Who are we? St Augustine’s is a large Catholic school with over 600 students. We have over 50 Special Ed students. These students are diagnosed with a disability. Over 20 of these students are diagnosed with ASD. A further 200+ require some sort of an adjustment to the mainstream curriculum and will be part of the nationally consistent collection of data for 2014.
How does our mentoring program work? We take just over one hour of resourcing per week and convert it to 15 minutes 1:1 time each day with a caring adult.
Why does it work? Some students struggle to understand everyday life. By having individual access to a caring adult enables them to build trust and a bridge of communication.
Who does it cater for? Children who have been traumatised or abused. Children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Behaviours before being mentored Biting, kicking, screaming, head banging. Curled up in the foetal position. Barking like a dog. Doing runners and melting down. Trashing property.
Parents and Teachers Feeling extremely frustrated, angry and helpless. Grieving what they think should have been. At this stage everything is negative.
After mentoring A decreases in stress levels all round. Smiling faces and experiencing success. Making and achieving goals. Better self regulation
Profile Tracy was a little girl who came from a very violent background. She lived with her grandma. Tracy would try to escape from school everyday. One day she trashed a classroom so badly that the class could not return for a week.
Profile Johnny diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. He was extremely literal and found social situations confusing. Johnny would swear a lot, have major meltdowns and then rock like a baby. Johnny now attends high school. He is passing with good grades. He is working part time. He is really good at sport.
Profile Helen lost her mum when she was a baby to drugs. We don’t know where her mother is. Helen, for a long time, had nowhere to live so a Govt. agency put her up in accommodation with rotating carers. Helen was very quiet and placid at school.
Profile Jimmy is diagnosed with Autism. When Jimmy came to our school he was non verbal and used his fingers to point. Jimmy would get very frustrated. Jimmy now talks in sentences and has made friends. Jimmy loves coming to school. Mentoring for him was about language and learning to communicate.
Profile Carter was diagnosed with Autism he also had an intellectual disability. It would take him 2-3 hours and sometimes even up to 2 weeks to process information. Sometimes Carter would hide under the desk for hours and refuse to come out. Carter now attends high school. He is happy and has made friends.
Who with? I started mentoring this student when she was in year one. She is now in year 9. I finished mentoring her when she was in year 7. We still keep in touch.
This student was chosen for the mentoring program because she had attachment disorder and ODD. She was born to a drug addicted mother and a father who was in and out of jail. She was also abused at a very young age. Why?
Obstacles? The biggest obstacle was TRUST. She has had a lot of let downs in her life. So it was essential I followed through on any promises or deals we had made together.
She has set goals. One of her goals is to become a doctor.
Another real life example JB was an abused and neglected child. He was removed from his parents care. His neglect was so bad he developed an eating disorder. The kitchen cupboards and fridge needed to be padlocked.
The following is an account from his ESO mentor.
WHAT TYPES OF ACTIVITIES DID YOU DO WITH YOUR STUDENT?
We made a book called ALL ABOUT ME With photos, favourite things e.g, food, colour, sport, movies, likes and dislikes etc
Played basketball and football. He picked a buddy from his class. A different one each time. During this time he would be observed and I would intervene if needed. Sometimes role playing like taking turns and the right things to say.
Interviewing Students From class using a questionnaire sheet.
A Positive Reinforcement Poster A photo in the centre of the poster with positive words describing himself. So every time he had a negative thought about himself, we would look at the poster and he would have to say something nice about himself.
Cooking Made pizzas, iced biscuits, made sandwiches. We made a recipe book.
Practiced breathing techniques. For when he gets angry sometimes.
Social scripts Listening to music ( hearing hidden sounds in music ) Design and craft projects Kite flying Listening games Visual cue cards
Life skills How to read bus and train timetables, how to tie shoelaces, money,using a mobile phone, brushing teeth, grocery lists etc
Made transition booklet for high school Visited high school with him for transition support.