When my son Timothy was almost 4 years old, we realized that his behaviour had changed. From 2 years old his speech did not improve as well. As he was taught in 2 languages (Dutch and English) we however did not worry about that too much. After going to a normal pre-school, it appeared that Timothy had a problem and we did several tests and assessments with him, resulting in the diagnoses of autism and mental retardation.
After the assessment from 4 years onwards, instead of going to a normal school, Timothy has been educated and trained in special schools in Holland (The O.D.C. in Breda and the Z.M.L.K school St. Liduina in Breda), which has really improved f.i. his behavior, his mental development and his speech.
During this period I read and studied about autism in general, and especially in the way how to educate a child with autism. I have been studying his school programme and got lots of help from the teachers and hour home therapist Ingrid in Holland. And with the help of my therapist I trained myself to work with Timothy at home as well. Also I learned to give him structure in his daily routines which is very important and I learned to look through his eyes (auti-glasses) to be able to better understand how he looks into our world. Also I learned about the Teacch method (originated from America), which is a good method to help children with autism to develop their skills.
Timothy’s father is a Srilankan and our wish was to settle down in Sri Lanka, but because of the very rare possibilities to educate children with autism in Sri Lanka, this unfortunately was not possible.
About 2 years ago I decided that it would be great to set up a special school in Sri Lanka for children with autism myself. First of all it would enable us to live in Sri Lanka and have a school for our own son who has autism, and at the same time we would be able to help other children with autism for whom, at that moment, hardly any special education was available.
Although at the moment autism cannot be cured unfortunately, there are so many things that we can do to help these children. There are several ways of educating them. Autistic children learn in a different way because of their way of thinking. Unlike normal children, autistic children do not develop certain skills on their own. They need help of specialists who will guide them and help them to develop. A very good method to help them to develop their skills is the TEACCH Method.
On the 1st of March 2008 we arrived in Sri Lanka, on the 3rd of March Timothy went to his new school, which I have set up together with his new teacher from Sri Lanka . Timothy is doing great in his school. In the meantime we had 2 specialists working here on a voluntary basis (one speech therapist and one child development specialist). They have been a great help to me helping me to improve our programme and school environment to the maximum. Further more we have help from a Dutch teacher who has many years of experience in teaching children in England and Holland, who supplies us with lots of teaching materials. Also in future we will have foreign specialists (mostly child development specialists and speech therapists, and teachers) in our school to help our children.
It’s with great pleasure to introduce this website to you and we hope we can help many other children with autism to grow in their development in many ways and help them as much as possible to have a happy and independent live.
Desiree Jayakody (principal)