Planning matrix as a tool

Planning matrix screenshot

More support comes to regional and remote areas

Orbost mother, Liz Kenny explains the need for programs like Positive Partnerships

Indigenous mother of three’s youngest child Michael, was diagnosed with high functioning autism (HFA) at 2 years old.

Liz explains, “we first noticed signs of autism in Michael when he did not meet the normal developmental milestones that my other children had. At times he acted as though he was deaf - he was able to turn on the TV or reach for food, but never spoke.

“Still, it’s his difficulty communicating and interacting socially that are the most pronounced. We often hear feedback from teachers that he’s quiet in class, but very articulate and precise in handwriting.”

Michael attends Orbost Secondary College which is a mainstream school with a few children on the spectrum.

“Our principal has attended the Positive Partnerships Professional Development Workshops and we’ve found that they are very open to trying new strategies to improve the kids’ experience at school.

“The teachers use the Matrix system, which we learnt at Positive Partnerships. It has proven to be a very effective teaching and learning aid. We’re looking to review Michael’s Matrix with his teacher every term, to revisit which teaching strategies have and haven’t been successful. I think this will be very beneficial, particularly through the teenage years where his interests are changing so rapidly.

“Beyond the Matrix, I’ve learnt a lot from the Positive Partnerships workshops. What I like the most is that the facilitators recognise that every child’s ASD is different and what works for Michael may not work for another student. In fact, I found the information given so useful and concise that I passed in onto a counsellor. I plan to give it to the school later in the year, as additional reference material for teachers and teaching assistants.

“The other special needs program my family is involved in is STEPS – Specialised Therapeutic Education for Physical and Social Skills. We find this is a great way to expose Michael to a variety of leisure, life skill and self-confidence building exercises. This and Positive Partnerships are programs that I hold in high regard as they’ve provided so many tools to help with my son’s development. I would recommend both to all parents of children with ASD.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn from Positive Partnerships. It would be great to see even more qualified support of this kind to help people like Michael in regional communities,” said Liz.

Watch our video about community development in Orbost