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Provision for Autism

Autism is a neurological difference in brain development that has a marked effect on how a person develops. It is a life-long developmental disability.

There are four areas of difference that are particularly important for staff in schools and educational settings to understand, and to know how these can affect pupils' actions and learning.

 These areas of difference are:

  1. Sensory processing
  2. Thinking flexibly
  3. Getting on with others
  4. Using and understanding language

Every child on the autism spectrum has a unique pattern of strengths and difficulties meaning that we tailor the support they need accordingly.

We believe that the strategies below will help each child to:

  • Adapt
  • Feel safe
  • Reduce their anxiety
  • Address their sensory needs
  • Achieve their full potential and become independent learners

Strategies to support a child with sensory difference might/ can include:

  • Watching for signs that the child is becoming overloaded e.g. flapping, humming, becoming restless
  • Responding accordingly or even better anticipating the need to support by keeping the child's work area clutter-free and using a sensory diet - allowing a movement break or time to calm

Strategies to support a child with thinking flexibly might/ can include:

Being clear and consistent:

  • Using simple direct language to give instructions and explain the plan
  • Using positive instructions
  • Sticking to the plan and doing what we say we will do
  • Giving early warning if a change of plan is unavoidable

Making things manageable:

  • Breaking  tasks down into chunks
  • Using visuals (visual timetables,  whiteboards, now/next) and gesture to reinforce understanding
  • Using checklists and narratives frames to help the child structure their ideas and organise

Rewarding positive behaviour:

  • Using reward charts with motivating/special interest tokens
  • Using positive commentary to reinforce focus and desired behaviours

Strategies to support a child with ‘getting on with others’  might/ can include:

  • Teaching and repeating good learning and classroom rules
  • Supporting a child at playtimes: explaining rules, modelling and supporting  appropriate play
  • Allowing behaviour that is safe (e.g. chest-tapping) and redirecting any that is not (e.g. throwing ball at target rather than over fence).
  • Allowing for ‘down-time’ alone if needed
  • Speaking clearly, slowly and calmly
  • Using as few words as possible to get a message across
  • Allowing lots of time to process what is being said
  • Making things visual (white board/signing)
  • Avoiding sarcasm and idioms and being  clear and direct when using language
  • Using visual word banks to help with more specialised or abstract vocabulary
  • Explicitly teaching the meaning of facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures
  • Using scaffolding questions to help them ‘read between the lines’

Children on the autism spectrum have many strengths too, which can often include them having/being:

  • Intense focus
  • Concrete thinkers
  • Special Interests
  • Visual learners

These vary from child to child but we recognise each child’s individual strengths and use them to help address the child’s difficulties.

Staff Development and Training

All teaching staff receive Autism Education Trust Level 1 training from ‘Ambitious about Autism’, a national charity for children and young people with Autism.  We also provide in-house training for all staff on a regular basis during TA training or staff development meetings.

We are in the process of developing a ‘care pathway' ‘for all children who have a diagnosis of Autism or who are waiting to be assessed. At the GHF we have a member of staff who is highly skilled in working with children on the Autism spectrum. She has been able to provide support to several children with autism across different sites and the impact of her support has been outstanding.  She also works very closely with our Independent Speech and Language Therapists and they have recently provided some vital and important outreach work to a local secondary and primary school.

Larkhall Centre for Autism

We work in close partnership with teachers, who provide outreach support to schools, from Larkhall Centre for Autism. They visit schools on a weekly basis and provide advice and support to children, parents, SENCos, teachers, Special Educational Needs Practitioners (SENP) and teaching assistants.

We also work very closely with the Educational Psychology Service, Occupational Therapy Service, the NHS Speech and Language Service and our Independent Speech and Language therapists, Andrea Richards and Meg Palmer.

Parents

We work very closely with parents and by having an open door policy we believe that parents feel supported and are informed about their child’s progress and needs.

How you can help your child on the autism spectrum?

  • Warn your child of things changing and explain why.
  • Be consistent and clear. Do what you say will do. Keep to the plan.
  • Break tasks down for your child - one step at a time.
  • Help them work out what the problem is and find the best solution.
  • Use visual support (draw, write things down, make posters, ‘first you’re doing and then you’re doing that’) to reduce anxiety and help them follow instructions.
  • Use checklists and reminders to help them organise themselves.
  • Use special interests to motivate and engage.
  • Use reward charts – choose rewards that interest them.
  • Keep to a simple and clear routine

Local parent support groups:

Lambeth@nas.org.uk
Southwark@nas.org.uk

The above offer regular meetings and information about autism provision in Lambeth and Southwark.

Key Contacts

If you have any concerns about your child’s development please speak to your child’s class teacher or the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo).

  • Kingswood Primary School Lower Site
  • Kingswood Primary School Upper Site
  • Elm Wood Primary School
  • Paxton Primary School
  • Crawford Primary School
  • Fernstanton Primary School
  • Glenbrook Primary School
school contacts

How To Find Us

Contact Gipsy
Hill Federation