Teaching and learning
It is important to keep the curriculum appropriate and relevant to Ciarán and ensure that it is enjoyable as well as practical and applicable to his life as a young adult. The school is committed to providing a curriculum that best prepares students for adult life. Ciarán’s learning plan was driven by his IEP goals and these were incorporated into his classroom activities. His goals will change over time as the skills and learning outcomes move towards helping him become a more independent adult.
As Ciarán is a non-reader/writer the curriculum was adapted to Ciarán’s learning style through the use of visual and tactile materials. For Ciarán’s learning we focussed increasingly on functional aspects of the curriculum and adapted it so that he is learning new skills and that these skills can be applied to his everyday life and life beyond the school. We used the TEACCH programme for timetables, schedules and adapted books to personalise them for his learning. We had social stories for behaviour and visual prompts were displayed throughout the classroom and school.
His matching tasks which were previously hand-over-hand on paper now became sock matching, cutlery matching, 3D colour matching tasks and velcro letter matching tasks. The T-Tap assessment kit (TEACCH) is very helpful in assessing the skills that students have and those that need to be addressed. It also provides tasks and checklists that can be easily replicated for your classroom.
The use of task boxes with fine motor and academic tasks led to certain independence for Ciarán as to up to that point he had always been handed his work to complete at his desk. The task boxes meant that he chose the task that he wished to complete – matching numbers, letters of his name, sequencing steps for teeth brushing are some examples.
Ciarán’s learning took us out and about into the community, i.e. shopping trips, credit union visits, diner visits and trips to the theatre and cinema. He learned to carry his own money and pay for items independently. He also began a showering programme which involved appropriate videos regarding hygiene, social stories and a visual schedule which he followed whilst showering.