Archie joined YMCA Childcare when he was 2 and a half years old after attending a different nursery. When Archie joined us he had just started walking independently but had no communication apart from a high pitched scream to make himself heard. This was a challenge as he was unable to communicate his wishes and needs. Archie would also prefer to be solitary and avoid social interaction. He would be very repetitive with his activity choices. Through our experience, we knew Archie might be on the autistic spectrum.
YMCA Childcare monitored Archie’s development and spoke with his parents about his behaviour at home. We gave support to receive a diagnosis and put educational plans in place to track Archie’s progress. YMCA Childcare secured extra funding for Archie to meet his additional needs. This meant he had a dedicated worker, doing 1-to-1 work with him, to support him through all areas of his learning. It was really beneficial to Archie’s immediate and long term development.
Improving Archie’s communication skills was a key focus for our support. We worked with Archie to learn and use Makaton (a language programme using signs and symbols). It was very positive and developed Archie’s ability to communicate his needs. He is now more willing to interact with his peers and is able to use many single words. He can name objects and request “juice” or “house” (to go home, in speech and Makaton).
Staff and parents were concerned which education system would be most beneficial for him. The SENCO applied for Archie to attend a specialist provision as an alternative to mainstream school. This application was not successful. YMCA Childcare’s excellent support had boosted Archie’s development and confidence to a high enough level. It was determined that Archie could be placed at a mainstream school.
There were worries about how Archie would cope with the busy environment of mainstream school. YMCA Childcare organised a transition period to prepare Archie for the school environment. We supported Archie and his parents to visit the school before starting Reception. His new teacher visited him at YMCA Childcare and Archie has visited the Reception class. We shared Archie’s development journey so the teacher could gain a better understanding of Archie. By supporting Archie and his parents with the process it was a positive experience.
YMCA Childcare worked closely with both parents and all professionals, and gained additional support through external agencies through YMCA Childcare to support Archie, his parents, and our sta. We had a great understanding that Archie’s time with us at YMCA Childcare was crucial to ensure he was developmentally ready to start school. Archie has grown in confidence and can now communicate his needs and wants – vital for any child.
Archie is starting Reception at a mainstream school. YMCA Childcare is supporting Archie and his family with the transition to school and new key worker. Archie had a great boost at a key developmental stage at YMCA and is now ready to realise his full potential at school.