Education is a key part of every child’s life but too many children with autism are not getting the education and support they need.
Priory Group Director of Autism, Allison Hope-West, highlights the different teaching methods autistic children need: “Pupils with autism require bespoke multidisciplinary packages which include therapeutic support to help them to engage with learning. They need predictable environments with structure and high levels of routine, along with packages of social learning and interaction.”
Allison highlighted the importance of specialist teaching: “The curriculum needs to be compensatory, developed with an understanding of the triad of impairment, sensory processing issues and psychological theories to make it meaningful. Many pupils are highly visual learners and require instruction to be given in this manner.
Without these individualised supports across the school environment it is highly unlikely that a pupil with autism will make the academic and social progress that they should."
Steve is a blogger and was diagnosed with autism at the age of 48. He is also a tutor at the National Autistic Society. He highlights the difficulty he finds when communicating with others: “I really don’t understand people. It’s like not being able to connect with what’s going on around you, it’s like I’m on one planet and the rest of the world is on another.
Verbal instruction is almost impossible; it’s like the words come towards me and then they disappear before I get the chance to process them so it makes it really hard at work.”
Steve also has difficulty in social situations: “Anything to do with social situations is very difficult. Loud noises such as a fire engine going past or if someone drops a plate is like an explosion going off inside my head.
Not being able to read people’s emotions is a really big issue. I just always assume people are really angry with me all the time. If you don’t understand something you always take a negative view.
I completely shy away from any kind of social life, it’s too complicated to work out what’s happening and sometimes this means that we are quite naïve.”
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