Lauren is a 10-year-old girl who has a diagnosis of Autism. She was referred to Learning Space due to her anxiety and difficulty regulating her emotions. Before meeting Lauren, I had a telephone meeting with her parents to understand her needs, interests, strengths, and challenges. Lauren's parents opted for her to attend sessions online as her family were still quite nervous about catching COVID-19 due to vulnerabilities in their household.
I met Lauren with her parents on zoom for eight sessions. I asked Lauren to come prepared with dice, pens and paper and prepared PowerPoints that I shared on the screen with the visual content of the session. In the first session, we played games to get to know one another using the dice. We also used the interactive whiteboard to draw a picture of her family.
Lauren set three goals for the sessions….
To have fewer meltdowns
To know what to do when she is having a meltdown
To learn some self-care goals.
In the 'get to know you' game Lauren told me that she loved Harry Potter and was in Ravenclaw house. I used Lauren's love of Harry Potter to theme and personalise her sessions and make them fun and meaningful, harnessing her engagement. For example, we created spells to pair with calm breathing techniques.
Throughout the work, Lauren learnt about different emotions, the bodies stress responses, and other ways to cope when things became too much. Her parents shared this knowledge, and new skills were practised at home between sessions. With Lauren's permission, I worked closely with her school to understand her anxiety presentation and suggested strategies to help reduce her discomfort and sensory overwhelm. Lauren worked so hard throughout the sessions, tried out emotional regulation approaches, worked out what supported her, and made progress on all three of her goals.