Setting up little ones with skills for life

Autism SA
The Foundation Skills Group at Netley is for autistic children aged three to five. It runs Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm, allowing families to drop their child off for a day of learning and play in a group setting.

What sets the Foundation Skills Group apart from childcare or kindergarten is that children spend the day with a team of speech pathologists, occupational therapists, behavioural therapists and early childhood educators in an environment designed to nurture children on the spectrum. Together they help children and families achieve goals, and foster each child’s strengths and interests.

Amanda’s four-year-old son attends Netley Foundation Skills Group two days a week. He’s only been attending for one term but Amanda can see progress already.

“He didn’t used to play with other children. When children got too close to him he would dysregulate and want to push them away, but now he has the confidence to sit with other children and play with them,” says Amanda.

It’s been great the way staff have supported him. He’s getting really tailored support and help with fine motor skills.

“He’s learning how to grip a pencil and he’s taking interest in fine motor skills that he wouldn’t have previously. He would have got frustrated.”

The team at the Foundation Skills Groups is made up of speech pathologists, occupational therapists, behavioural therapists and early childhood educators

With a maximum of 10 children in a room, the little ones are supported to develop skills in communication, social interactions, movement, play, self-care and behaviour.

A range of whole group, small group and one-to-one activities are incorporated into the daily routine. The group learning environment also provides opportunities for positive social interactions with both peers and adults.

Staff member Tiani Sbrissa-Jeffries loves working at the Foundation Skills Group.

“It’s very rewarding seeing the kids grow, progress and achieve their goals.”

She also enjoys the positive feedback from parents.

“Parents are so impressed with the program. They tell us how they can see the difference at home, including the way their child engages with family and friends.”

Most children spend two to three days at the group in conjunction with kindergarten or childcare on other days.

Autism SA is a registered NDIS provider.

For more information about the Netley Foundation Skills Group and to register your interest:

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