Freyr

Freyr is an active 15 year old young lady who loves music (all aspects from engaging in making rhythms and sounds to being right at the front of music performances/ concerts to replaying and ‘editing’ recordings she’s made on her iPad), travelling; is very inquisitive and knows no boundaries when it comes to who and what places she’d like to explore and whose device she’d like to appropriate and perhaps change the settings of.

Freyr enjoys the company of other kids and adults at times and at other times prefers her own space (usually if she’s chillin with her iPad). She is very fast to learn/take up technology games and tools if they appeal to her enjoyment and interaction with music and multimedia. She enjoys live music and dance, traditional and modern. Her paternal heritage is part Aboriginal Australian and Torres Straight Islander and she has a particular affinity for tribal/traditional dances and didjeridoo. She also loves guitar, violin, flute, trumpet, piano, jembei and drum kit drums. She enjoys engaging in the music-making process and likes to get on stage and participate in live music events – especially if there’s a microphone around.

She displays normal teenage traits of rebelliousness at times but i think it’s more a matter of being obstinate about doing what She wants to do. She is still sweet and co-operative in many ways but is developing her own identity and pursuing her wants in a teenage fashion. This can be challenging at times – mainly because she cannot be totally independent or unsupervised (at any time). Being able to relate to her on her level of exploration and enjoyment goes a long way to convince her to co-operate, and you won’t gain her co-operation or respect unless you CAN relate to her.

Learning Goals

Our learning goals are around communication mainly, and also developing her skills in music. Also we work with words and spelling, and counting. She can recognise words and numbers but we’re not sure of her level of comprehension. This is an introduction Video outlining Freyr’s current goals and our communication methods and basic instruction on the brain gym activities we do daily and form part of her OT/Sensory and Development program https://youtu.be/fCd6jeBWnOg

Freyr is non verbal, and we use symbols and signing (PECs and simplified AUSLAN). Music­ is her primary motivator; she loves rhythm, drumming, guitar, violin, percussion. She knows all her instruments and gets really excited by shows like the muppets and wiggles, hi 5, yo gabba gabba, Michael Jackson, Pentatonix, ABBA; Reggae/Ska, Techno ­- pretty much all genres. I think it would be great to help her learn some rhythms; to get her to focus more. She is ‘under stimulated’ sensory wise and seeks lights and sounds and repetitive things. It can get a bit much so we limit her access to the iPad and such devices and use them usually just as a reward for after she has completed her set tasks.

We use visual schedules ­ basically a “list” of up to 5 picture cards/symbols of activities for her to focus on and complete ­ then she gets rewarded with iPad time for 10­-15 minutes ­ or 2­5 minutes after doing more focused learning activities.

Therapy/Exercise Goals

She has some therapy exercises that we do ­ to strengthen her upper body, she has her own little dumb bells and boxing gloves.

YouTube Video: To be found and uploaded

Medical/Support/Reports

My least favourite topic…

Speech Therapist General Assessment Sum_Rpt_FDavenport_30.06.2014

freyr – Individual Curriculum Plan 2017

SSECM1-Davenport Freyr – School Report 2017

Working with/Teaching Freyr

Freyr has some difficulties with processing information and some sensory issues.
This means she has some difficulty completing tasks that you may consider easy or “normal”. She has problems with coordination and most tasks/activities are slow­mo. (done in slow­motion) She is easily distracted and needs to be constantly re­directed to stay on task. It’s important to have a balance between pushing her to do better and accepting her skill level. She needs repetition and consistency. She will try and get you to do things for her ­ and so you MUST push her and let her know she can’t push you around.

It is important to keep in the forefront what goals are. Her routine sequence can be broken up into “steps” and it is important to Reward/Reinforce each step as she achieves them. This actually excites neurons in the brain that help build connections in the brain necessary for learning and reinforcing behaviours. Rewards can be: saying “well done!”, “great work!” or “good job!”. Sometimes clapping is an appropriate reward too.

Freyr doesn’t have the same knowledge as you of how to achieve her goals ­ it is your job to teach Freyr how to attain these goals. Notice when Freyr is engaging in counterproductive behaviours, or being distracted. See how the problem behaviour can be resolved and redirect/reposition Freyr to reach her goal. Think/See what Freyr needs in order to practically achieve the goal without doing it for her. ­ Our aim is for Freyr to become as independent as possible.

Do not PUNISH Freyr when she is being counterproductive. Instead firmly redirect her attention ­ identifying the goal she’s working on and encourage her to “go for it”! When you are encouraging and firm, your confidence will bring out the best in Freyr.

Actively reward Freyr with praise when she makes an effort to do what you want her to do. Say “Yes! Well Done!” or “Good Work Freyr!” Praise is important for the brain to release endorphins/feel good chemicals which cements the neural pathways for learning new behaviours/actions/tasks etc.

Some questions to ask:

  • ●  Why are we learning this?
  • ●  What does Freyr want to accomplish?
  • ●  How can this skill benefit Freyr?This will give you access to motivate Freyr in a supportive way. Show patience. But be firm, comforting and supportive.

Care Needs

Care­-wise, Freyr is a bit like a perpetual toddler. There are concerns around her safety and she should never be left alone. She will take opportune moments to explore and empty the fridge contents (and sample/eat/tip out/decimate), people’s bags/purse, anything around that seems interesting to her. She must be supervised closely at all times… saying that, she also needs to learn for herself what is dangerous and what is not, and she needs to learn to function in a community environment. Sometimes a verbal reminder is enough to redirect her to engage in more “socially acceptable” ways and to not avidly search and destroy everything within reach. Other times physical intervention is required.

Often, saying: “Freyr let’s use our quiet voice”, “Freyr, no touching other people’s things” (even though she doesn’t have a concept of boundaries so it’s a bit useless really) “Freyr finished now in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, FINISHED”. If she is engaged and supported and following a schedule she is much less likely to ‘wander off course’. But she still needs to be constantly supervised. If she is wanting to explore something that’s usually out-of-bounds, it’s polite to ask the person whose article has interested her whether they would mind sharing and showing Freyr what it is and what it does. If she tries to snatch it, say “No Freyr – just looking. . . Ask for a turn if you want a turn”. And then using sign language, request that she requests what she wants. It’s nice if the person is happy to show her the thing or welcome her to join their activity. Just make sure she doesn’t take over, take off and abscond with the item.

Freyr needs assistance with toileting (she wears nappies at night and sometimes through the day when we’re out and about); otherwise she wears normal underwear or continence pants (washable). We work on requesting that she goes to the toilet every 2-4 hours.  In terms of dressing herself and self-care she just needs prompting and redirecting when she starts daydreaming or becoming distracted. ­She is very slow doing stuff but she gets there… It often helps to make songs up about what you are doing to animate the activity and engage her. You have to Be as, if not MORE interesting than the iPad. hahaha. It’s a challenge but it can also be quite fun (sometimes exhausting but rewarding).

Freyr has a photographic memory I’m sure. She is getting faster and faster at learning things and if motivated, is able to do things independently (mostly with regard to technology) – She can read/recognise words but I am not sure about her level of comprehension or understanding. Her priorities are quite different to those of “ordinary” people so it’s hard to gauge sometimes actually what her understanding is.

Here is a link to a series of video sessions with Dr Antonio Rinaldi who discusses some aspects of the Autistic world and how their perception differs from ‘the norm’. I think having this understanding is helpful and essential to be able to interact positively with people with Autism and sensory issues like Freyr.

Therapy and Homestay Schedule

We aim to provide rich and meaningful experiences for Freyr and any other kids (local or international) who may be spending time with us. We are not rigid in our planning and always expect to expect the unexpected – there are many factor which affect the way a day can go (not only for the child/children but for a carer as well). However, routine makes Freyr feel secure and she can be more confident in her actions if she knows what is coming next.

We use visual timetables and picture cards (PECs) to plan our day and expect to plan for the following day’s activities the day before they occur. We are a team and ask that you feel free to bring up any questions, ideas or suggestions you may have. The best time to do this is around dinner preparation, and over dinner is sometimes a good discussion/brain-storming time or through our WhatsApp Group Chat.

This is an example of a typical day’s Activity Schedule:

6.30am
wake up; toileting; brain gym/going for a walk/yoga;
See Brain Gym in Introduction  Video also
7.30am
breakfast;
fruits; nuts/seeds;coconut
8am
take a shower; getting dressed; brush teeth;
with prompting/minimal assistance
9.00am
Task Activity
Ipad – learning activity: Speech/Sounds/Singing
9.45am
GROSS & FINE MOTOR
scraping coconuts, peeling potato, peeling/cutting fruit, vegetables, building with Cobb, weaving, shopping, pouring product into containers, processing flowers, mixing ingredients..
10.30am
break time/rest/reward
play some music; cooking, fruits available – banana pineapple pikelets (no sugar)
11/11.30am
Learning Activity
FINE MOTOR
musical instrument, craft, beading, sewing, harvest vegetables/greens/fruits
or books – reading: concepts, characters, matching, narration (practicing speech) then sensory activity – spinning torch, goop, sensory toy (Reward)
12pm
Lunchtime
Brown rice/quinoa, protein – tofu/taho, salad – cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce leaves, talong/eggplant, capsicum/Bell pepper Green mango, fish, cheese, egg
12.45pm
clean up time
washing plates, folding, washing clothes, sweeping, putting away
1.00pm
SENSORY activity
swimming, swinging, hammock, didgeridoo, play music, goop, water play, massage, therapy, reading, resting, cobb building, processing product/sorting/ mixing/pouring
2.00pm
Learning Activity
language development, communication, reading, role play (e.g. tea party), vocalising, intonation, gardening, singing, rhythm,
3.00pm
break time; Afternoon SNACK
fruits, pikelets
3.30pm
coordination activity
play music together (e.g. drumming) dancing (zumba), singing/guitar, brain gym learning new moves
4pm
Task Activity
sculpture, play do, recycling plastic/moulding, sorting, counting, stacking, arranging/grouping, building e.g. bottle wall, raised beds, earth bag, bottle bricks
4.30pm
iPad time
Free time
5pm
Learning Activity
concepts: big/small inside/outside, describing words, nouns, verbs, interactive play/dance/drama, lighting/colours
5.30/6pm
∆ interchangeable with dinner so could be after dinner
Sensory Activities
lighting/colours/projector/ sound/music visual patterns on the wall with e.g. iPad; Sound Wall, calming, OT exercises
7pm
Dinner
clean up
e.g. fish, vegetables, coconut milk, sweet potato
8/8.30pm
shower, story/movie/bedtime
lights off 9.30pm
Then finally we can rest…..

Self Care

This should really be at number one – but this is a profile about Freyr so we’ll keep it here for now. As a super-human wonderful amazing coach and tutor, you must listen to your own needs and communicate clearly with myself and the team around what You need specifically. Caring can be very demanding and we ALL have our “off” days, and what have you… You need to be able to function at an 80-130% operating capacity in order for everyone to gain the best from You and for You to gain the best from everyone… It’s perfectly fine if you feel you need to take time for your self and it’s very important you communicate what you are feeling to other team members through checking in (via our Whatsapp Group, messaging/phonecall). If during your shift you are feeling stressed or at all unable to cope: Communicate it straight away… it’s extremely important that you don’t start “reacting” to Freyr’s behaviours and that you don’t enter a state of stress/overwhelm yourself.

It doesn’t take long to come back to your optimum but it’s essential that you do. And we are all human and we all need to take breaks at times. Make sure you know who you can call on in any one shift if you were to feel stressed or unsure about something: Please ask/communicate. Work is Fun and Life – and we are here to support each other. Freyr or any child should never be a burden, and if it feels like they are, that is a clear indicator that you need to take time out. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We have a procedure that will be explained to you if for some reason you are alone on a shift (this would be unusual/undesirable) and for some reason can’t access another support person or get the advice you need.