My Supports, South Australia, is making a difference with Developmental Education. Developmental Educators (DE’s) adopt a holistic, strengths-based and person-centred approach and work from a human rights framework. DE’s achieve positive outcomes through partnerships and trust — they not only support the individual, but take into account the characteristics of the family as a whole. Taking time to build authentic, solid rapport with individuals is vital in being able to support and work with them on current goals, needs and strengths. DE’s use observational, joining, and listening skills so that a child or individual is at ease and feels comfortable enough to communicate verbally, through facial expressions, and body language. DE’s make learning experiences positive and fun for everyone.
We asked our DE’s to share, with the client’s consent, some feedback on the support they provide.
Having a child tell you that since you began working with them, they now recognise different emotions and how feelings affect not only for themselves, but others around them, is a great feeling. The child is now able to implement strategies that work specifically for them when confronted with a challenging moment. For example, when angry, taking three deep breaths and being able to use positive verbal communication to explain how they feel, instead of yelling or hitting.
A very energetic and bright young boy who has a love of animals, bright colours, and Pokémon. Too much noise, stimulation, and an overwhelming feeling of tasks and conversations can set him off. He can have melt downs (as his mum likes to call them), or feel very exhausted and stressed when it’s all too much. With weekly developmental education, he has learnt to express himself comfortably both verbally and through visual activities and games. The DE has provided his Support Worker with a variety of strategies, and the weekly support they provide means he can continue to build on his muscle tone and strength, learn how to express emotions that others can read, and understand and participate in art-based therapy activities to aid relaxation.
A parent informed our DE their child's Paediatrician wanted to put him on Risperidone. They recently visited the Paediatrician again, and due to the therapy conducted by a Developmental Educator around recognising triggers and learning coping mechanisms, the child no longer requires drugs.
A Developmental Educator provided support to a family who were quite dysfunctional, they enabled counselling and a safe haven for them to communicate together. They now experience new family dynamics and improved communication.