The National Autistic Society has welcomed a new report from the Autism Education Trust (AET) which calls for more ‘flexibility’ in the education of young people with autism.
The study consulted adults and children with autism, parents and education professionals via focus groups and interviews, and concluded that schools need to “aim higher for their students with autism”.
The report highlighted the central importance of involving and consulting with young people with autism about their progress and aspirations.
The study also talked about the need for teachers to combine the National Curriculum with training in social and independent living skills, and calls for written guidance from the Department for Education to help make sure this happens.
Many young people in the study felt that more time spent discussing their diagnosis would help them feel more comfortable in social settings, which could help reduce bullying.
The report also calls for better communication amongst members of staff, and for an “autism expert” to be available in schools. This expert would be able to provide better support for children with autism, and also be consulted on issues such as exclusion.
The findings add weight to the key demands from our Great Expectations campaign, including a need to improve teachers’ understanding of autism, and to support young people socially as well as academically.
Speaking at our event at the recent Conservative Party Conference, Debbie Waters a parent of two children with autism told us she’d felt forced to choose between an educated child and a happy child – which was “no choice to make”.
In order to provide the best possible outcomes for young people with autism, both academically and emotionally, it’s clear that schools need to be ensure that they are looking at all of a child’s needs
You can read the full report from the AET at http://www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk/resources/outcomes.aspx