Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
In a rare and therefore valuable set up, as part of our mainstream building, we have a dedicated space for our ASD centre. This space is a part of the main building but ‘tucked away’, giving it a feeling of security and safety for autistic students with EHCPs. Since 2015, teaching assistants have been supporting autistic students within a specific space for timetabled, explicit teaching of social skills, life skills and communication skills. These sessions enable them to work towards their EHCP targets. The teaching assistants also support within mainstream lessons, supporting the autistic students with their academic, communication and social skills. The focus is also on personal development: strategies to organise themselves, self-regulate and build self-esteem.
The ASD centre has spaces for 12 students across Key stage 3 and 4. This small number allows support staff and allocated therapists (the Occupational Therapist, the Speech and Language Therapist, the Physical Disability Advisor and the Educational Psychologist) to get to know the students and support the students holistically. Recommendations and strategies are then shared with teaching staff and pastoral teams to ensure that support is school-wide and not exclusive to the centre. There are links with primary schools to support the Y6-Y7 transition process, and we have strong links with families to guide and support them through this period of time.
The students enjoy having a peer group with similar needs; they meet and support each other in timetabled sessions or at break or lunch, this is a valuable further layer of peer support in addition to the pastoral support that staff offer.
Enquiries are welcome from parents of students who have a diagnosis of ASD and an EHCP from the Local Education Authority. The teacher who leads the ASD unit is called Frances Dutton, SENCO and she can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org