Thursday, July 29, 2010

How our School Works - Part 1 Supervision and Planning

Jojo the OT presenting a medal, Susan the Supervisor, Grace Domican and her tutor Joanne on Sports Day, Friday 23rd July 2010.

As the mother of 2 kids of with very high needs, I am uniquely placed to appreciate the benefits of quality supervision in Saplings Rathfarnham.

The Supervisor, Director of Education and Senior Tutor in each classroom all work to plan and then implement agreed goals in liaison with our family.

Having a high level of supervision means that our kids individual needs are catered for in planning and constant measurement of results.
I have also found that where a problem existed only in the home environment, the Supervisors and Director have been very accessible in helping me understand and assess the key issues - with home visits, in school meetings and support in measuring the behaviour.
And then ultimately in creating a clearly agreed behaviour plan with practical supports to overcome the issues.
Communication within the school is consistent and I find that this supports the reduction of inappropriate behaviours while of course reinforcing those we want to improve.
The Supervisors, Senior Tutors and Director have also been a great source of moral support during the various difficulties we have had with the kids - which makes a huge difference to quality of life.
I also think they fundamentally believe in the potential of all our kids and it is a relief to be amongst people who think there is no problem or issue that cannot be solved - they just need to change the lesson - not the Learner!

And where possible they seek to incorporate the recommendations of key therapeutic staff, like our full time Occupational Therapist Jojo.

Jojo works year round in the school to support each individual child's well being through hands on physical therapy, and group activities like the weekly social role-play. (more about that next week)

However, for the last few weeks of term, Jojo was busy training everyone for the annual Sports day. It is a wonderful chance for parents to visit the school and watch their kids take part in games and races.
And of course - prizes!

Senior Tutor Tony supervises the scoreboard while Jojo presents a medal to Liam Domican

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Impact of Giving

Saplings is being supported by many hardworking and generous people at the moment.

On the weekend a number of friends of Saplings ran, jogged and briskly walked in at least 2 of the 32 marathons for Irish Autism.
A pro-rata share of the money raised in each of the 32 Counties the marathon visits will be distributed to local groups and our Friends ensured that Saplings was represented.

Big thanks to Noel Reidy who did the Dublin Run for Ciaomh Connolly, a pupil in the school and Grace and Liam Domican's Daddy, Aunty Maeve and Aunty Moira who joined the Wicklow run.
Click on their names to check out the mycharity links and donate if you wish. Together they have raised over €2,500! Amazing work guys, thanks so much!

Noel Reidy in Dublin on July 3rd

Moira, Bill and Maeve Domican in Wicklow

A number of very generous Irish artists have also donated works to be sold at the Annual Achieving Art Show.

Organised by Ciaomh Connelly's Dad, his friends and colleagues in Temple Bar, the show opens with a buying party this Thursday 8th July at the Bernard Shaw Bar in Portabello.

Achieving Art has raised over €30,000 over the last 3 years and we hope to continue this success. There has never been a better time to invest in quality art that will appreciate in value for years to come, while at the same time investing in the future potential of our remarkable Saplings kids.

Together these projects could help secure the post of our Additional Supervisor for another 12 months.

Sapling's supervisors develop and adapt the individual education program for every child in the school, according to their interests and ability and in consultation with their family.

Every program is measured on an hourly, daily, weekly and annual basis and changed to suit the progress or needs of the learner in the way they need to be taught.

They also ensure consistency of delivery of all programs, ensuring that our kids can work and relate to a number of tutors without any loss of skills.
Having an additional supervisor means they can work more intensely with the 12 children they are responsible for, and provide home/school liaison and support.

As the mother of 2 very loveable but very autistic individuals, I don't know what I would have done without the support and guidance of the Saplings Supervisors and Educational Director in steering me through some recent behavioural challenges.

And that is the real impact of the money donated to support Saplings Schools, it improves the quality of life for all concerned.

Thank You All

Lisa Domican