It was in 2004 and I was working as an EYFS teacher that I first heard the term autism. This was strange in itself as I'd already been teaching since 1991 and had done a lot of SEN training as a student, a teacher and then as a SENCO. Two boys in my class came with Statements, one saying 'Autism' and the other 'Aspergers Syndrome'. Each boy was very different. One mainly communicated by screaming, the other had language. We were lucky, early on we had some training about autism, put the strategies in place and we got through the year, learning together. The boy with the 'Autism' label went to a special school after that, the other continued in mainstream, left high school last year and is now at college.
It was those boys who sparked my fascination with autism and soon after that year I left to pursue my career in a specialist autism school, did my autism qualifications and ended up using my mainstream experience to support other schools as I set up the outreach service from the specialist school. (Continued....)