Autism Spectrum Disorder
Pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Learning Difficulties benefit from a highly structured formal curriculum.
“ It has been found that children with autism benefit more from a structured educational environment than from free approaches” http://www.autism.org.uk/teacch
Here at the Redway we have a unique, child-centered approach that focuses on the many different styles of communication and learning. We are all aware that pupils on the Autistic Spectrum develop and improve in highly structured and routine settings and benefit from a more visual approach than other pupils. Visual cues, timetables and key rings are used to aid the pupils understanding of what is happening throughout the school day.
This is why our 5 ASD classes are set out in a very structured way (TEACCH), which includes the development of their personalised timetables to the set up of the class. Each class has three fundamental areas:
- Hello Area – Pupils are able to develop social skills, interactions and a sense of belonging during these sessions, which occur three times a day. Pupils will start to recognise themselves and their peers through visual representations. This is also used as the reward area and pupils are able to explore motivators and relax.
- Group Table – Pupils learn to socialise, take part, communicate and share in a variety of purpose built tasks and activities.
- Workstations – Pupils enhance and develop specific skills to aid their fine and gross motor skills, understanding and how things work through a variety of individual tasks. These are carried out in a workstation, which allow the pupils to fully concentrate on the task, enabling them not to be distracted and engaged with other items in and around the classroom.
The above sessions and activities will enable pupils to develop, maintain and extend a wide variety of contextualised skills which include: communication, interaction, social understanding and self-development as well as becoming more independent and competent in managing their own behavior.
Each ASD class timetable is specifically designed to engage and encourage pupils through a variety of motivating activities from sensory exploration; sensory stories to developing their own individual self help skills using a variety of individual tasks.
These activities are carried out through structured routines, appropriately paced and contextualised to provide opportunities, which are accessible, motivating and appropriately challenged to maximise progress for each pupil.
Learning takes place in a range of environments and is highly structured in the mornings. The afternoon sessions focus on the wider outdoor curriculum in a more relaxed approach. The aim is to enable pupils to embrace and develop their independence skills, to make choices and to develop their understanding of rules and society by developing their social skills in relation to the outside world.
The aims of the ASD department is:
- To provide a structured environment so the pupils can develop and learn.
- To provide an environment in which the pupils feel safe and secure
- To use clear and concise language, in a consistent way that allows pupils to process what has been said.
- To centre pupils learning around motivating activities that enables them to develop and extend their individual needs and key learning goals
- To follow the curriculum in a way that suits their individual needs and specific learning style
- To maximise students communication and interaction skills in a range of environments
- To develop positive relationships in class and the wider school community
- To provide teaching areas that are clearly structured with a low arousal environment
- To use visual cues to support understanding
- To provide opportunities for pupils to develop trust
- To enhance and develop child initiated communication into all aspects of the pupils’ day.
- To develop a variety of positive interactions between pupils and staff, through intensive interaction.
We are currently trialling SCERTS here at the Redway in one of our ASD classes. Which uses practices from other approaches including contemporary ABA (in the form of Pivotal Response Treatment), TEACCH, Floortime, Hanen and RDI, but focuses mainly on promoting child-initiated communication into all aspects of the child’s day / activities.
“The acronym SCERTS refers to the focus on:
SC: Social Communication - Development of spontaneous, functional communication, emotional expression and secure and trusting relationships with children and adults.
ER: Emotional Regulation - Development of the ability to maintain a well-regulated emotional state to cope with everyday stress, and to be most available for learning and interacting.
TS: Transactional Support - Development and implementation of supports to help partners respond to the child's needs and interests, modify and adapt the environment, and provide tools to enhance learning (e.g., picture communication, written schedules, and sensory supports).
Specific plans are also developed to provide educational and emotional support to families, and to foster teamwork among professionals.”
To have a look around the school or to discuss our ASD approach further please contact Peter Markham Head of ASD on: 01908 200000 / 01908 206400