Social worker, babysitter, and childminder from Portugal.
Tell us about your experience and needs working with autistic children and dealing with caring issues.
As a childminder, I work with a lot of children, some with special educational needs, including autism spectrum disorders. In my daily work, I feel the need to learn more about strategies, models, programmes, and methodologies to deal with autistic children, in order to help their parents.
Why are you interested in the ChildIN project?
I am interested in the ChildIN project because I need to improve my skills as childminder in order to respond to cope with challenging behaviour of children with autism in a safer and effective way. Furthermore, I would like to help and support other childminders as a trainer.
Why do you think that it is necessary to develop a training on autism for childminders?
In Portugal, there is a lack of awareness on autism. A lot of families have never heard of it until the doctor tell them “your child is on the autism spectrum”. Available information about the topic is increasing, but is not enough yet. And this lack resources is also true for almost all the childminders. In my opinion, they would never be able to do a good work with these children without knowing more about autism. But, of course, they also have to support the children when they have been diagnosed, and their parents. That’s why a specific training on autism for childminders is really necessary and very, very important.
What would be the project’s most valuable information/tool/result for you?
At first sight, the sharing of experiences and information related to autism between the trainers of the countries participating in the project will be very interesting in order to improve our work as childminders.
By participating in the ChildIN Mobility Days, I have learnt more about the different kinds of intervention programmes and models as never before.
I have realised, during the training session, that sometimes we should combine different strategies from different models. Moreover, it is necessary to know which models we should adopt with each autistic child given her/his uniqueness.
Children with autism tend to have repetitive behaviours and routine. So, with my involvement in the project, I hope to be able to help those children to be as stress-free as possible by understanding their routines and by taking into account their needs and interests.