Schooling for People With Autism

22.10.2021

Autism is a developmental disorder that can affect how people communicate and interact with the world around them. Approximately 1 in 100 people across the UK have been diagnosed with Autism and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. Autism is a spectrum condition, which means it can affect people at different levels and in different ways. Like all people, autistic people have their strengths and weaknesses. It can present many day-to-day challenges, in particular, how they engage with learning in school. Therefore, it is so important that autistic children feel comfortable when transitioning to an unknown environment, such as school.

Approximately 70% of children with autism attend mainstream primary education in the UK. Children with autism may require more guidance and support, while others need higher levels of support. So, schooling for autistic people needs to ensure it is taking this into account.

Bright Futures Care

At Bright Futures we provide tailored support and education for young people and adults with learning disabilities and special educational needs. Taking a personal approach to ensure all of our individuals experience life to their fullest potential. We have many residential home environments and a specialist school setting for children, students, and adults. The range of specialist care services we provide is aimed to meet the social, physical, and emotional needs of everyone we support. Our team of specialist carers work alongside Shine Therapy, to create a unique support plan for each individual.

We care for both children and adults across the spectrum of autism and learning disabilities, including:

  • Autistic Spectrum conditions, including disorders
  • Moderate or severe learning difficulty
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Specific language/communication difficulty
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Social and Emotional difficulties

Our School

A Specialist Education School is based at Willow Tree Park set within the village of Lymm in Cheshire. Our school caters to all individuals on the autism spectrum and more. We provide a personalised curriculum for each student so they can reach their full social and academic potential. Providing high-quality, inclusive education built around the individual life, with an emphasis on lifelong learning from the age of 5 – 25.

We offer two types of Schooling, flexible day and residential placements.

Day placements support students by giving them access to meaningful specialist education while they still live at home. We also offer extended day provision in support of family resilience.

Residential with education placements are available on a 52-week basis, however,  these still attend school for 38 weeks and have planned activities with their care teams throughout the school holidays.

The Curriculum

Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum but with adapted changes to notify the requirements for our students. English, Maths, Science and all national curriculum subjects are included but at a different level. We also have additional subjects which include communication, sensory integration, and PHSE. Our School develops bespoke learning programs for people with Autism and other learning difficulties which challenge them academically whilst ensuring their sensory needs are met.

A common feature of autism is having highly focused interests or hobbies which can sometimes be perceived as having an obsession with a particular subject. Being highly focused helps many students with autism do well in school. However, they can also become so engrossed in particular topics or activities that they neglect other aspects of their lives such as friendships or personal care. Therefore, Teachers can get creative and find ways to deliver lessons using a child’s interests to motivate school work, whilst maintaining a balance of introducing new interests and activities.  For example, if the child has an interest in Lego, this can be translated, and integrated into a mathematical problem.

Autism Care and Encouraging Social Interaction

A child with autism may have difficulty recognising or understanding other people’s feelings and intentions and expressing their own emotions. Which may make them appear to lack interest in their teachers and peers.

However, this is often not the case and it is important to teach them social skills that are recognised and widely accepted. Such as waiting, using manners, and kind gestures. The classroom offers a perfect setting to build on this, but the child first needs to become familiar with the classroom setting and his/her peers. You can include learning activities focused on encouraging social interaction between pupils. Such as playing games with more than one player, turn-taking activities, and many more.

Sometimes pupils will seek out time alone when overloaded by too much choice at busy times. In these situations, Teachers can use ‘choose boards’ with images of two or three activities such as playing on the swing, walk or sensory play to allow the child to focus their thinking.