Since Cindy van Zyl, our Vodacom Change the World volunteer at Beudene, has established a structure where the skills of the Autistic learners can be measured and monitored on a regular basis, there has been tremendous growth in the learners with Autism. A buddy system has been initiated at the start of the programme where the learners with higher functional skills assist in the development of the functional skills of the ones with Autism.
The buddy system has opened new avenues for social skills development. The autistic learners have to generalize and adapt to different personality types as a new buddy is continually allocated to them. Says Cindy: "We are amazed how this system has also assisted with the development of their social skills".
This system gives purpose to both parties and the purpose lies in the relationships. The rewards received with the cards that are posted and the buddy who voices their accomplishments, contributes so much to the development of their social skills. This initiative has proved to provide much purpose to those learners with higher functional skills.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“It is hard for me to tell you what I need when I don’t know the words to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened or confused but right now those words are beyond my ability to express. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation, or other signs that something is wrong.”