Information - McDD

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 Children with McDD and school
A child with McDD needs an adapted environment that offers emotional security and enough overview. The unpredictability of the child needs to be restricted from the outside. So, you need to be clear and limit the child if necessary. When the emotions get control, the child needs help to reorganise their thoughts.
It is very important that parents and teachers are savvy about the difficult functioning of the child and that they realise that this behaviour isn't there to make their lifes difficult. The children themselves suffer the most.

The activities are planned according to a fixed program and have to be built fase-wise. First you start with two persons (adult - child), whereafter they lead the child through activities to occupation alone, followed by activities together with another child under supervision of an adult and next to activities together with other children.
There will always be some circumstances (parties, holidays, ...) that need an adaption of the program, which practically means that you have to take a few steps backward.

It is important that educational programs are tailored for children with some form of autism. Actually therefore it would be better that children are being diagnosed soon (about 4 year) so the educational program is adjusted on their individual needs. They will have to find the optimal didactical angle to get the education going. Cognitive behaviour therapy can be very usefull here.

What the school can do for children with McDD (and of course autism and other related disorders):
  • a predictable study program
  • a direct, steering educational environment (do this, do it this way, etc.)
  • a lot of structure:
    • structure in time (dividing of the day, order of tasks and lessons, occupations, steering of the working tempo)
    • structure in space (own place to work, stimulus-free environment, every activity its own place)
    • structure in rules (rosters, rules, walking routes, changes, reward, penalty)
    • structure in tasks (use of material, working to a result)
    • structure in environment (attitude, clear, predictable, consequent, neutral)

Also very important is to visualise what is asked. Always use short clear and concrete sentences. If necessary, repeat the message in the same way and give them time and space to process the information. Point to the relevant object (eg pictograms can be used as support).
Stay with the core of the task (no variations or extending). Create smaller tasks, make them simple, decisively and uniform. Make sure there are frequently moments for entertainment and lower the tempo and the goals.

Because the children are quicker on their emotional limits, it is the best thing to reduce impulses and to accept that those children react different, quicker and extremer than children without a developmental disorder.

A teacher will need the following skills to be able to handle a child with a developmental disorder:
  • individual treatment
  • ensuring serenity and predictability
  • understanding the specific behaviour characteristics of the concerning child
  • being able to apply visualisation methods and adapting language
  • creating structure in time, space and activities

Also the school itself is responsible and has to take care for a safe and predictable climate, inside and also outside the classroom. Make agreements with the child, so it knows what is suspected and suggest somebody as a given contactpoint.
© 2006 #McDD - realisation: E. Appermont