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Enhancing provision for children on the autism spectrum Dr Glenys Jones University of Birmingham 23 January 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing provision for children on the autism spectrum Dr Glenys Jones University of Birmingham 23 January 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing provision for children on the autism spectrum Dr Glenys Jones University of Birmingham 23 January 2015

2 Flexibility of thought and behaviour Communication and language Sensory issues Attention differences Social and emotional understanding Main areas affected in autism/Asperger syndrome

3 Identification - Think about/assess EVERY pupil in the group/class And not just those with recognised SEN In particular – help others ascertain what the pupil enjoys about school; their degree of inclusion with peers in class and outside; their emotional and physical well- being; any anxieties about life at school or at home; ambitions for the future; their happiness….. Use the strategies developed for those with autism and ALL children at a school will benefit including those that have not yet been identified as having SEN or autism

4 Areas of difference in autism 1 Communication and language: difficulties in using and understanding spoken words, facial expression, gesture, body language, and intonation, irrespective of how intellectually able they are problems in reading for meaning, taking spoken language literally, issues in understanding sarcasm, jokes, metaphors

5 Areas of difference in autism 2 Social and emotional understanding knowing what to say and do in different social contexts - so often criticised for being rude, inappropriate, insensitive, lacking empathy A pupil’s limited facial expression can mean that staff think they are fine and coping when they are not

6 Difficulties in thinking and behaving flexibly Issues in predicting, perspective-taking, preference for routines and familiarity, issues in shifting and dividing attention and in processing and working memory Areas of difference in autism 3

7 Areas of difference in autism 4 Sensory challenges Sensory overload - overwhelmed Delayed perception – need time Over and under sensitive Sights, sound, touch, smell, taste, body awareness, balance

8 Criticised by staff and pupils alike for not doing the right thing (autism is invisible) Exhausted by the effort of trying to work out what to do, how to join the group May seem arrogant, opinionated for not seeing others’ points of view – and genuinely mystified as to why other people are interested in talking about topics that hold no interest for them. School is a very challenging place if you have autism…

9 Problems in shifting and dividing attention means that they are often literally deaf to peers and staff Have problems with prioritising and working to time Only motivated by what interests them – not by social rewards Can be upset when others break the rules and will report on other pupils and staff

10 School is a very challenging place if you have autism… Pupils are vulnerable to being exploited materially and sexually as they are socially naïve or want to gain friends – so check on the nature of their relationships with other pupils and teach them to be assertive and how to judge intentions Can take written and spoken language literally (eg Clown worksheet next slide)

11 What might be the difficulties for a child with autism with this worksheet? Can you solve the clown’s problems?

12 Areas where pupils need help Need help to gain a friend – hugely important for self-esteem, learning what is OK/not OK and protection from bullying Need help to read for meaning in tasks and exams Need help to prioritise work, to understand how to revise, to help make good choices of subjects and University course Need time away from others – to spend time on special interest

13 Areas where pupils need help To be warned in advance of any changes to routines To be given more details of events/ procedures than other pupils Need support and not sanctions when it is the misunderstanding that comes from autism or a problem arising from poor organisational skills If their response is very different from other pupils of the same ability, then one has to consider which aspect of their autism/dyslexia, dyspraxia might have led to this When instructions given, ask the pupil to show you what they are going to do, to check their understanding

14 Areas where pupils need help To cue in to what is relevant in a lesson – as their attention might be elsewhere Not to insist on eye contact – as many autistic people find this painful and easier to listen if they do not have to look at the person To check on their sensory issues – using the checklist in the AET materials

15 Areas which affect well-being and can continue into adulthood Sleep deprivation common leading to irritability, lowered performance Food and drink – may be limited, intermittent, not fully digested– so may be hungry, in pain, dehydrated, constipated Toileting may be difficult or signals not noticed – if absorbed in an activity Any ONE of these can affect performance and mood

16 Free resources for schools, early years and post 16 AET Standards, Competency Framework and Parents Guide – find at Inclusion Development Programme – online study materials on autism


18 Aims of the Hertfordshire review on educational provision for children with autism To identify key issues, concerns and successes in the education of children with autism To consider how to enhance provision and increase a school’s capacity to take a wider range of children To make best use of resources To clarify the Hertfordshire offer

19 Challenges in autism throughout the UK Increasing number of children identified with autism – at least 1 in 100 Needs and profiles are very diverse across the population Autism is missed by schools and other professionals as it is not as visible in able, passive children, particularly in girls School is one of the most demanding environments if you have autism

20 Challenges in autism throughout the UK Reduction in support services and therapists No robust evidence on which interventions or settings are best for any individual with autism BUT growing consensus from experience of what makes a positive difference………. Adult style, physical and sensory environments, stress reduction, using special interests, listening to the pupils

21 Issues for Hertfordshire Limited budget which is unlikely to increase so need to use resources to best effect To provide for all pupils locally for good parent links and reduced transport costs and community support Data on how many pupils there are with autism is hard to ascertain where this is not listed as the primary need

22 Issues for Hertfordshire Placement of Statemented children in each DSPL varies in terms of: 1.Proportion who attend school WITHIN their DSPL 2.Proportion of children at schools out of Herts 3.Proportion of children in mainstream schools WHY?

23 Sources of information for the review Staff in mainstream and special schools and bases Advisory service and Educational Psychologists Parents and carers Data on placements made for children in each DSPL Literature on autism and interventions Survey data from 162 schools and 4 Colleges

24 A lot of work done by schools on these aspects of practice

25 No work has been done on these aspects by some schools

26 Support from CD Autism Team

27 Rating of support from Educational Psychologists

28 Support from ESCs

29 Support from CAMHS

30 Staff concerns/issues What to do prior to diagnosis which can take a long time Good schools can become a magnet How can we measure non academic progress? Many mainstream staff have little or no knowledge of autism Caseloads of support staff do not allow sufficient time to support schools and families

31 Staff issues and concerns Insufficient time to liaise with parents ENF funding often turned down for reasons which are not clear Staff find pupils’ problems hard to understand and confused by uneven profiles – so assume they should be able to do X. Insufficient work done on peer-peer inclusion Hanging on to difficult children hides the extent of the problems some schools face

32 Staff issues and concerns Parents who appear not to accept the diagnosis Parents who do not want their child or other children to know their child has autism

33 Parents’ issues and concerns Parents want more information at diagnosis and shorter waiting times Schools don’t ‘get it’ Staff do not take parents’ concerns seriously – particularly when child is academically able Hard to get to see key staff Would like more frequent meetings with staff

34 Parents’ issues and concerns CAMHS services not as helpful as hoped Would like separate/alternative provision – bases or a school for able, anxious children Would like staff to work on social and emotional well-being and life skills Inconsistent support – good support can disappear when the child moves class or school

35 Parents’ issues and concerns Children are given repeated sanctions which do not work Parents feel they are talked into managed moves by the threat of exclusion Child’s part-time attendance limits parents’ employment and quality of life

36 Summary All schools need to be good at meeting the needs of children with autism, so how do we best share good ideas? Parents and staff need to work more closely together Non-academic areas – particularly social understanding and peer inclusion and life skills need to be developed Explore reasons for differences in DSPL area placements

37 Summary Needs of very anxious, able children need to be identified and addressed more effectively Consideration needs to be given as to how all schools can better meet the needs of all children A need to explore alternative provision for some, not yet made in Hertfordshire Advice on how to support children and schools where behaviour challenges staff

38 Summary: Training and dissemination A need to continue to raise awareness of how to recognise autism and where the child is struggling to know where to refer A need to share issues in teaching children with autism and to disseminate strategies which help A need to develop skills to engage effectively with parents about their child QUESTION: How are the skills and expertise of staff best developed? QUESTION: How is this currently done and to what effect?

39 Four TASKS for DSPL Areas, 4, 7 and 9 1.Whole school audit using AET Standards (4P; 2S; 1 special; 1 base) and include pupils and parents in this, using AET Standards 2.Parent/carer engagement with schools, staff to complete a questionnaire 3.How do we understand, prevent and manage behaviour which challenges staff and families and how do we identify passive children who are highly anxious or not happy? 4.Explore DSPL placement patterns and ENF funding


41 Four main areas in both the Standards and the Competency Framework

42 Rating scale for the Standards For each Standard the staff will consider the extent to which it is met, as follows: Schools will then consider whether work on each Standard is low, medium or high priority to create an action plan

43 57 competencies 33 core competencies 27 advanced competencies Resources and links illustrating the competency Links to the National Standards

44 Extract from Parent guide: for parents to complete………

45 Full article can be found on AET Schools Standards

46 Thank you Any questions/comments

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