We provide developmental support services for children on the autism spectrum. These support services help children with a developmental challenge or delay learn how to successfully participate in family activities, have routines and work towards experiencing full inclusion and integration in their communities.
What We Offer: Our developmental services run in THREE types of programs:
- THE EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAM
- INDIVIDUAL THERAPY SESSIONS
- VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM
THE EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAM
The EIP at Sunbeam Autism Centre is a structured program with a timetable with all the three modalities of intervention discussed below incorporated for each child. The EIP runs from 2.30pm to 5.30pm at the Sunbeam Varuna campus from Monday to Friday every week and include Developmental therapy, OT and Social Skills group sessions. Child-centred programs are packaged together by experts to bring maximum benefit to your child’s development. Children with early indicators of, or with a diagnosis of, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and social and/or communication delays, are the focus of this program.
‘It is important for children with autism to begin treatment as soon as possible. The more intense or comprehensive the therapy, the better it is in terms of helping children improve social and communication skills,’ said clinical psychologist Dr. Micah Mazurek, assistant professor in the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri.
Over time 95.4% of children demonstrated improvement for these skills with children who have received behavioural, speech and occupational therapy benefitting the most.
Speech and language therapy assesses and treats individuals who have a problem with the production of sounds, when a person has difficulties understanding or processing language or has difficulties using expressive language.Speech therapists are professionals who specialize in the development of communication. Our speech therapists identify, assess and provide treatment for individuals with speech, language, and cognitive/communication disorders. Speech therapy at SAC focuses on helping pre-linguistic skills, developmental therapy, communication and language enhancement, social engagement,play skills, focus on reciprocal interaction.The ways in which this can benefit your child are:
- Understanding directions or questions – receptive language
- Identifying objects
- Using gestures
- Learning new words
- Word order in a sentence
- Asking questions
- Naming objects
- Taking turns
- Having short conversational exchange
Every child has a daily routine that includes waking up, eating, playing, sleeping, etc. When a child has trouble with areas in their routine – feeding time, self-care, sensory integration, exploring their environments, or interacting with others – occupational therapy helps them build the skills they need to succeed in these daily “occupations”. OT addresses underlying behavioural problems and developmental delays by making adjustments in the physical environment and by introducing sensory integration. Areas in which your child could benefit from OT are:
- Fine motor and/or handwriting delays
- Feeding difficulties, including picky eating, utensil use and oral motor concerns
- Difficulty manipulating toys
- Aversion to certain textures, temperatures or sounds
- Difficulty transitioning or tolerating changes in the environment
- Delays in self-help skills, including self-feeding, dressing and bathing
- Anxiety with movement
- Hyperactivity and difficulty with attention
- Difficulty calming self
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Poor eye contact or sensitivity to light
- Poor balance, posture and coordination
A key to any successful relationship is having good social skills. Some children have difficulty recognizing social cues from their peers and other models and require extra support to interpret and respond to the verbal and nonverbal communication of others. SAC offers social skills groups for a children within a range of ages and abilities to help children learn how to work together, create friendships within a group setting, strengthen their ability to express feelings, and promote positive problem-solving skills.
The Social Skills group at SAC grows in number slowly from 2 to upto 4 children in the similar age range in a group. Each session uses a relationship based, developmental approach to structure group activities that encourage children to be more aware of peers, learn how to approach them, and how to join and initiate play. Our therapists and interventionists use the children’s interests as tools to help bridge their interests with others.
Children become more aware of peers, how to approach them, as well as how to join and initiate play. Therapists help to facilitate socially appropriate communication between peers including; expressing and negotiating wants and needs, labelling emotions, joining play of others, taking turns, sharing, being flexible, playing games, being a good winner and loser in a game, complimenting, staying on topic, asking follow up questions and more. Sessions may also include sensory exploration opportunities, movement activities, music, art, snack and outings.
SAC uses a relationship-based model to offer family support services within the treatment plan so that parents, caregivers, siblings and teachers are equipped with the tools to support and connect with the child. Our interventionists try and work with your family to create a treatment plan that incorporates your concerns and priorities for your child.
IEP Goals – Our trained staff incorporates your child’s Individualised Educational Program goals into an integrated plan to support the goals and needs of your child.On aquarterly basis, the caregiver and therapist meet to evaluate the child’s progress toward their goals and if any changes in plan would be beneficial.
Services Incorporated within Natural Environments – SAC provides developmental services not just in classrooms and one-on-one cubicles,we also practice in parks, play spaces and try simulate real life situations like grocery shops, vegetable markets, birthday parties and play dates. By providing services in natural environments, your child learns how to use learned skills in other settings. This also can help your family with practical ways to work with your child in everyday setting.