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Learning Buddies programme stories 2020-09-04

“A compliance token board”

The little buddies had low levels of compliance at the beginning of the group training. Our therapists therefore created a glittering compliance token board to help them improve their abilities and facilitate social interactions. The buddies were very surprised and liked the token board very much.

A token would be given when the buddies complied to the therapists. The fastest one who collected all the tokens would be given priority to play the prize draw. We prepared some prizes which were toys for the buddies playing together. Although some buddies did not win any prize and were disappointed, the buddy who won the toy racket set invited them to play with him. They played happily together and looked forward to the next draw.

“Toy car wheel painting”

Children with autism often face difficulties in building social interests. We can help them build emotional connections with others through fun activities. One day, our therapists arranged a “toy car wheel painting” activity. The therapists first helped the buddies paint the wheels of toy cars and slide the cars on a paper. All were very excited to see the amazing track marks on the paper. A buddy then passed the toy cars to another buddy and said, “It’s your turn.” Through this activity, the buddies learnt taking turns and waiting. They also realised the fun of playing with peers and gradually built social interests.

“Keep clean and hygienic”

Some children with autism lack awareness of hygiene, so our therapists set the lesson programme of this day as “environmental hygiene”, explaining how to use different disinfectant products, such as alcohol and disinfectant sprays, to keep the environment clean and hygienic. We placed some cards of black palm representing dirt and germs at different places and asked the buddies to practise how to clean the environment with simulated disinfectant sprays. The buddies ran around to find the black palms excitedly and sprayed disinfectants on the black palms to kill germs. This activity helped the buddies to learn the names and usages of different disinfectant products and also build stronger awareness about good hygiene!

“Line up properly

“I’m the first one!” “You pushed me!” In the early days of the group training, whenever the buddies went to the bathroom, there would be noises in the corridor. The buddies always argued over who should be the first one in the queue and ended up flushing with anger. Our therapists gradually carried out relevant training such as role-playing, to help the buddies to distinguish the correct and wrong behaviours about queuing from a third-person perspective, and to teach them stay calm as well. The therapists then set up queuing scenes in the class deliberately, so that the buddies could keep practicing and progressively apply the skills in daily environments. Now the buddies can line up nicely most of the time and sometimes even show courtesy to younger buddies by letting them get to the front of the queue!

“Sharing”

Many children with autism are not inclined to actively share and communicate with others, so our therapist arranged a sharing session this day. We sat in a circle first, then the therapist began, “I like playing badminton with my Dad.” A buddy immediately raised his hand and said, “I like playing trains with my Dad.” Other buddies listened attentively and shared their preferences one after the other. Through this activity, the buddies learnt taking turns to talk about a certain topic. The therapist gradually reduced the prompts and encouraged the buddies to actively share their interests and feelings with others in their daily lives.

Carson, Hong, Lok, Hin, Kiu, Yeung, Alma, Isaac, Star, Ho and Eden were invited to present their perspective as an educational opportunity for addressing the awareness of ASD and the importance of early-intervention. Carson, Hong, Lok, Hin, Kiu, Yeung, Alma Isaac and Star are past beneficiaries at Autism Partnership Foundation (operating in Hong Kong). Ho and Eden are current beneficiaries of APF, HK.