Is a home teaching programme for children with special needs and their parents. Set up in America in the 1960s, it involves a specially trained portage worker who supports the family by:
• Carefully explaining developmental areas such as language , motor skills, cognitive skills, stimulation, self-help and socialisation
• Working in partnership with parents to produce a learning programme for a child with a number of tasks to be achieved
• Helping a child to achieve the tasks set in a learning programme by breaking them down into smaller and more manageable actions, for example, the task of doing up a button will be broken down into several smaller movements, and over a period of time the child works towards achieving each of these until eventually the task can be completed as a whole. All effort is accompanied by a lot of encouragement and positive reinforcement
• Ensuring that tasks are realistic for the child concerned, i.e. that they are not too difficult nor too easy
• Encouraging the parent to reinforce the task at different times in the week when there is opportunity to sit quietly with the child and work together.
All successes are carefully recorded and enjoyed by all those involved. The portage scheme can be used with children with a variety of disabilities. (See children with disabilities.)