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Learning Buddies programme stories 2020-01-30

“Shopping at the convenience store”

On this day, our therapists introduced convenience stores to the little buddies. Apart from explaining the products sold in a convenience store, we designed a role-play game for the buddies to learn about the work of a cashier and how to buy things at a convenience store. The buddies transformed into customers, excitedly picked their favourite snacks and drinks, and then queued up to the cashier. At the end, the shelf was emptied, and the buddies were fully loaded with the joy of shopping!

“An obstacle course”

The little buddies took part in an obstacle course where they had to cross different obstacles and to deliver a ball to a basket at the finish point. This game not only trained the buddies’ limb coordination and flexibility, but also enhanced their concentration and social interaction. The first buddy had to grab a ball and jumped into two hula hoops. Then, picked up a coloured hoop and put it onto a cone. After that, threw the ball into the basket, and finally returned to the starting point and high-fived the next buddy. Everyone was very excited and tried hard to complete each item. Through this game, the buddies have learnt to encourage their peers as well!

“Cat Catching Mice”

Mass games can help increase the buddies’ interest in playing with peers and train their social skills. One day, our therapist played a cat catching mice game with the buddies. While the therapist was pretending to be asleep, the buddies moved towards the therapist and stole the cheese nearby. The buddies successfully ran away when the therapist tried to catch them. After a few rounds, the buddies took turns to be the cat. They screamed excitedly and had so much fun.

“Enjoy the time with the buddies”

Relationships need to be nurtured with love, so as to the friendship of the buddies. One day, our therapists arranged an interesting activity to help the buddies become closer to each other. One of the buddies was assigned to be the little helper to lead other buddies to prepare refreshments. In the process, the buddies paid attention to the little helper’s demonstration and then followed by adding some chocolate sprinkles into the biscuits. Everyone could not wait to enjoy the delicious biscuits and their faces beamed with happiness. All buddies enjoyed the time with each other!

“Duck, Duck, Goose”

One day, our therapists arranged a game called “Duck, Duck, Goose”. This game is very similar to “Missing Handkerchief”, which helps the buddies learn to follow rules and improve their reactions, as well as enhance their social interactions. The buddies sat down and formed a circle first. A buddy was chosen to be the “goose” and walked around outside the circle. As he walked, he tapped other buddies’ heads and said “duck” until he chose a buddy to be the new “goose”, then said “goose”. The new “goose” had to catch the old “goose”, so the old “goose” had to run around the circle and occupied the original seat of the new “goose”. Some buddies did not run fast enough and were caught. Our therapists later joined the game and played with them together. Everyone had so much fun!

“Stacking an ice-cream tower”

Taking turns is an essential skill for children with autism. It can facilitate children’s social interactions. One day, we prepared an exciting stacking ice-cream tower game for the buddies to learn the concept of taking turns. The buddies needed to take turns to stack ice-cream scoops on top of a cone. Whoever made the tower collapse would lose the game. All buddies understood and followed the game rules. They even reminded the next buddy by saying “it’s your turn!” When the tower fell down everyone screamed. The buddy who lost the game was not discouraged but to play the game again. He has been gradually building good sportsmanship.

Lam, Fai, Kit, Hei, Chun and Ranon were invited to present their perspective as an educational opportunity for addressing the awareness of ASD and the importance of early-intervention. Lam, Fai, Kit, Hei and Chun are past beneficiaries at Autism Partnership Foundation (operating in Hong Kong). Ranon is a current beneficiary of APF, HK.