Autism a guide for parents

Introduction

This leaflet aims to inform parents and carers about West Byfleet Junior’s School approach to supporting children with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

What is Autism?

The definition of Autism: Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to other people. It is a spectrum condition which means that while all people with Autism or ASD share certain difficulties although their condition may affect them in different ways. For a formal diagnosis of Autism to be made there will need to be some evidence of the triad of impairments which include difficulties with social and emotional ie. making friends, difficulties with language and communication ie. understanding body language, facial expression and gesture and difficulties with flexibility of thought ie. coping with changes in routine.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

While there are similarities with Autism, people with Asperger’s Syndrome have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language, however, they are often of average, or above average intelligence. They do not usually have the accompanying learning difficulties associated with Autism although they may have co-existing specific learning difficulties, such as, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and epilepsy.

Principles

At West Byfleet Junior School we recognise the strengths of pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and we aim to use these strengths as pathways to learning. Pupils with ASD have access to a full, broad and balanced curriculum. We recognise that pupils with ASD are likely to experience higher levels of stress than their peers and that this may impact on their learning, emotional well-being and self esteem. We have high expectations of all our children and the achievement of pupils is seen as everybody’s responsibility. All of our ASD children in 2014 achieved expected attainment (Level 4 in their SATS).

Early identification and Provision

It is the teacher’s responsibility to recognise the early symptoms of ASD which will normally be recognised in KS1 although parents and carers are often aware of the difficulties their child is encountering.  If a formal diagnosis has not been made in KS1, we will aim to identify children with ASD or Social and Communication difficulties following an initial consultation with parents or carers in Year 3.

Support

Action taken is guided by the school’s SEND policy and we may include all or some of the following in order to support ASD pupils;

  • Visual timetable on display in all classrooms.
  • Appropriate differentiated planning by the class teacher.
  • Multi-sensory teaching approaches.
  • Support from a Teaching Assistant under the guidance of the class teacher and SEND team.
  • Pre-teaching vocabulary, to improve understanding and comprehension.
  • Social skills group in order to improve social skills.
  • A Provision Map with smaller group work implemented when required.
  • Special arrangements for ASD pupils when they are taking exams.
  • Regular reviews to determine progress and evaluate the effectiveness of support.
  • Extra transition support between Key Stages.
  • Additional specialist advice from in-house ELSA (Mrs Eagle), Learning and Language support and Freemantles when required.
  • Access to an Educational Psychologist for children with a Education Health Care Plan or who are undergoing Statutory Assessment.

Resources

West Byfleet Junior School has built a resource bank of materials suited to teaching pupils with ASD including;

  • Language for Thinking to develop language and understanding.
  • Reading between the lines to develop inference and comprehension.
  • Reading and thinking Level 1 -6.
  • Reading Plus.
  • Auditory memory exercises.
  • Socially Speaking.
  • Talking about School.
  • What are they thinking?
  • Idioms to develop understanding of idioms used in everyday conversations.

Partnership with Parents

We encourage parents to share their concerns and we share information with parents about the support that is being provided in order to address their child’s difficulties. If you require any other information or strategies to use with you child please contact Katherine Severn (Inclusion Assistant) or Sarah O’Keeffe (Inclusion Manager).