Austism Spectrum Condition
Autism Spectrum Condition Policy
Reviewed: May 2020
Next Review: May 2021
Named SENDCo: Miss K Jepson
We constantly strive to be the best teachers and best learners we can be in order to make positive contributions to our local and global community.
We learn to live healthily and happily and love to learn in a fun and caring environment to secure successful futures for all.
The equality Act 2010 places a statutory obligation on schools to make reasonable adjustments to their practice, policies, protocols and environments for people with a protected characteristic such as disability.
Most people and organisations would never knowingly discriminate against a person with a disability; however where disability is hidden or not understood such as ASC, discrimination does occur.
The rationale behind this policy is to make explicit the demands on a school for a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Equality Act is clear, there is no justification for discrimination and reasonable adjustments must be made. These must:
- prevent disabled children being placed at a substantial disadvantage
- be aimed at all disabled children
- be anticipatory (they should be put in place before the child needs them)
- to provide auxiliary aids and services.
Key principles underpinning practice:
- Knowledge and understanding of ASC throughout the school
- Knowledge, understanding and implementation of established interventions and approaches
- Knowledge and understanding of general and specific behaviours and behaviour management approaches
- All staff are kept up to date with current research relating to ASC.
- Provision for students is monitored as part of the whole school evaluation process
- Inclusion and integration for all
- ASC (Autism Spectrum Condition) is an umbrella term for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers, Autism.
- ASC has a known co-morbidity with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), Sensory Processing Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
- ASC is known to affect 1 in every 100. http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/myths-facts-stats.aspx
This policy seeks to bring together information from other policies such as Teaching and learning, SEND, behaviour and equality. Moorhouse recognises that autism spectrum conditions are complex and that a variety of approaches will be needed to meet the needs of all young people with autism or related conditions.
The school recognises that staff training is vital. All staff, including all support staff must undertake ASC awareness training. (PPT) This is particularly important for staff supervising at break and lunch times as students with ASC find this unstructured time very difficult.
ASC training will be part of the induction process for new staff. Support to implement Moorhouse’s ASC friendly practices will be provided by the Autism Champion and staff from the RANS team.
Temporary or casual staff will be provided with ASC training.
Anxiety and behaviour
Behaviour has a purpose. It can be a way of communicating needs and feelings. Anxiety is a major issue for many students with ASC. When students are anxious this can impact their behaviour. Students may exhibit challenging behaviour in order to remove themselves from the challenging situation. Anxious students can also be very quiet or withdrawn.
Strategies to reduce anxiety and promote wellbeing can include but are not restricted to:
- Visual timetables
- Reducing stimulus
- Sensory diets
- Reducing change or introducing change gradually
- Limiting communication (short sentences or visual cues)
Where students display challenging behaviour a behaviour plan should be put in place which seeks to address the root behaviours e.g. anxiety or compulsion, not just sanction the student.
Training for all staff dealing with ASC students and challenging, or eccentric, behaviour is given and updated regularly.
Effective measures are in place to report and deal with harassment or bullying. Social stories, Social Skills training and other interventions will be used to enable students’ resilience and strategies.
Diversity is recognised and celebrated. All students take part in diversity awareness. Students with an ASC student in their class/es will also take part in bespoke ASC Awareness training.
Support for Individual Pupils
In order to support ASC students relationships are key. This can be challenging for staff who do not spend a lot of time with students therefore it is important to find an effective method of sharing information across the school. Up to date, co-produced, individual profiles must be used to share information.
Every member of staff must have access to and be familiar with these profiles. These must be regularly reviewed and updated.
Student progress and targets, including social skills and emotional health, are closely monitored and regularly evaluated. Teachers and support staff regularly liaise with regard to support for individual students.
Students with ASC find change challenging. Most students with ASC can manage change when it is pre-planned. This can help students manage their anxiety about unknown events. There are many transitions during the school day and year.
During the school day, where possible unnecessary transitions should be avoided eg moving from the chairs to the carpet, to the library to the carpet in one hour. Where transitions are necessary then students with ASC should be given some control over the transition eg choosing to move first or last, choosing a seat etc.
New staff, including support staff, must be introduced gradually, wherever possible, especially if a student is very attached to the previous member of staff. Utilising a students’ special interest can help to foster new relationships.
Transitions to new classrooms should be planned for. Students should be introduced to the new environment gradually. They may like to take pictures, for example. In a new environment careful consideration should be given to the students’ seat placement and other environmental issues. (Transition document)
Transition between stages should be planned and gradual. (Move up Monday’s for a half term) Student will need to feel comfortable in the new environment.
Environment and Resources
Generally environmental modifications will be needed to be made to key areas which may present particular sensory processing difficulties. These areas include but are not restricted to:
- Dining room
- PE/Sports Hall
These modifications might include alternative activities during assembly, a corridor pass to avoid crowds, early access to the dining room or access to a separate area. (ASC friendly class)
Students with ASC often have visual memories and in times of stress find visual prompts easier to process. Having a range of visual supports in all areas also helps students be more independent. The visual supports should be consistent in language, tone and layout and should be available everywhere.
- In classrooms
- In shared areas such as corridors, library, dining hall
Many students with ASC find classrooms very distracting. They find the number of stimuli difficult to ignore and therefore struggle to work effectively. Schools should provide opportunities to work free from distractions, such as a workstation, designated areas for specific tasks or a separate work area.
Many students with ASC need a safe place to go when they become over stimulated, are struggling with individuals, are anxious or do not know where to go. Every school must have a SAFE HAVEN and a protocol for students with ASC to access this space. Ideally this SAFE HAVEN must be accessible throughout the school day including before and after school.
This SAFE HAVEN may also be where individuals’ can go at breaks and lunchtime, and is monitored and supported. Some schools might also have social inclusion groups at breaks and lunchtime which are monitored and supported.
Care must be given to plan for students with ASC during planned changes to the school day and curriculum e.g. Christmas and special events. The students could be supported to attend the events or the students could be given a SAFE HAVEN throughout the event.
Partnership and Liaison with students, parents/carers
The school actively seeks to work with parents and pupils and values the contribution they make and will record/respond to parents’ specific concerns. Effective communication is in place for parents to understand ASC and how to support their child at home.
Parents are invited to contribute to reviews of their child’s progress at regular meetings. Students are involved in recognising their strengths and difficulties and are included in planning support.
Observations of both teaching and support staff, where appropriate, include ASC effective practice. (drop in)
ASC students are a standard agenda item at staff/departmental meetings. (Agenda) Training issues for specific students are identified and acted upon, promptly.
There is a fire evacuation policy specifically for students with ASC. (PEEP) Evacuating the building safely and calmly is practised with the ASC students and their whole class.
Educational visits are an important part of school life. They should be inclusive, fun but safe. Where possible all visits both, residential and day, are autism friendly.
- There is a visual plan in place for the student for the duration of the trip, including travel time.
- Fidget/comfort toys are brought from school.
- Potential issues around food have been planned for.
- Sensory or input overload has been considered and a SAFE HAVEN has been identified.
- Sufficient numbers of familiar support staff are on the trip.
- The trip destination is Autism Friendly or has been pre-warned as to the issues that might arises.
- Students with ASC have risk assessments as needed.