Giant Steps strongly believes in the importance of both specialized, structured autism intervention programs and inclusion with typically developing children in their schools and communities.
Supported inclusion in local schools is an integral part of the Giant Steps program.
Inclusion in neighbourhood schools
After a period of intensive training at Giant Steps, our students are slowly integrated into their local schools with the support of a Giant Steps Program Assistant and the consulting services of the full team.
Our Program Assistants are specially trained to understand the child’s unique needs and implement academic, communication, sensory, social and behavioural strategies to facilitate successful participation in the classroom.
Giant Steps’ teachers and Executive Director play an important role, meeting with their teachers to assist them in achieving our kids’ IEPs by providing educational strategies, modifying approaches to learning and maximizing their integration with typically developing peers.
When special needs arise, consultations with our therapists and visits to our kids’ classrooms target issues in specific developmental areas and assist in the implementation of therapeutic strategies to optimize the child’s functioning in the classroom.
Teaching the Teacher
To facilitate the meaningful participation of children with ASD in their schools, our Director educates their teachers and fellow students about autism, the needs of children with autism in general and their Giant Steps classmate in particular, and ways of fostering their successful participation with typically developing peers.
Mentorship programs and circle of support groups are just a few programs that are often implemented and our Director works with school staff and students through individual sessions, in the classroom setting and via larger group presentations to schools.
“As a teacher at R.H. Crosby Public School, I found the presentation by Giant Steps to be so informative and useful. They taught myself, our Educational Assistant and my students a lot about autism. This was done in a manner that was hands-on and interactive, enabling my Grade 1 and 2 kids to fully understand the material and using practical examples to show the class what it is like to live with autism.”
With structured planning and close collaboration with the family and school staff, children who are transitioning out of the Giant Steps program are supported with a systematic fading of our services.
School visits and consultations continue for the first 6 months of their placement in their new school setting.