You are invited to join the Autism and Social Communication Team as we celebrate Autism Acceptance Week.
As any of you who have met us will know, we love talking about all things Autism. We embrace people’s differences, celebrate the successes, encourage learning from mistakes and, most importantly, learn how to best support autistic people from our best resource, autistic people!
It is estimated that 1 in 100 people within the UK are diagnosed as autistic, although with increasing understanding of this neurodiversity, many more people are being recognised as neuro non typical, and I’m sure you will be aware of children and young people in your classrooms with social communication differences.
So, what is it we want for our children?
To be happy and healthy?
To have positive mental health?
To have the problem solving skills needed so as to be independent?
To have the self-esteem to reach for their dreams and realise their potential?
To be resilient and develop a growth mindset?
To have friends who value and understand them?
To know and accept themselves?
All of the above?
Many autistic people grow up with an awareness that they are ‘different’. This may come from neuro-typical people telling them this. A feeling that they are bystanders, on the periphery of society, watching from the outside in. Some may have no interest in being part of a neurotypical world, after all the neuro non typical world can be rather fabulous! Full of Minecraft, LEGO, Anime, Manga, Japanese bullet trains, Sonic the Hedgehog and cats (to name but a view areas of interest).
Acceptance is not asking people to change, to mould themselves or to confirm. Acceptance is not recognising difference and then ignoring it.
Acceptance is listening to autistic people, valuing their input, recognising, and supporting them to recognise their many strengths and to be the best version of them! (The best chicken, not flamingo).
Acceptance is identifying how you can change your attitudes, thoughts and beliefs so that a ‘difference’ does not become a disability.
So how can you go about developing, not just simply your awareness of autism, but your acceptance of it?
Firstly, remember that what we see is often just the tip of the iceberg, (masking is very real) so have the discussion, talk with other members of staff, communicate with the children in your classrooms and ask questions of your family and friends.
Consider the language you use when talking about autism:
- Consider the medical connotations of words such as ‘diagnosis’, condition’ and ‘disorder’ ‘vs ‘identification’
Use non deficit terminology such as:
- sensory difference rather than sensory difficulty
- need for certainty rather than intolerance of uncertainty
- distressed behaviour vs challenging behaviour
- intense interests vs obsessions
- connection seeking vs attention seeking
- reaction vs behaviour
- supportive approach vs intervention
Develop your knowledge of Autism:
What is it? What are the potential barriers to learning? And how can you alleviate these for an autistic child?
The ASC Team have put together an introductory training session for you to access and watch please ask your advisory teacher for the link.
Recognise the impact of sensory differences on learning and accommodate for these. Consider the completion of a sensory checklist. The ASCT have a checklist which your allocated advisory teacher will be able to share with you.
The team have also created a classroom sensory audit which can help you to identify potential sensory overload within your classroom. Knowledge is power! Once you know the why, you can come up with the how!
The Autism and Social Communication Team are here for you! Invite us in for a termly CARM or to deliver training. It’s what we do best, and what we love most 😊
There is a plethora of amazing resources that you could use to support all-staff understanding and to raise peer awareness of autism in your assemblies and lesson planning.
Check some of them out below:
The Autism Education Trust
- Autism Acceptance Week Teacher Pack: Let’s Learn About Autism
- 4-7 Primary Pack – Let’s Learn About Autism: https://bit.ly/primary-4-7-lets-learn-about-autism
- Early Years Pack – Let’s Learn About Autism: https://bit.ly/eys-lets-learn-about-autism
- 8 – 11 Primary Pack – Let’s Learn About Autism: https://bit.ly/primary-8-11-lets-learn-about-autism
- Secondary Pack – Let’s Learn About Autism: https://bit.ly/secondary–lets-learn-about-autism
- Post 16 Pack – Let’s Learn About Autism: https://bit.ly/post-16-lets-learn-about-autism
Find out more about Autism Acceptance Week and consider taking part in a fundraising event in support of The National Autistic Society: https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/raise-money/world-autism-acceptance-week-2022
Further teaching resources can be downloaded here: