Our approach Our approach is a wraparound approach with each person having a voice and leading the key stakeholders in the health and well being to support each individual's progress.Our approach is a wraparound approach with each person having a voice and leading the key stakeholders in the health and well being to support each individual's progress. I am who I amAs parents and educators we need to remember that we do not change who our students are. Their particular issues are lifelong. What we can do is minimise the impact of their difficulties by supporting them to learn. This is very important. The difference between a talented amateur and an Olympic medallist is good Learning to Learn An important part of success at EdSpace is a safe environment and stress management. When someone is stressed they are not able to learn new things, and they tend to lose the skills that they already know. As a rule, sitting in a classroom listening or reading is less effective for learning (especially for our students) than other strategies that engage all of the senses. Experiential learning and Applied learning means learning in a particular environment while engaged in an activity. It is allows access to experiences that the students would otherwise not have outside of Edspace, and is also important in learning how to transfer skills learned in one setting to another. It uses the skills developed in the classroom setting to put the learning into context in real life, to perform a task. To learn best, our students need very small groups, with lots of visual instruction and structure, consistent support, but the flexibility to deal with problems when they arise. Our students have short recess times at school, as this is the time of day when most problems occur in mainstream schools (because of lack of structure). This compensates for the fact that our students don’t do homework. They cover more work at school, and there is little evidence that homework makes much difference in this context. Having said that, some of our students choose to do homework voluntarily! Many of our students need scaffolding in areas to help them learn. This means using tools to help them deal with areas that they find difficult, so that they can concentrate on the important things that they need to learn. This can be as simple as tools like a spell checker, dictionary or calculator, or more complex tools that help with generating ideas or decision-making. These tools are in widespread use in the adult world. For example it is not helpful to spend so much time learning to handwrite legibly that the student doesn’t have enough time to learn more important literacy (have you ever read a doctor’s handwriting?). Managing Problems Difficult behaviours and challenges will always occur, and not infrequently students arrive at EdSpace with the experience of punishments in the past, which haven’t necessarily changed things. EdSpace uses the model of ABC (Antecedent, Behaviour, Consequence), which looks at the underlying causes of problem behaviours and attempts to deal with it at that level. Good communication between school and family is the key to sorting out issues. When a problem does occur at school, there is a meeting between the student or students concerned (the whole group if appropriate) and the teacher, and the event is worked through (a mediation process). Often there are misunderstandings of social interactions as a significant part of the problem. Specific tools, such as social stories, and social autopsies are used to work through the causes, and consequences of behaviours, and are very helpful. There is good evidence that a focus on positive behaviours is much more effective in the long run than punishment.