23rd July 2018

Supporting autistic pupils for over 50 years

Supporting autistic pupils for over 50 years Cover Photo

The National Autistic Society outlines its strategy for working with young people...

Autism is a development disability that affects people for their whole lives from childhood through to adulthood. If you’re autistic, you might experience the world differently and can sometimes find communicating and relating to others challenging. It’s like you’re getting too much information and it can make daily life overwhelming. There are around 700,000 people including children in the UK living with autism – that’s more than 1 in 100.

An estimated 140,000 school-aged children in the UK are on the autism spectrum. It affects each child differently and can make school life very difficult. For instance, some children are so sensitive to light or sound that a bright overhead light or humming computer can be physically painful and make it almost impossible to follow a lesson. For others, a small change to the day’s schedule, like the school bus turning up late or a sudden change to the seating plan, can feel like the end of the world.

The National Autistic Society is here to transform lives, challenge perceptions and build a society that works for autistic people. We started providing autism-specific education over fifty years ago in 1965, we have developed our education offer into a diverse network of independent and free schools, and programmes which are relied upon by hundreds of people across the UK. There are eight thriving National Autistic Society autism-specific schools all which are highly rated. Ofsted has rated six of our schools in England as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

“The principal, governors and trust (at Church Lawton) have, in a short space of time, created an inclusive and caring ethos. The principal and staff are passionate about making a difference to the lives of pupils.” The National Autistic Society Church Lawton School Ofsted report

We are specialists providing support and education for young people on the autism spectrum and we are focused on their progress. MyProgress® is the name of the overall strategy for working with your child that The National Autistic Society’s schools offer. With MyProgress®, your child will have the best start in life because every aspect of their care and education will be tailor-made for them.

Everything our schools does is centred on your child, we make sure that our curriculum meets their specific needs and out multidisciplinary team will closely support their learning in communication, social, behavioural, emotional, sensory, physical and self-help skills.

MyProgress® will comprise of:

– A MyAbility Profile, which provides a summary of the initial assessment showing the young person’s strengths and areas for development.

– MyProgress® meetings identifies what the school and family can do to build on the young person’s strengths and interests. Achievements are celebrated, progress is evaluated and targets are recommended for any areas for development. Collaboration with parents is central to improving outcomes for young people. Induction sessions are provided for all parents of new students to explain MyProgress®. Personalised goals are developed collaboratively between the young person, their parents, commissioners and the school through MyProgress® meeting soon after the placement starts.

– MyProgress® plans set out academic, social and independence targets and says how the curriculum and timetable are going to be tailored to meet the student’s needs. A student’s MyProgress® plan is the cornerstone of the personalised educational programme tailored to meet the specific needs of an individual student.

– MyProgress® file provides evidence of achievement of key milestones. The evidence may be a piece of work or a photo with the date and objective.

– MyProgress® Report provides a brief highlight of what’s working well and action plan to address areas not working so well. The report also clearly present progress against targets agreed in the MyProgress® Plan. The report is sent to all stakeholders ahead of the termly MyProgress® meeting.

– MyProgress® guarantees that your child will use approaches that we have tried and tested over many years: we know that they make a difference.

“The National Autistic Society’s MyProgress system tracks what children can do. This helps to celebrate their achievements, such as taking part in small group activities and joining in with lessons.” The National Autistic Society Robert Ogden School Ofsted report

In addition to running eight specialist schools, we challenge society’s perceptions by campaigning nationally and working with businesses and policy-makers to change laws and deliver services that work better for autistic people.

In November 2017, The National Autistic Society and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism published a report on autism and education. It found that autistic children and young people in England are being let down and held back from achieving their potential by the education system. Together with Ambitious About Autism, we have launched our Held Back campaign. We want the Government to make sure no children are held back from meeting their potential because they’re autistic.

The National Autistic Society has a pioneering, innovative and flexible approach to education. When delivered by our experienced staff and tailored to each person’s needs, we can transform a young person’s life.

“My child is extremely happy at the school. I think the teachers genuinely care about the development of every single child in the school. My child has progressed very well. I cannot praise the school enough.” Parent

Our unique education provision is facilitated by our passionate and highly-trained staff, who take great care to create a path for each pupil, helping them through their early years on to secondary school, higher education and beyond. Find out more about our strategy and our schools here: www.autism.org.uk/schools.aspx