Every child is unique, as is every need; therefore, at Talisman Programs, we utilize a number of different teaching tools in approaching learning opportunities at our autism and Aspergers programs. Staff at all levels receive in-depth training in their use, and on-going guidance as they develop plans to help each camper achieve his or her goals while at camp.
Frequently-used tools & methods when teaching children with autism, ADHD & Aspergers:
- Small Group Setting – We choose to have our campers do most activities with their cabin groups for several reasons. Focusing on fewer relationships (eight campers and three staff) allows time for developing them more deeply. Better friendships and a closer sense of community can be formed. Counselors get to know their group very well, so they can respond more effectively and with greater consistency. And when difficulties arise, campers learn how to work through those rather than avoiding them.
- Group Discussions – Anyone can “call group” at almost any time, in order to resolve an issue. The action pauses, and staff guide the group through a problem-solving progression, allowing campers to practice expressing emotions respectfully and accepting responsibility when necessary.
- Natural and Logical Consequences – When appropriate, a camper might be assigned a consequence that can be clearly connected to their action or decision. This is part of teaching the concept of action/consequence and how to take responsibility for decisions.
- Role-Play – A group might replay a situation to practice alternative responses and their consequences.
- Individual Coaching – Some issues are better-addressed one-on-one; a counselor might work with a camper to create a cue to help the camper recognize and avoid a trouble-spot, or practice what to say before an important conversation, or just discuss a difficult situation. This gives students a tool they can apply in real life, after their time
in our autism and Aspergers camp programs.
- Contracting – A camper struggling with a chronically negative behavior might contract with the
counselor for expected behavior and consequences. This helps the camper understand ahead of
time the results of their choices, increasing incentive to choose well.
- Chores – Daily chores give groups ownership of their cabin, dining hall and every activity
for which they prepare and clean up afterward.