Going into the school with stuff I prepared previously put together earlier in the week, such as laser cutting the blank jigsaws and buying an abundance of markers and crayons for drawing.
Once I arrived at the school I setup my workshop in the pastoral support room. This was a good location for the children as there wasn’t a lot of distractions, just a lot of files. I conducted the the workshop with two different groups of children, one of which was a group of three children with Low functioning autism and another group with two High functioning autistic children. This was to really to refine my research, to each end of the spectrum and hopefully help me decide what end my project is going to target. The workshop consisted of the children being given blank jigsaws and pens to draw whatever they wanted and once they had finished drawing the jigsaws would be swapped and they would potentially work together to complete there peers jigsaw. 1st group of children only two out of three actually completed a jigsaw puzzle drawing. Not sure if this was down to the severity of autism or due to the fact that there was three children trying interact together. Another insight from the first group was not to use crayons as they did not transfer great onto the puzzles.
Not only that but I didn’t make it clear that each square of the jigsaw had to be covered in order for the jigsaw to be successful the jigsaw (hence not leave it blank) making it very hard to put back together once taken apart.
Overall they seemed to react well to doing the puzzles but the fact that they were difficult to put together didn’t help. The child who didn’t take part drawing on the jigsaws was quite happy to complete the pre drawn/made jigsaw (in seconds). Another insight I gathered here is that there definitely is an interest here across the board. These insights were taken on to the next group and instructions were made much clearer.
As you can see the the jigsaws were much easier to follow. The children in the second group did have High functioning ASD and were much more vocal anyway but again responded well to the medium of the puzzles. The children clearly liked the jigsaws as they asked to take them away to keep (one of which gave it to his mother for valentine’s day). I made up kits for them to take away at the end of the day if they behaved well.
Main insights gathered from workshop 1:
– More than two children can be distracting for the children.
– The more intimate 1 to 1 group worked together better.
– If the medium of blank jigsaws is going to be taken forward then there has to be a structure in place to fill the whole puzzle with colour in order for the jigsaw to be successful.
– Jigsaws seemed to be very intriguing across both groups (after speaking to the teacher she informed me that liking jigsaws is also very common with autism.