Parents as Partners

At Southern Autistic School we believe that parents and teachers share a significant partnership in supporting a child’s development and education. 

Parents can do much to support and develop dignity and self esteem in their child.  The following are some ideas which you may like to implement at home.  If you would like more specific ideas for particular areas please contact the class teacher.

What are “living skills?” This is a term not used often at SAS since we are all living and therefore have living skills by just getting through the day. 


  • Independence Skills Development is the development of each student’s skills and abilities so that as far as possible they participate as part of community with dignity and as much independence as possible.   To develop such skills we at the school and parents and carers at home need to ensure that students learn skills in context and are given opportunities to take appropriate risks in order to practice and implement skills in context eg dressing skills are practised in readiness for the swimming program;  appropriate behaviours for mealtimes are developed as part of the class program requirements at lunch / snack times.   


Children should be encouraged to develop self help skills as this helps to develop dignity and self worth.

    • At home you may encourage this by giving your child opportunities to assist with dressing –perhaps one or two items at first extending to full routine.  He / she can take soiled clothing to the appropriate place.
    • Your child can be encouraged to unwrap food packets, open drink bottles, pour a drink.
  • Social Development
    • Encourage your child to put away playthings after use
    • Give your child opportunities to share toys, take turns and play in group situations
    • Children can also assist with setting and / or clearing the table - again begin with one or two items and then extend. 


As you encourage your child with these activities ensure that you break the skill down into small steps whilst keeping the long-term aim in view.  Encourage the development of the first step and then coactively work through the complete process so that he /she can see the desired result. 

  • Literacy & Numeracy

Literacy and numeracy are basic to all learning.  Literacy is the ability to listen, speak, read and write effectively within different social and cultural settings.  Numeracy is the ability to use mathematical understandings and skills effectively within different social and cultural understandings.

Listening and speaking are at the heart of all learning and, like reading and writing, are used for many purposes.  Communication can be used to interact with others, to make things happen, to find out things, to understand better, to share what we know and express our emotions. 

Communication is an important aspect of our school’s program.  One of the most important things to remember with our students is their need for increased time to process verbal information.  For some it can take up to twenty seconds to process a simple instruction. The average time is seven to ten seconds. Whilst that is taking place a repetition of the instruction interrupts the process and often the child becomes confused ... 

SO ...

  • Use simple instructions
  • WAIT - Give time for processing

Children who have had the experience of listening to stories and have lots of opportunities to talk about their experiences and thoughts will find speaking and listening at school easier.

Make a special time to read together every day.  It should be a happy part of your day when you enjoy reading together.  Depending on the familiarity of the book and its level of difficulty you can decide whether the book should be:

  • read to your child
  • read with your child
  • read by your child.

Reading to your child shows them how reading works and that it is enjoyable and valuable. 

Reading aloud with your child builds confidence in reading books that may be too difficult for them to try alone.

  • Show your child that you value and enjoy reading and writing.  A positive attitude is ‘catching”
  • Read print material together at the supermarket; on the television; on street signs/shops/billboards; on computer screens
  • Explain what you are doing when filling in forms; making lists; taking notes; leaving messages; writing cards and letters; keeping diaries etc.
  • Involve your child in writing birthday cards; thank you letters; lunch orders and labels; writing stories; keeping a diary etc
  • Provide pencils, pens, crayons and paper for your child
  • Display an alphabet strip with correct letter formations – these can be obtained from the school
  • Sing alphabet chants and play “I Spy”
  • Play word games like Scrabble
  • oin your local library and visit regularly
  • Make words on the refrigerator with magnetic letters
  • Many every day situations involve mathematics. Help your child to enjoy and learn about maths by encouraging them to talk and answering their questions.  You can encourage your child to notice patterns, shapes, size, order and numbers at home and in the world about them.
  • Look for and involve your child in the everyday use of maths
  • Counting money when shopping
  • Counting groups of objects
  • Measuring ingredients when cooking
  • Planning events using a calendar
  • Estimating and timing varying events
  • Giving and following instruction (don’t forget … TIME to process)
  • Sorting laundry / toys / buttons etc
  • Using diaries and calendars
  • Talk about what happens at different times of the day; on each day of the week; during each month of the year
  • Use calculators to play around with numbers and check answers : Can you make 12 / let’s count by 2’s
  • Do jigsaw puzzles, use Lego and other materials to build structures. Draw the structures
  • Practise counting forwards and backwards starting at different numbers
  • Play games such as Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly, card games, draughts, dominoes
  • Talk about the element of chance in your child’s life – It might rain today!

Points to keep in mind:

  • Though particular skills may be desirable they are not vital.  It is more important that a child comes to school curious; with an interest in the world around him / her and with a willingness to try things.
  • Children have different abilities and skills and they grow and progress at different rates.  Given encouragement, opportunity and time most children make progress in most areas.  Parents and teachers can provide opportunities and encouragement but sometimes patience is the most important gift – give your child time to master what he / she is attempting to learn.