Early Steps FAQ
Here are some FAQ that we are often asked.
What do I get by joining your course?
Once you come for a free trial, we will assess your child in the session and record a baseline of their skills and difficulties at the start of the course. Provided we are agreed we have a suitable group, and you are happy after your trial, we will then work for 7 more weeks with you and your child to develop their skills. During this time, we will be available to discuss areas of difficulty at home, such as sleep, toileting or eating issues, and will be available for email contact in between sessions. At the end of the 8 weeks, we will give you a detailed report of their progress and strategies used to achieve this.
Who runs the groups?
Groups are run by two experienced behavioural therapists Michelle and Carina.
We have certification from the behaviour analysis certification board based in the US and are members of the UK society for behaviour analysts. We have a combined 35 years’ experience and will work alongside parents to support children with the activities and tasks. We welcome any family, friends or professionals involved in your child’s life who would be interested in seeing what we do or receiving some training for their personal or professional development.
Who attends the groups?
We help children who have not learned social, language, independence or appropriate behaviour from a typical mainstream approach, for example a regular preschool. This might include children with speech delay or emerging social communication needs, children with or without a diagnosis of developmental delay, Down Syndrome or autism.
How does the group work?
We help you practise in the format of a preschool or toddler group, but with fewer children and a high adult to child ratio. There will be time for free play where we can assess needs and observe progress as well as structured adult led games, crafts and activities. We will also work on routines such as lining up, make a circle, waiting with hand up, story and song time.
How can I fund attendance at the group?
Initially, our families will be funding attendance privately. The cost will be in line, priced per half hour with a sports class or lesson. We are in the process of speaking to local authorities and parish councils around some funded or partially funded places. Please let us know if you would like to apply for a funded place and we will keep in touch directly with developments around this.
How will my child be allocated to a group?
We aim to keep costs manageable by teaching in a group, therefore, the instructions and tasks presented must be appropriate and at the level of all children in attendance. We will have two general groups, incorporating further individualisation within each. Group 1 is to develop early learning and communication skills, for example working on independent requesting, following simple instructions and reducing adult support.
Group 2 is a social interaction group which looks at more complex skills such as negotiating, tolerating other people’s opinions, group learning, and developing friendship. Once children have attended one course, it is possible for them to re-enrol on another group, or on the same group to develop another set of goals. We also plan for children to be offered the opportunity to attend without parents to work on separation and settling in, once we have seen clear progress across the initial skills.
What kind of progress should I expect to see?
The best progress will be seen when parents go away and practise the strategies and processes demonstrated in the groups. We expect your child to have clear goals that can be observed across a range of situations. By monitoring weekly, we can extend that goal once we see progress.
Will you work with other professionals?
As mentioned above, we welcome visits from preschool key workers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists or volunteers working with your child. If you have any reports or recommendations of skills you would like us to help you practise, we can provide an opportunity to do this within the groups.
Do I need to attend Early Steps if my child is already at Preschool?
We recognise that children with additional needs struggle in bigger groups and it can be difficult to practise skills repeatedly when other children are learning at a different pace. We can provide a consistent approach that is focused on your child’s needs, rather than following class rules. For example, a child who cannot wait without shouting or pushing is likely to benefit from an approach that increases waiting gradually, starting with one second and building up to 2 minutes. This can be very difficult to implement consistently in a preschool where other children want that item and it is hard to ensure exact timings with the item are followed consistently. We can also isolate a skill that is part of a bigger sequence and practise that repeatedly until the child is confident. For example, washing hands for snack. We can dedicate time to teach hand washing and repeat this until the child has mastered all steps independently (tap on, push soap, rub hands, rinse hands) without lots of other children waiting to use the sink, or limited time to eat snack before outside play begins
How will I be charged?
The first session is free. If you would like to proceed, we will invoice you for the remaining 7 weeks. You can pay this is this in two instalments if preferred.
What if I can’t attend one week?
You are welcome to attend a week on another course
I can’t make the time or location. What can you do?
We operate as a pop-up clinic, so can run sessions wherever there is sufficient demand, within the Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire borders. If you have contact with other parents in your area and would like us to run an 8-week course, we can investigate suitable locations.
How many children will attend?
We need a minimum of 3 children in the group, and can accommodate 8 children per group for enough support from the behaviour specialists running the group
What if my child already has an early intervention programme?
We are happy to work alongside existing providers such as those providing home based ABA programmes. We see our groups as an extension of a home or nursery-based programme, as we can provide the small group practice a child needs which may not be possible in their regular setting.