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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

Why I’m changing my language about Autism

I previously wrote about the debate about what words we might use to say someone has autism…or is autistic here.

Since then the debate has gone on and the more I listen to autistic people the more they are taking their identity and pride from being autistic.

The problem with 'having autism' or 'person with autism' is that it separates a person from autism and can easily lead to the autism as being something seen as 'bad' or 'wrong'.  There are whole charities and industries based on autism being 'wrong' and some of the treatments and so called cures are inhumane.  Anyone heard of forcing autistic children to drink bleach?  Then there are those like the charity Autism Speaks, which spends the majority of its funding on finding a cure for autism. That's why many autistic people don't like their 'Light it up Blue' campaignin April as its supporting the fact that they are the 'wrong' type of people. Autism is not a burden, a disease or a curse.

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Recent Comments
Thomas Sutcliffe
Excellent post. As an autistic person I hugely appreciate the level of understanding that you have demonstrated. The key, as you c... Read More
Sunday, 04 June 2017 7:07 PM
Guest — Drew
Good post. Language is very important more so among those with the job of training! Another good read to help with deciding the be... Read More
Sunday, 16 July 2017 7:07 AM
Lynn McCann
Thanks Thomas and Drew for your comments. It's important that we keep learning together.
Sunday, 16 July 2017 7:07 AM
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Review of Teaching Assistant support in a secondary school

image from www.cliparting.com

This project was done by an HLTA in a large mainstream secondary school. It has around 1700 students on roll and between 2-3% of their pupils with identified SEND – with and without Statements/EHCPs. Many of those are students with a diagnosis of ASD but there are also a number of pupils with physical and other learning difficulties. I have supported the school's ASD students for the last few years which has included group and 1:1 interventions during my monthly visits which the TAs then continue to support between visits. I have done regular training and department meetings for teachers and the TA team. I asked the HLTA if I could share her dissertation findings after she gave a presentation on it during a training day I was supporting. It is interesting that she has investigated the effectiveness and deployment of the teaching assistants in the school and the effect on the student's achievements (not shown here but almost all ASD students were making good progress on the school tracking system). What has come from this is evidence of good practice and areas for development that the school are now implementing - leading to better communication between teachers and TAs.

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Post 16 Transition for students with SEND / ASC.

At this time of year many secondary teachers are thinking about the looming GCSE's for their Y11's and may also be thinking about what happens next for their students. If a student has SEND / ASC then there are additional challenges when leaving school and moving on to the next step in their educational lives.

I often find that the student's themselves realise in Y10 that they will soon be leaving school. For some they may be so relieved that it's all they want to think about.  For other's it's such a massive change in their lives, after all, being at school is all they've ever known, that the anxiety it causes can seriously impact on their concentration, mental wellbeing and motivation in school.  Some are so anxious, they cannot bear to talk about it. 

This blog is co-written by @Mr_ALNCo an FE Teacher who's created a role for a Transition Support Worker at his FE college in South Wales. First I am going to look at transition to college or training from the viewpoint of the school, and James is going to offer advice from the college's point of view. 

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Guest — Hilary Nunns
Also ask vocational areas to provide checklists for class ie USB, calculators and allow time for students to orientate, how much t... Read More
Sunday, 05 February 2017 10:10 AM
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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...

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