Introduction to a school situation
The decision to introduce children to a school-type educational setting always depends on the skills each child displays at the start of the intervention programme or the skills that he or she displays throughout the intervention.
In order to be able to introduce the child into a school setting, we always recommend that the child has already acquired a series of skills. Some of these are, for example:
- Control over sphincters in the area of personal care and autonomous habits.
- Language comprehension skills, such as following simple instructions and recognising certain objects.
- Staying seated to perform a task for a minimal time and being able to manage certain aspects of play (such as jigsaw puzzles, fitting shapes into slots and so on).
- Some academic skills such as colouring with different materials.
- Complete or almost complete absence of inappropriate behaviours in the form of temper tantrums or aggressive behaviours.
In the introduction to the school setting we first check to see that the child is capable of generalizing habits already acquired in a less structured setting (featuring children, more noise, more natural instructions and so on). The objective of this is to ensure that the child is able to get the most out of his or her time with the group, just like any typically-developing child.
Nonetheless it is the parents who ultimately take the decisions, with our guidance. They are the ones who choose the school. If there is no school, we help them to find the ideal context for this integration. Sometimes the questions focus on what type of education is ideal, ordinary or special. Neither context is better than the other per se, since the best context will be the one that can attend and adapt itself to the needs of the child. One decisive factor is that, whatever the context, it ought to possess a sufficient degree of competence that the child will emerge better off.
In the process of integration an educational specialist accompanies the child to the school with the aim of smoothing the transition to the classroom routines and fostering socialization with the other children. School attendance is gradually increased over time. For example, there could be children who start their integration with 30 minutes a day, twice a week... until they achieve complete integration. Meanwhile the educational specialist who accompanies them will withdraw little by little, where possible. The school hours when the child is supported by an educational specialist are included within the total hours of weekly treatment. The parents, teachers and the Foundation staff keep a close eye on the child’s progress at school so as to maximize the chances of success and minimize the risk of being excluded from the group.