Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Advice and information for parents of children and young people with a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of Autism

Dacorum DSPL wrote a leaflet, working with parents, head teachers, SENCos, and Autism Advisory teachers. The leaflet is for parents and carers who either think their child may have autism, or who have recently received a diagnosis. The leaflet lists support groups and strategies that can be used whether the child or young person has a diagnosis or not. The leaflet can be downloaded using the orange button on the right, but is also available from paediatricians at the Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centre, all Dacorum Schools and School Family Workers.

Autism Review and Autism Education Trust materials

Vicky McKirgan is Dacorum’s Area SEND Lead, and her role is primarily to support schoosl implementing the recommendations of the recent Autism Review.

Following on from the 2015 “Review of Education Provision for Children and Young People on the Autistic Spectrum” by Glenys Jones, a number of recommendations are to be implemented. One recommendation is that all schools should have a named Autism Lead. In some instances this may be the SENCo but this will not always be the case. The role of the Lead is to support pupils with Autism in schools and will include aspects of “advocacy assessment, strategic planning. Staff/parent liaison and support” (AET The Role of the Lead Practitioner for Pupils with Autism). This Lead person will be the named person for whom parents will liaise with. Equally the Lead will be involved with all aspects of the assessment planning and reviewing. It is hoped that the Lead will be able make detailed observations of the child concerned and have a understanding of the child’s individual strengths and weaknesses and together with their a firm theoretical understanding of ASD use this knowledge to advice other teaching staff within the school. The Lead would devise pupil profiles and help to manage transitions for children with ASD. It is hoped that the Lead will have relevant information on resources and support within the community and be able to signpost effectively.

CLICK HERE for more information about the role of the Lead Practitioner.

To view the Executive Summary of Glenys Jones’s report, CLICK HERE

Hertfordshire is now an AET training hub, as such all schools will have the opportunity to access AET training and materials. Over the next two years, starting in January 2017, whole school twilight sessions will be delivered for the Tier 1 training “Making Sense of Autism”. The aim of Tier 1 training is to enable all school staff to develop their knowledge and understanding of good autism practice. The focus is on a model of difference, not deficit, and to promote positive attitudes to autism. On completion of Tier 1 training a code will be given out which will enable school staff to access the “Tools for Teachers” on the AET website. This gives practical resources designed to support teachers to work effectively with pupils on the spectrum. There are 44 tools in total, and examples include sensory profiles and guides to observe behaviour and tools to teach pupils to manage emotions. Tier 2 and 3 training will be rolled out later in the year.

The training links into the AET Standards and Competencies. The Hertfordshire SEND strategy advises that schools should “undertake a school autism review using the Autism Education Trust (AET) audit material and develop and improvement plans”. These standards and competencies are available to download free on the AET website at http://www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk/ . Each competency will have either a video or written information that can help explain the standard in more detail. The standards link in with the SEND code of practice and the Ofsted framework. Following on from this we hope to introduce Austism Lead forums to help support schools to implement the standards and competencies.

For any queries on the Autism review, please contact Vicky on mckirganv@kls.herts.sch.uk

ADD-Vance Workshops for Teaching Staff

Dacorum DSPL will still be funding ADD-Vance workshops for teaching staff, and whole school INSET training. These are complementary to the AET training, but do not take the place of them.

Special School Outreach

Woodfield School is now Dacorum’s official Outreach school, providing funded sessions to mainstream schools. To make a request for support, please visit their website at www.woodfield.herts.sch.uk