Case study on Teenage Years
I. is 15 years old. He has a diagnosis of autism and attends a mainstream post primary school. He enjoys Art, ICT and Mathematics and has been provided with a classroom assistant for 20 hours per week.
I. is 15 years old. He has a diagnosis of autism and attends a mainstream post primary school. He enjoys Art, ICT and Mathematics and has been provided with a classroom assistant for 20 hours per week. He has difficulty organising his belongings and meeting deadlines, due to his difficulties in organisational skills. He is reluctant to accept help from his classroom assistant as he is worried that it will make him look different as he wants to be more independent.
I. presents as a shy boy and while it does not appear that he is being bullied he spends much of break and lunch time alone, despite expressing to his classroom assistant that he would like a friend. His parents have concerns that mirror those of staff and have informed them that he is becoming increasingly withdrawn and spends large amounts of time alone in the family home, usually online.
On consultation with staff, it would appear that while I. has never displayed any physical or verbal aggression towards staff or students, the staff remain concerned about his apparent low self-esteem and social isolation.
After consultation with teachers and parents the following were identified as possible triggers for behaviour.
- I has indicated that he is aware that he has autism, but appears unable to express what this means or how it affects him
- Staff feel that it is possible that his difficulty in establishing and maintaining friendships has had a negative impact on his self-esteem
- Even though I. is academically able, his difficulties with planning and organisation means that he gets into trouble for forgetting home works which also damages his perception of school
- Classroom assistant support to be discreet to prevent I. form feeling singled out for special attention
- Implementing a personal psychoeducation programme with the aim of helping him understand his diagnosis in a holistic way that emphasising his strengths – this will allow supporting self-esteem and will increase overall confidence
- Hold a personal tutorial every morning and before going home for 10 minutes in order to assist the transition between home and school
- Use the computer as a way of allowing I. to indicate how he is feeling and whether he has any specific concerns
- Use a pocket sized colour coded timetable to help navigate the school day (multiple copies to be made in case the timetable is lost)
- Use a reward system to strengthen organisational skills (these should incorporate both instant rewards and those that require working towards particular goals)