Over the course of the summer holidays Barney is undergoing some intensive early intervention, provided by the Autism Intervention Team. ‘F’, the therapist he has been seeing over the last few months is organising this. Barney will be going to see a support worker weekly at the Autism Centre in Newry, whilst F works with us at the same time, in a room with one of those one-way mirrors. Then the support worker will be coming out weekly to the house as well to work with him. Added to that his Occupational Therapy appointments and he has quite a packed summer!
A lot of the work seems to be based on organising schedules and routines. The idea is that these will calm him and help to reduce his anxiety. They have made up all these laminated schedules for him to work from, based on a Spongebob theme, as that’s something that he really likes. We have to schedule the entire day, from breakfast through to bedtime. Every time it is time for him to move onto the next task, I give him a Spongebob token and he sticks it to his chart and takes the next activity off his schedule to complete. Each day he has three therapy cards to complete as well. The therapies he can chose from each day are on the ‘Choice Board’. Each time he completes one he gets a star, and if he manages 3 stars a day for a week then he gets a surprise. Therapies range from deep massage, pressure therapy, deep hand and wrist massage, trampolining, resting under weighted blankets, to simply time out in a quiet place.
Our hallways is fast becoming a notice board for all things laminated and velcro’d. It’s actually not that easy to get used to. Having one of the most unorganised women in the world as his mother doesn’t aid the process either! We did half a day of the schedule today and then I totally forgot to keep updating it, and it wasn’t until bedtime that we realised we’d neglected it. Doh!