How does the AEIOU program work?
AEIOU Foundation has standardised its curriculum across all centres and the program is underpinned by evidence-based practices.
AEIOU is committed to meeting the 2012 Australian Good Practice Guidelines, and has measures in place to assess the program, the developmental milestones children are making, and to ensure the program is consistent across all centres.
The program is focussed on education with therapy support, so every child has access to teachers, learning facilitators, and allied health professionals including behaviour therapists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists.
Each child has individual strengths and needs, so upon enrolment, children will be assessed and an Individual Plan (IP) will be established to support your child while they engage in the program.
Parents are kept informed of this process and have access to information, advice and workshops to ensure the family unit is supported.
All classrooms feature a high staff to child ratio, with priority given the specific skills:
- Communication and language skills
- Joint attention and attending skills
- Self-help skills for everyday life
- Cognitive development
- Social interaction and play skills
- Fine and gross motor skills
The program operates 48 weeks each year on an intensive basis. Fees for the service are spread evenly across these weeks.
How can I manage my NDIS funded supports?
If the Early Childhood Planner/Coordinator determines that your child requires a NDIS plan, the Early Childhood Planner/Coordinator you will ask how you would like to manage the funded supports.
There are four ways to manage your funded supports, you may choose to be:
- Agency Managed (the NDIS manages your funds. We find most of our families choose this method as they find this the easiest). AEIOU submits a claim for the services they have provided to your child and the NDIA then pays AEIOU. You are able to track any claims made by service providers on your NDIS portal account.
- Self-Managed (you are responsible for managing your funded supports and keep track and records of all expenditure).
- Provider Managed (you may elect a third party to manage your funded supports. In this instance, you provide the expenses to the provider and they make the payments for you).
- A combination of all of the above.
What happens in the program on a day-to-day basis?
AEIOU centres open from 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday to provide specialised care outside of our intensive program times. The intervention / education program operates from 9am- 2:30pm, daily. It is essential children arrive on time to commence the program by 9am.
Children begin the day with circle time, and learn to use their ‘visual schedules’ to understand the day’s activities. They join a number of learning centres to assist with social and emotional learning, peer interaction, turn taking, role play, language and communication, sorting and matching, and outdoor experiences, to name a few. Toilet training is an important element of the program and once a child commences at AEIOU, the team will assess if the child is ready to begin toilet training and if so, begin the process as a priority.
How much will it cost for a child to attend the centre?
AEIOU structures its fees to ensure the program is as affordable as possible for all families. Every family’s out of pocket expenses can differ based on income and the subsequent rebates they are eligible to access.
As South Australia has transitioned to the NDIS, families have their child’s needs assessed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and funding is provided by that agency in accordance with assessed needs. Families can also offset their fees with the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate, depending on individual eligibility. Families are encouraged to register for a CCR (Child Care Rebate) to be returned direct to AEIOU to reduce out of pocket expenses.
To view a Fee Fact sheet regarding out-of-pocket expenses and rebates, contact the centre or visit http://aeiou.org.au/adelaide-fee-structure.
It costs AEIOU Foundation up to $50,000 per year for each child to deliver the program, and families are responsible for about half of this cost. AEIOU fundraises up to $10,000 per year per child to help keep fees down.
AEIOU has established the Lynn Wright Memorial Fund to provide financial assistance to families. Contact Central Office and speak to Katrina Ives (direct: 07 3320 7545), or Louise Hargrave-Smith (direct: 07 3320 7510) for more information.
Is the program only available full-time?
The Australian Good Practice Guidelines states children benefit best from around 20 hours of early intervention per week. In line with this, AEIOU recommends families enrol on a full-time basis to start, with the opportunity to review the enrolment in six or 12 months.
AEIOU will support part-time placements where possible, particularly in regional centres. A part-time enrolment means a child attends the centre on a regular five-day fortnight, with three days in a row one week, and two days in a row the following week.
How long does it take to develop a child’s individual plan?
Each child begins receiving intensive therapy immediately, however, their individual plan may take around eight weeks to complete.
Each child will undergo an assessment upon his or her enrolment, and once a child starts at the centre, our team will get to know each child better and identify their strengths and needs to inform the key developmental goals. An Individual Plan will then be created and be implemented within the framework of the program every day, with regular reviews.
How is therapy delivered at AEIOU Foundation & what outcomes can I expect?
Each child has access to support from disciplines including behaviour therapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology. Children receive group therapies on a daily basis, and therapy strategies, tools and tactics are imbedded into the program, with all staff receiving regular training. What this means is that even when a therapist is not with a child, the team is delivering therapy through every aspect of the program.
Therapists at AEIOU do not operate under the traditional 1:1 withdrawal method, although on occasion your child may receive individual support if required. The therapists share their time across all classrooms and children are encouraged to generalise their new skills with a variety of staff and within a naturalistic environment.
Every child’s strengths and needs are different, but each team is expected to be dedicated to supporting each child to meet a number of important goals and milestones. Studies show that children who complete the two-year program at AEIOU Foundation experience a reduction in autism symptoms, and over 70% of children transition to mainstream schools. However, AEIOU work with families to identify the best learning environment for their child prior to the transition process.
Our team is both professional and caring and it is important to us that children are learning in a fun, rewarding and social environment. We approach behaviour positively and proactively and strive to create a strong foundation for communication, self-help skills, academic learning and motor skills.
We keep families updated about the progress of their child, and adjust goals accordingly. For more information about the kinds of outcomes to expect, speak to the centre manager during the creation of the Individual Plan.
How are families involved in the AEIOU program?
Families can access a number of workshops and training sessions throughout the term to assist with supporting their child at home. Workshops may be hosted by the team in the centre, or by a visiting senior teacher or therapist.
AEIOU hosts a free parent conference every second year, with the next conference scheduled for 2016. In addition to this, At AEIOU, many of our centres play host to the local MyTime sessions, which can provide a great opportunity to meet local families who may be able to share advice, tips and strategies.
We encourage families to be actively involved at a centre level, recognising the more a family can incorporate strategies from the program into the home setting, the more successful the intervention will be. Teachers ensure this is balanced and there are not too many demands placed on each child.
Parent forums are held at least once per term, and parents are encouraged to attend, to raise any issues, concerns or initiatives they would like to address or implement. AEIOU also hosts quarterly meetings where parents from across centres have an opportunity to engage with the CEO, senior management team and a Board Director to gain insight into the Foundation’s operations and liaise with other centre representatives. In most instances, one or two representatives are nominated from each centre for this program.
Families might also choose to support AEIOU Foundation by sharing their family story, or by participating in events or promotions. Many volunteer to assist the parent fundraising committee, or other fundraising activities, and if so, are supported by a central office representative. However, please note this level of support is not essential or expected.
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