A look into programs for individuals with ASD (Part 2)

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014


A GOOD program for individuals with special needs is one that is sustainable throughout his or her life. A parent often wonders what his or her child will do after they stop going to school or when they already reach the end of the road and the child can no longer proceed to high school or college level. Should they be left at home doing nothing? A good program therefore should be able to prepare him to be independent and somehow productive during older years.

Transition Education Program

As mentioned, the Transition Education Program (TEP) includes 5 components namely: Applied Academics, Life Skills, Community Living, Leisure and Recreation and the Pre-vocational Training Program.

The Applied Academics program aims to develop the students’ knowledge and skills in math, science, social studies and communication arts and provide learning opportunities to apply these in practical and relevant activities of daily living. Some parents might get discouraged that their son or daughter cannot tackle academic work, but you see, we are not talking about chemistry or algebra here. We are talking about simple math that will help them identify currency and their value so that when they ride a jeepney or pay for a snack, they would know how to handle money and even count their change. We are talking about introducing them to measurements such as weights that would perhaps help them cook a certain recipe by following exact measurements of ingredients. We are talking about simple science topics such as the weather, heights and lenths or such subjects that would help them distinguish for example what is dangerously hot or cold or normal temperature. We are not talking about literature or grammar, rather, a good program that will teach them how to express their needs and wants in whatever form of communication they can, whether orally or through pictures and without resorting to crying or throwing a tantrum to get what they want. And there are countless ways to teach them academic subjects that are applicable in their daily lives.

The Life Skills class aims to enhance essential knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for the students to achieve an optimum level of independence in personal and home management. Collaborative effort with the students’ family is emphasized to promote carryover of skills at home. There are many parents who would like to enroll their child in purely academic classes but they are missing out the more important lessons that teach children to develop personal grooming like independently combing their hair every day, or brushing teeth on their own, cutting fingernails without assistance, or cleaning ears without hurting themselves. Of course it is not easy to teach them life skills in just one sitting. Other children with special needs take a long time to develop independence and self-reliance and they would benefit more from a program that employs individualized strategies to maximize the child’s development. Another thing to consider is that the child should also be able to do simple household chores like sweeping the room, keeping his surroundings clean, folding his own clothes and the like. Other parents feel guilty in letting their child do household work (“kawawa naman sila”). It should be emphasized that skills taught in school should be consistently carried over or should be done at home to sustain mastery, independence and self-reliance. (To be continued)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 30, 2014.

Opinion

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