning program and the students’ daily routines. In this way strategies for promoting student’s communication are supported by all members of the class team across the week resulting in better outcomes for students as there is a consistent approach in implementing strategies and expectations. The end outcome for students’ is a more meaningful application of their communication skills that spans across a range of real-life contexts.
Social reciprocity is one of the core deficits of autism, and not surprisingly one of the key areas in which our students have significant difficulty. Skills such as social initiation, joint attention, turn taking, social referencing, imitation and emotional regulation are key skills that underpin successful and meaningful interactions and expressive communication development. These aspects of communication are worked on simultaneously in authentic and meaningful interactions, and key programs – such as ‘play lessons’ – have been developed at Giant Steps to specifically support the social development of students with autism in a naturally playful environment. ‘Play lessons’ provide students with opportunities to develop skills through the use of motivating and fun activities called ‘hot spots’, that rotate daily. Some examples of regular hotspots at Giant Steps include big block construction (and demolition), live music and dancing, and pamper corner.