welcome to our blog

ReachoutASC:BLOG

Our Blog will include contributions from a number of autism specialists. Lynn, Matt and Emma work for Reachout ASC, plus occasional guest bloggers.
We love to hear about your ideas, opinions, challenges and tips so please join in the conversation!
Lynn McCann

Autism Awareness or Acceptance?

find out more from http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/about/

Autism Awareness Month in April has now become a regular event. Famous landmarks have been lit up in blue, people wear blue and events are organised.

You might think, isn't this good for autism?  The more people are aware, the better it is for the 1 in 68 of our children and the adults on the spectrum?  When it is done well, it is really helpful.  But in this blog, I want to make us think about whether understanding autism people with autism (or autistic people) needs more acceptance than awareness.

The trouble is that awareness is hard to measure.  Most people have now heard of autism…is that 'awareness'?  But having heard of autism creates many problems in my experience.  Suddenly, people thinking they know what autism is, creates more misunderstanding and wrong expectations than you might expect.  For example, there are still people who think every autistic person is like Rainman.  They are expecting the child's exceptional ability to memorise the phone book or do complicated maths and are left disappointed when there is nothing of the sort.  People still believe that autism needs to be cured (to the point they will make them drink bleach), or that an autistic person doesn't want friends or they cannot live a full and fruitful life....
Rate this blog entry:
5
Continue reading
2008 Hits
0 Comments

Autism and Homework

picture from https://www.thetricyclecollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Homework.jpg

​This isn't the blog I was going to write, I was planning on one about transition (will get to it),  but I'm a member of the email-based SENCO forum and an interesting question was asked about Autistic students and homework.  It is seriously one of the biggest issues we have to deal with when we support secondary students with ASC, so I thought it would be worth sharing my suggestions here too. 

So...if you have a student refusing, never seeming to do homework, parents are saying that it is causing meltdowns and great distress, the student is always in detention for homework not being done, or their homework is of poor quality, here are some thoughts from Emma and I...

Rate this blog entry:
2
Continue reading
3550 Hits
0 Comments

We are all different...So why don't they see it?

​I've been doing some work with some girls with Autism Spectrum Condition recently and they have been amazingly perceptive about the reasons why they are left out, teased or ignored by their peers.  All of them have talked about not understanding why all the other girls want to be the same as each other and why one minute they are as nice as anything to them, and another time nasty and cruel.  (Two faced!) 

Don't they just have a point! 

Last night I went along to a Poetry Performance from two great poets, Mike Garry and Dr John Cooper Clark.  I haven't written a poem since I was at school, but inspired by them and these amazing girls that I work with I have tried...


Rate this blog entry:
6
Continue reading
1975 Hits
0 Comments

The SEND Reforms so far...?

As travelling Autism Specialist Teachers, Emma and I are privileged to gather a wider picture than most of how the 2014 SEND Reforms are being implemented and working 'on the ground'.   We travel through my LEA, one of the biggest in the country, supporting and advising primary and secondary schools and have been involved in many conversions and new applications for EHCPs.  We've attended SENDCo forums, SLT forums and met EPs and other professionals along the way.  All of us are talking about the Reforms and how they are developing...

So what have we discovered? 

Rate this blog entry:
6
Continue reading
1975 Hits
0 Comments

Inclusion Is Hard Work...But Don't Give Up!

Here at REACHOUT ASC we are committed to making mainstream school work for children with Autism.  There are many benefits of staying in the mainstream system, such as a supportive peer group, wider opportunities, good life chances and inclusion in the community.  This doesn't mean that special schools don't give these things, but we are committed to inclusion because we believe it can and should work well for the pupil with ASC (particularly those who are academically able) and their peers, so all benefit from being and learning together.

The reality is that inclusion is hard.  There are so many factors involved from the environments to lack of funding; from attitudes to lack of understanding and resources.   We have seen inclusion work really well, at primary and secondary schools, and we have seen it fail, and the person who it fails the most…is the child. 

Rate this blog entry:
5
Continue reading
3188 Hits
0 Comments

Are Schools Doing Enough for Pupils with ASC?

Now there's a question. Actually it's the question next week's #behaviourchat on twitter (Monday 30th Nov 8.00pm) is going to be discussing,  and as I've just started a yoga class at that precise time, I thought I would give my contribution in this blog post.

Everyone knows that Autism or ASC diagnosis is on the rise, and in the past ten years or so I have seen more and more children (and adults) being diagnosed. Hardly a day goes by without me hearing of someone else who has been diagnosed as a child or adult.   Almost every school has one or more pupils with a diagnosis and increasingly more complex children are attending mainstream schools. 

Rate this blog entry:
7
Continue reading
1607 Hits
0 Comments

Bullying and Autism. We SHOULD do something.

When I was a girl we played out in the street with all the other kids in the street.  There was one boy in our group we all called 'fatty Norman' and would often make fun of him and leave him out.

At the same time, at school,  I was called names because I looked liked Olive Oil from the Popeye cartoons.   My siblings were called names because they had ginger hair.   At some point we were left out, called cruel names and even pushed around or hit because we were different.... 

Rate this blog entry:
6
Continue reading
1637 Hits
0 Comments

Would you expel a four year old?

"Did you hear about that four year old that got expelled from school?"

"Gosh, a four year old, that's shocking.  What must a four year old be like to get expelled?"

What would you say in answer to this?  Would you think hitting other children, running away, refusing to comply, screaming loudly, throwing themselves on the floor, running away and…shock…horror…even hitting the teacher…be grounds enough for expulsion…at four? 

Rate this blog entry:
7
Recent Comments
Guest — Alison
I agree- on the whole- but some children are so badly damaged that main stream school isn't the best provision- and the LA have a ... Read More
Thursday, 10 March 2016 7:07 AM
Lynn McCann
You have hit on a very important point Alison, Schools should not have to threaten or actually expel a child before the LA will f... Read More
Thursday, 10 March 2016 7:07 AM
Continue reading
1601 Hits
2 Comments

Why Whole School Autism Training is Money Well Spent

​ I first heard the term 'autism' in 2003.  I was an early years teacher at the time and the class list for the new year informed me that I had three statemented children, two who had autism, one with cerebral palsy and a couple of children who were under investigation for global development delay.  By then I had been teaching for 12 years, been trained in SEN and had always been interested in supporting pupils with SEN.  These children had teaching assistants assigned to them, we considered ourselves a well organised with an inclusive environment and I was really looking forward to getting to know the children and meeting their needs.  But it turned out a little more difficult than we anticipated…

Tags:
Rate this blog entry:
10
Recent comment in this post
Guest — Bren
The main issue I see with certain schools is the 'oh, it's too much effort, it'll take up too much of my time, they've got to get ... Read More
Friday, 06 November 2015 9:09 AM
Continue reading
1909 Hits
1 Comment

Is Peer Mentoring the Answer?

​Lately We've been listening to a lot of teenagers who struggle with school.  The ones we know are usually ASC students and struggle with social relationships, organisation, sensory issues and find school enormously challenging.  Especially in mainstream schools. This can be enormously isolating for them.  One of the things we like to try is finding them a peer mentor.  An older student or mixed age student group seems to work well, as they have the advantage of having been through some similar difficulties already.  If the mentor has ASC too, it can benefit them both.  But how do you organise a peer mentoring so that it IS successful...

Rate this blog entry:
10
Continue reading
943 Hits
0 Comments