Yesterday I had the pleasure to be a helping parent in my son's Autism preschool. I've wanted to help out before but I've not had the time until now, and I'm very grateful I was able to help.
It started with Warm Up, where my son (and other students) walk up some stairs, down a slide, jump on the trampoline, and finish up by checking their schedule. My son didn't do too well here, because he was afraid I was going to leave him there. Normally my son works well in the class, but he's very clingy to me and really wanted to have a full day just playing with me.
When finished, we worked at Table Toys, where he showed me he is able to remove parts from his toy and put things back. His teacher told me that he is the only one that has figured out how to do this, and she was impressed. I told her I wasn't surprised, as he takes our vacuum cleaner apart at home, and then puts it back together again.
Once finished, he had his potty time, which is part of his schedule. It's all part of his potty training, which they are excited about. So many students this year are being potty trained, and it's exciting. If you have an Autistic child, you probably know how difficult it can be to potty train them. If you don't, just imagine that your child isn't potty trained at 3-4, but rather 5-10. Part of it is because they don't tell you they want to go potty, and part of it is because they are so involved in their current activity that they don't want to interrupt it by going potty.
Next was more Table Toys until Circle Time. Circle Time was interacting with each student with song, learning their Letters, Numbers, and Colors. Things that are expected from Preschool and prepares the children from Kindergarten. Once done, they had their sensory activities, occupational therapy, work on fine motor skills, etc. My son loves going to the sand table, and had a blast. He then did well with his glue and art, though he preferred to spread the glue on his arm (so he had something to peel off). Then he spent time on the swing, which he absolutely loves.
Then he had potty time again, and they played outside with the other preschool class which is either mixed or a neurotypical class. They all had a blast, though my son tried to run out through the gate to get me to chase him. I know, because he stopped just outside the gate and giggled. Once done, he had snack time, and I got to see how they use his picture exchange to get him to ask for things. I think Jonathan wasn't too excited about this because now I force him to use the pictures as home. Once done, they had some more play time until their final circle time, and we headed for home.
It was a great experience, because I got to see Behavioral learning in action, with Environmental applications and Contstructivist methods being used to help the children build on their successes. While my State has a number of short-comings (like not viewing Autism as a medical condition), the Granite School District has a very well staffed and well managed Autism program for Preschool. The teachers and Aides are excellent, and I'm grateful for their work.