In our blog posts this month we’ll be focussing on creating environments and settings that best support people with autism / autistic people.
But before we begin to plan out strategies to support a person, we need to know ABOUT the person. Who are they? What are their characteristics? What makes the person tick? What do they find challenging in life?
Gathering this information is absolutely vital to making sure that any strategy you use is going to have the best chance of success. So where do you find this information?
Our starting point is always with the person. As much as we can, find out from them what they like and what they don’t like. Find out what bothers them or worries them. Find out what really motivates them to engage in the world around them.
In a school setting, we also begin with the student’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP), or any student profiles that already exist. These documents should provide a good overview of the person you are supporting – who they are, what their needs are, and what strategies might have been used in the past.
In any setting – school, community, workplace or home – it is important to look at the person’s reports or summaries from professionals (eg. speech therapist, occupational therapist, psychologist, paediatrician etc). These reports will most likely provide recommendations for support, or recommendations for further therapy or goals that are being worked towards.
From here, it’s also important that we look to parents and family members for their input. The insight that family members can give us in understanding the person we support is invaluable. They know the person from a perspective that we as educators, employers or support staff never will, and it’s often the small detail in the information that parents or family members provide that really makes the difference in how we best support the person.
Taking the time to understand the person you support is vital to success, so be sure to try and do it really well. The more thorough you are, the better you will be equipped in choosing the strategies you use for support.
Share with us! How do you get to know the people you support?
Please also feel free to contact us if you require assistance in information gathering, creating profiles or interpreting professional recommendations.