Our Centre provides support in various ways. In order to achieve the best results we consider it vital to pay as much attention to the child, as to the parents and the rest of the family. The family is a whole and functions with a balance, either a healthy or an unhealthy one. When we influence the child, by playing with him, we enable a profound, new development.
Our engagement with the parents encourages a coextending advancement, which allows for the child’s transformation to take place and to stabilize. Whatever the child learns has to be embedded in his daily life, because the main goal is an improved life. The siblings also exist in the life of the autistic child and vice versa. They need support too, in order to be able to understand why their brother or sister is treated differently. They need to ally with their parents, without feeling pressure.
We usually start with an introductory session with the whole family. That gives us the opportunity to observe your relationship and your attitude towards the autistic child and the siblings.
We explain to the parents the way we work and how we will continue.
We begin playing with the child, while the parents watch behind the one-way mirror. Afterwards, they will play with their child themselves, one parent at the time while we observe. We give them practical advice to apply at home.
We play with the child as many hours as the parents want. There is an education and a volunteer program. There are usually plenty experienced individuals that can play with your child.
In case you choose the intensive program, we strongly recommend that you, as the parents, take part in it. It is possible for a child to come and play from one up to twenty hours per week. Our aim is for the child to achieve sociability and effective communication, besides other educational goals. It is of utter importance that the child spends as much time as possible in an environment of unconditional acceptance. If that is not possible, changes still occur, but at a slower rate.
While the students and volunteers are playing with the child, we work with the parents, either personally, or in a group. The parents are also invited to join us monthly in a meeting about their child, where everyone that partakes in their playing is gathered. That’s the time when we can listen to each other (we might all have different experiences with the child), we set new goals or adjust the ones we already have. We discuss on how to challenge the child to bring about these achievements.
Generally, we tune in with each other and increase the enthousiasm of the group members, which immediately creates positive energy in the play with the child.
There are monthly parent groups taking place as well, during which we exchange information, solve practical problems and more broadly lift the spirits of all parents. This is very significant!! We should not underestimate the effect of a good mood at home. When parents feel happy, their good feelings reflect directly on their child. For that reason we consider it our duty to provide optimism and enthousiasm for the parents, just so they are able to function better in the daily life of the family.
We strive to offer real support wherever we can. That’s the reason why the at-home-volunteer program exists. Parents can request volunteers to relieve them for a few hours every week.