Tag Archives: Childcare

How some pre-school homework can help families of children with autism

Thank you to Gina Davies for our ‘Back To School’ blog.

With the new school term just around the corner, acclaimed autism practitioner, Gina Davies, offers some practical advice and tips for parents of children with autism.

Starting school is a rite of passage for children but for parents of those with autism it’s a major hurdle. There are many new things for children to cope with such as classrooms, uniform, assembly and new faces. For parents it is a new set of people they must trust to understand and support their child. It can feel overwhelming and anxieties begin to run high. It can be tempting to wish you could stick with what you know and avoid change, but it is important to give school the best shot even though it may feel stressful.

Parents can do certain things to ease the level of change their children will face and build confidence and understanding of some of the basics. The practice builds reassuring familiarity and establishes routines and structures that will help everyone hold their nerve on first days, good days and more tricky ones.

School uniforms can be a nightmare for children with sensory issues but it is important in many schools. Buy clothes early, wash them frequently to remove any crisp feeling and wear it in a bit. Get the wary child to handle the uniform by getting them to put it into the laundry or move it to get aGina Daviest a familiar T-shirt. Practice wearing the uniform for short periods whilst doing something your child finds fascinating to distract them and practice changing into ‘home clothes’ so the child knows this will happen at the end of the school day.

If a child is enrolled in school dinners, make sure they know how to handle cutlery and aeroplane style dishes if these are used. Help by practicing clear up routines, such as putting dirty plates on the side and cutlery in the washing up bowl. With packed lunches, practice using the lunch box, not just on picnics but also at the table learning how to open containers or packaging.

If a child has significant dietary issues, such as a limited diet that does not include the desired five portions of fruit and veg a day, make the school aware of this serious problem and no amount of popping a carrot in will change it. Schools with healthy eating policies may need help understanding this is an autism related problem rather than a parental preference for feeding their child toast cut into triangles, crusts and sizes matching exactly!

If a child struggles with noise, dinner and playtimes can be a concern so practice dealing with head phones or plugging your fingers into your ears.

If these strategies form part of everyday life at home they are much easier for children to use in more demanding social situations. The problem can’t be removed but it can be dealt with so that children can take part without stress levels getting too high.

Practice things like holding hands and lining up, how to take coats off and hang them up and how to understand words like assembly or dinner hall, when earlier the same place was used for PE. School vocabulary is often different but it can be worked out beforehand and pictures are helpful aids for those who need more visually supported communication.

It helps if parents prepare a simple outline for the school about their child, one A4 page supplied in liberal quantities. The basic information needed is a smiley photo at the top followed by three things the child likes, eg: The computer, painting without an overall, riding bikes; three things they don’t like, eg: Turning the computer off, sharing with others, loud noises; and what helps when things are difficult, eg: It helps if you are quiet when I am upset and give me time to calm down. This approach demonstrates a practical commitment to the home-school communication that is so important in the longer term.

There are many other things that can also be done before term starts, such as driving to and from school regularly and calmly pointing out the school, and practicing getting up at school time for aGina Davies week before so day one isn’t a stressful rush. It’s about practicing some of the basics so children are not faced with too many complicated social rules and expectations. 

Parents need to think practical and positive and be prepared, at the end of the day, for a weary child who will need calories in and peace and quiet as new routines become established. Parents of autistic children invest hours of thought and effort into their choice of schooling and with some home based ‘rehearsals’, school doesn’t have to feel like stepping into the unknown for children.

Gina is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist who turned her passion for communication development into practical and joyful intervention strategies for parents and professionals dealing with autism. She has worked with hundreds of autistic children in schools, nurseries and residential settings, and directly with parents, carers and families. Find out more at http://www.ginadavies.co.uk/ or follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ginadaviesautism.


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Childcare Costs now make it Unaffordable For Most Mums To Return To Work ~ What’s On 4 have a Brand New Solution…!

What’s On 4 brings you the opportunity to run your own work-from-home business with the Award Winning “junior” What’s On 4 websites and Baby Expo Events www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk, www.whatson4littleones.co.uk, www.whatson4schoolkids.co.uk and www.whatson4kidsparties.co.uk

Franchise Profile (2)With recent news of childcare costs being prohibitive to mothers being able to go out to work, it will be welcome news to many mums that What’s On 4 have now launched their regional businesses for mums to work-from-home!  The opportunities are ideal for mums looking to get back into work and running a business from home.

Marilyn Bradshaw and Bev O’Sullivan are leading the way in creating flexible working opportunities for mums across the UK by expanding the very successful What’s On 4 brand of websites!

Our family of What’s On 4 websites has been bringing information about local activities, clubs, classes and events, catering for all age groups from newborns to over-60’s, for over seven years now, since their creation 7 years ago by What’s On 4 founder Sam Willoughby.

Now with over 75,000 visitors each month to our What’s On 4 sites, over 50,000 subscribers, and over 50,000 social media fans, these websites are immensely popular with adults, parents, grandparents and carers.  What’s more is that these businesses are about to be launched as regional businesses across the UK.

As working mums themselves, Marilyn and Bev understand the need for home-based business opportunities and this is a major driving force for them.  Marilyn has two boys under the age of six and in the past 2 years has already taken the UK by storm with What’s On 4 Me (www.whatson4me.co.uk) – the adult “arm” of the websites.  As Master Franchisee she has provided many mums with part-time, flexible working opportunities.

Baby Expo LogoMarilyn says “Being a mum and running a National business from home is the most perfect combination I could imagine.  Having already developed 12 local business owners across the UK for What’s On 4 Me I am completely driven to do the same for our What’s On 4 “Juniors” business. These opportunities give the flexible working arrangement that many families need these days.”

Joining forces with Bev O’Sullivan, mum of three children under 10, means that they can quickly expand the “Junior” websites www.whatson4littleones.co.uk, www.whatson4schoolkids.co.uk and www.whatson4kidsparties.co.uk, including the extremely successful and popular BabyExpo Events www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk to create these desperately needed work-from-home opportunities.

Marilyn Accepting AwardBev says “Since coming on board with the What’s On 4 Team by running South Yorkshire What’s On 4 Me, my work life balance has changed dramatically for the better.  To now be able to run the children’s side of the business of What’s On 4 gives me the unique ability to also offer this lifestyle to others – and run a successful business.”

Marilyn and Bev have a wealth of business accolades between them including Awards for Best New Business Idea, North East Woman Entrepreneur Finalist and Best Brand Winner to name just a handful.

What’s On 4 “Juniors” will benefit from their combined entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen and drive the growth of the What’s On 4 family of websites across the UK – creating dozens of flexible work positions all across the UK.

Interest has already been registered for many of the local What’s On 4 business regions and discussions are underway with potential candidates.

However ~ DON’T MISS OUT!! If you feel that you would like more information about running What’s On 4 in your region, including the availability and cost, then contact Marilyn Bradshaw, 0121 288 1228, marilyn@whatson4.co.uk for more information!

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