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Education and learning

Lunch and break time

Unstructured time at school can be particularly tricky.      The National Autistic Society has created a guide for parents and carers to understanding and coping with difficulties at lunch and break times.       Click icon to view.

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Early Years

At ages 3-4 ALL children qualify for 15 hours a week free education.       Some may also qualify for free places aged 2.
See: in brief        Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire Council sets out more general information under the heading:  Early years education

Mainstream school

With mainstream schools, smaller ones may provide a more calm and adaptable environment for pupils with additional needs.

The National Autistic Society has several pages about Education.       Click icon to browse.        In particular one of these pages sets out how to get extra help in mainstream school / college.

Additional needs

For children with an Education Health & Care plan a more specialised environment may be offered by schools for additional needs.        Here is a guide to choosing a special school.         Click icon for more about SEN.

Parents in the Grantham area might find a place for their child at:

  • F-footerTwitter small iconAmbergate Sports College & Sandon SchoolGANF caters for pupils aged 3 – 19 with moderate to severe learning difficulties and complex needs.        Many are on the autistic spectrum.      Grantham
  • Greenfields Academy is a Specialist School for SEMH pupils (Social, Emotional, Mental Health) aged 4 to 16 years.      Grantham      (previously  Phoenix Academy)
  • Gosberton House Academy is a specialist primary school mainly for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.       Near Spalding

More pages

                               

Autism discussion

Bill Nason developed the Autism Discussion Page to discuss tools that help children on the spectrum feel safe, accepted and competent.       Click Facebook icon to browse.       He has written an article for Autism Parenting magazine with the title, Can my child ever learn to live on his own?       Click page icon to view.  

He has also written a few books, notably The Autism Discussion Page on the core challenges of autism: A toolbox for helping children with autism feel safe, accepted, and competent.      See Amazon       Good Reads

Making it work

Getting what your child needs may put parents up against difficulties and obstacles.        Professionals may try to fob you off to begin with suggesting that things might sort themselves out – perhaps partly because they do not see your child at home.       See:  GAIN tips.

Ambitious about Autism has a lot of online discussion about educational issues.      See website: www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk
Twitter has a link to the website at the top of its display.       Look for the magnifying glass icon on their site to search.

School Transport

Cereba, the UK based charity, has produced a booklet about School Transport.        It lays out the basis for the local authority to decide whether a child cannot reasonably walk to school.        See also Cereba website.

Schooling problems

High-functioning children can be very resourceful, but it may take some time for them to get on top of things.

School refuser:  Read about the experience of a  Teenage girl  and a  Teenage boy .        They show very different approaches on the part of the parents.       Both are taken from the same on-line  Discussion .

Learning to read:   In this case things suddenly clicked at the age of 7.

Secondary school:   One of our committee members says,  I found my first year at Kings’ School a bit intimidating.    There were quite a few in my class who were clearly much more clever than me.       I was much more comfortable in the second year, having been put in a class based on my grades at the end of the first year.

Professionals

Employment

Ambitious About Autism offer a range of resources to help get more autistic people into work.      Click icon to find their Employment section.       In 2021 they launched their toolkit to help support autistic young people into the workplace.       new

National autistic society

The National Autistic Society has many pages about professional practice.       Click page icon to browse their professional practice pages or twitter icon for their Autism practice feed.

Life Support DVD’s

This UK based site offers sex education DVD’s.       Click icon for You, Your Body, Growing Up, Relationships and Sex.       It is their SEND menu option.       See previews:   Kylie’s private world       Jason’s private world 

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This is a page for professionals who may be quite new to autism.        See also:  Autism awareness        SEN/EHC Information         Sensory sensitivity for Sensory Processing Disorder under SPD.

Flexi-schooling?

There is a shared classroom and home-schooling approach to education that may be worth considering for some autistic children.       Click icon for the National Autistic Society’s page on the subject.

Finished at school

Ambitious About Autism published a guide at the end of their Finished at School (FaS) campaign.       The learning it captured is intended to support colleges in developing effective practice to support learners with autism to make a successful transition from school to college and into adult life.        Click icon for guide.

See also:  www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk         Twitter has a link to the website at the top of its display.       Once there navigate to:

Menu > Who we are > Campaigns > Finished at School 

Team Around the Child

As a guide, a TAC is required where two or more support services are involved.       Click icon for Lincolnshire Council guidance for professionals.

Here is a one stop resource for those in need of Teams Around a Child: Early Help Lincolnshire       Here is the TAC website establised by Peter Limbrick who developed TAC.

TEACCH

Treatmentand Educationof Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) is another broad brush approach to working with children or adults with autism.        It has more to do with values and priorities than specific techniques.        Click icon for more detail.
The NAS Early bird programme draws on the TEACCH approach.        See also:  Autism UK       Wikipedia

Training courses

Supporting inclusion

Click icon for Lincolnshire Council pages about supporting inclusion.       It covers aspects of special educational needs & disabilityfor professionals.

Lincolnshire has four integrated locality teams.       SENCOs from all early years providers, registered childminders and out of school club managers can request Early Years inclusion support.        See Early years support         It has an inclusion support referral form at the bottom of the page and email addresses.

Working together team

The Working Together Team offers support to schools and academies for students with a wide range of social communication and / or learning needs.        See also:  detail          SEN Support – Scroll down to Social communication outreach.

Flash Cards

Sparklebox offer free teaching aids for children with special educational needs.          Here is the Speech page.        Their terms of use are brief.

Co-ordination

Early years can extend as far as the age of 18 with ESCO.       This is short for Early years Support Care & Co-ordination,

Tips & issues

Family relationships

The National Autistic Society has a range of guides for navigating family relationships, and advice for parents, siblings, and children on how to support their autistic family member.       Click icon to find out more.

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See also Coronavirus resources

Spectrum magazine

The National Autistic Society publishes The spectrum magazine, containing autistic art, poetry and prose.       Created by autistic people, its content covers all things autism.         Click icon to find out more.       For example Oct 2020 issue.

Contact

Contact – for families with disabled children – was founded by parents.     They seem to know what is what.      Click icon to get to the point.

The podcast university

What to do if you are at a loose end?       This is basically a plug for a number of BBC podcasts that might pique your interest.       Click icon to view.

Thinking styles

  • Temple Grandin says that there are three autistic thinking styles:  visual thinkers, verbal specialists and pattern thinkers.       See post.
  • Autism Toolbox is  a resource to foster inclusion in early learning settings and schools.       it has a section on cognitive theories of autism.

Facbook small iconAutism Discussion

Autism Discussion Page is the title of this Facebook page.       It contains brief articles with comments.       Anyone registered with Facebook can add their own comments.

Making your child happier

This article offers Eleven ways you can make your autistic child’s life easier.

Temple Grandin’s FAQ’s

Temple Grandin is a lady with high-functioning Asperger’s who has made an academic career for herself.       Click icon to browse her Frequently Asked Questions page.       The Ask Temple link, in the top left corner, gives you a form for asking your own question.

Ellen Notbohm

This Facebook page offers a handy starting point for several topics from the author Ellen Notbohm.       The award-winning author is known for her popular books and columns on autism, published worldwide in more than twenty languages.       See the Notes option on the Facebook page for key topics.        She also has a website.      The Blog and Articles menu options might be worth a look.

Facbook small iconAutism on The Mighty

We have a number of links from The Mighty on our website and Facebook page.        This page picks out autism related material from their website.       Click icon to browse.

NetmumsDoc icon

  • The Netmums site has quite a few pages  under the Autism/Asperger’s heading.      Clicking the icon to browse.
  • A number of mothers post a description of their situation on this  site – see:  Preschool        School age         Older children / teenagers.
  • To simply browse Netmums use their search box at the top right corner of the page, but for information about the members’ only areas see their registration page,

Evidence-based optimism

The thinking person’s guide to autism is a forum intended to encourage visitors, To think, ask questions, question the media, and learn from each other       The people behind it say, Autism misinformation clouds and is perpetuated by the Internet.     We want to make accurate information about autism causation and therapies visible, accessible, and centralized.

Christmas 

Ambitious About Autism is publishing a few tips for Christmas under the heading: Include autism this Christmas.      Click icon to view.

Coping skills

Six types of coping skills.      An array of graphics.

The best activities

Ideas about activities for special needs.      After-school and weekend activities for children with disabilities can build self-esteem, skills, friendships and a sense of belonging.

What autism mums do not want to hear

This will ring a few bells for parents of a child on the autistic spectrum.      Things not to say to an autism mum .

Re-charging the batteries

‘Society has programmed us to think, “What kind of mother is she, taking care of herself before her child?”  but that’s completely wrong.’      Here are 10 must dos for parents of children with special needs.

Scope

Scope describes itself as the disability equality charity.

  • Members ask the online community for Support and Information.       There are quite a few subject categories.
  • It has online community groups on which you can post questions and comments.
  • They also have Community champions to make sure the community is a safe, supportive place to be.

Surviving Asperger’s Syndrome

This on-line publication takes the form of brief bullet points divided up into chapters.        See:  Survival guide

Tips for married couples

This is for the partner of someone with Asperger’s:  Chat website

Fear busting

Here are some tips on  tackling fear .

Soap Operas

These can provide a handy way to improve emotional literacy and people skills.      Soaps focus on emotional issues and lay it on with a trowel.      For example, see  Roy Cropper  from Coronation Street.

Moving House

Children on the autistic spectrum can find the idea of moving house unsettling, but there are things could do that might help.

  • Tell him obvious things, repeatedly, e.g. that he is moving too.
  • Tell him what familiar things you are taking, e.g. items of furniture.
  • Try to re-create his old bedroom from day one.      This is not a good time for a revamp.
  • Use the same bedding & PJs for continuity.       If necessary leaving them unwashed would be even better.
  • Get PC running in new home from day one.       Buy that computer game he has always wanted and give him free access to the PC around the time of the move.

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School age

Explaining to a child

You may want to explain autism or related issues:

  • Children with special needs: How to explain disability to a child – Huffington Post.          See  article
  • Question:    We recently got a diagnosis.      How should I explain high functioning autism to my affected son and his ‘typical’ siblings?           See:   Answer.          Also, this book is highly recommended by parents.           See  Amazon UK
  • 15 children’s books.         See  article         Amazon UK

More generally, the National Autistic Society offers tips for communicating with an autistic child.      new

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See also Preparing for change about leaving primary and secondary school.

Social skills

  • Options Group has produced a help sheet about developing emotional and social skills.       For more about Options Group see  Specialist services
  • Prep focial success is a book aimed at parents of children on the autistic spectrum.        Amazon offers an eBook version.      The Amazon page says that it offers a four step programme:   PLAN, REHEARSE, ENCOURAGE, PRAISE and, Facbook small iconthe PREP program can be applied to a number of settings including school and group activities such as sports or clubs.        There are good reviews on Amazon but the NAS, Ambitious about Autism and NetMums did not seem to mention the book as of Aug 2015.       Click icon to see the authors’ Facebook site.

Medical appointments

Click icon for an autism help sheet on preparing for appointments with medical or clinical professionals, produced by a speech therapist with Options.          See also more help sheets.

Sleep & Dreams

Click page icon for the National Autistic Society article about sleep or PDF icon  for helpsheet on sleep and autism.        See also:  Nightmares        Social stories below might be adapted.

Thula the therapy cat

Iris was a 6 year old on the autism spectrum.         Her mother was surprised to see the way her daughter bonded with a cat that the family was looking after.           She bought a cat of a recommend bread.         Here is a brief video presentation of the story and here is an illustrated article.          See also more pictures.

Here is another case of a father who took is son cat shopping at an animal shelter.

Bullying

Why might autistic pupils be at risk of being bullied?       What can parents do about it?        Click icon for National Autistic Society guide.

  • A book by Luke Jackson with the title Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome has a well written chapter on bullying.           See Library books for more about this book.
  • Childline is a free, private and confidential service where you can be yourself.        Get in touch about anything:  online, on the phone at any time.             See:  website        bullying

Mothers’ Experiences

Click icon to read about parents whose school-age children have either autism or Aspergers.

Early Support

Lincolnshire County Council provide an Early Support, Care and Co-ordination service, or ESCO for short.        The eligibility criteria have been extended from children with complex health needs or disabilities under five to include young people up to eighteen years of age.         Click icon for more information.

Toileting

  • ERIC is a children’s bowel & bladder charity serving the UK.       Their website has a page about children with additional needs.        Have a look under Help & support along the top of their screen – e.g. Fact sheets      Guides         They have a helpline.       You can fill in an enquiry form requesting a call back or an email.
  • Bladder & bowel is a UK Disability Living support group for promoting continence and product awareness.       Have a look at their resources for children and young people.        Their helpline is a Manchester number.       They also have an online contact form.

See also 

Education News

Lincolnshire SEND plans

A £50m investment was approved by Lincolnshire County Council for SEND provision some time ago.        Click icon for summary.      The council is working with Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum to develop a new strategy for special education.       new

County news reported construction getting underway in Dec 2020.    

Ombudsman complaints

Children with special educational needs and disabilities are increasingly being failed by the system designed to support them, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.        The Ombudsman is now upholding nearly 87% of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan cases.       Click icon for full article.

Educational psychologists

Following a report showing an insufficient number of educational psychologists, £30 million extra for training has been announced.          Click icon to read about it.

SEN crisis

The mother of an autistic son, aged seven, wrote about her fight to get him assessed and placed in a school that could meet his needs.        Click icon to read the article of 26/Oct/2018.

Robot coding

Click icon for a video about a computer coding project that is believed to stimulate children on the spectrum to take an interest in and develop social & communication skills.

Lincolnshire SEND strategy

Lincolnshire County Council is developing a new strategy for special education.       They give it the title:  Building Communities of Specialist Provision for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Lincolnshire.       The Lincolnshire  Parent Carer Forum has dedicated a section of their website specifically to these developments.          Click icon to find out about it.

Parliament inquiry

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism has produced a report.          The Click icon to see the Special Needs Jungle’s (SNJ) take.            The SNJ is a parent led group.            See SEN Information for more about them.

Teenage geek

Autistic teenager creates artificial intelligence but ‘can’t get school place’.              It took Kari Lawler only a week to build her own virtual assistant, which operates on the same lines as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.            It’s incredible when you consider what the large technology companies have spent on producing something not very different to what Kari has managed to achieve in such a short space of time.               Her parents have not yet been able to get a school place for her since she was diagnosed and finished at primary school.

SEND Reforms

  • How are the SEN & Disability reforms of 2014 going?              The picture does not seem to be all bad but there is room for improvement.
  • Updates continue to be added.
  • If you are experiencing difficulties you are not alone and it might be worth looking for helpful details.               For example, one survey revealed that only just over half of pupils with SEND (54%) believed that teachers and other school staff were preparing them well for adult life once they leave school/college or training    Could this perhaps reflect a generalised insecurity felt by pupils as they look ahead to the future? 

Click icon to browse articles about reforms.       See also: What Parents told the government        See also:  Botched job?
FromstatementtoEHCP

Not getting out

NHS

The NHS section on not getting out, or Agoraphobia, gives us a pretty clear picture of  established scientific opinion.      Click icon to browse.      There is a link to treatment – including self-help tips.

National autistic society

Searching the National Autistic Society site for agoraphobia leads to a page on anxiety.     Although it is aimed at professionals It may provide some useful context.      Click icon to view.      Under the sub-heading Are autistic people more likely to be anxious? they include fear of open spaces and crowds.

They also have a handy article on Anxietyy in autistic adults.       It provides links for autistic adults and parents.

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Introduction

Just a quick tip:  perhaps you could try using one of the following statements:

  1. “I can be anxious and still deal with the situation.”
  2. “I’ll just let my body do its thing. This will pass.”
  3. “This anxiety won’t hurt me, even if it doesn’t feel good”.
  4. “This feeling isn’t comfortable or pleasant, but I can accept it.”

Experiences

Click icon to find out how others have found their way through panic attacks.        Also, someone with high-functioning Asperger’s describes their own experience dealing with anxiety.

More detailPanic attacks etc

  • What is the range of symptoms?
  • Can people with high functioning Asperger’s be severely effected by
    anxiety?      It seems so:
    – High functioning autism is associated with anxiety disorder.
    – A discussion of the link between high IQ and anxiety
  • Can virtual reality help with not getting out?      Video           Text           Research

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Fatigue

ME/Chronic Fatigue

Here is the NHS guide to Chronic Fatigue (CFS/ME).      Click icon to browse.

It seems to have taken a good few years for ME to become widely recognised across the medical profession as a genuine and debilitating condition but things seem to have improved a fair bit in that respect.      This has been in no small part due to the work of groups like the ME Association.      They are a UK national support group for people with ME.      Click icon for their website.

Dr Charles Sheperd talks about his experience of ME in what is ME?       See also:  symptoms & assessment       what you need to know      new

Autism and ME/Chronic fatigue

Autistic burnout seems to be an informal phrase used in the autistic community.      Click play button to watch a video by Amythest Schaber.      She seems to have a clear understanding of the issues and presents them well.       Also:

  • They thought I was lazy … when I was just actually autistic.      This is one of many perceptive reflections on life through one female Asperger’s lens.      See article.
  • Is it just me, or do other people with autism feel tired all the time?      See autism & tiredness to view article.

Money (16+)

Social care & support

The NHS website explains how to pay for care and support, and where you can get help with costs.      Click icon to browse.

Money advice

Here is a website offering popular tools and free, impartial money advice.        It was set up by government.        Click icon to browse.      Lincolnshire County Council also offers information and advice on benefits and finance.      It uses an 0300 number which is charged at the landline rate.       See also Lincolnshire guide to the service.

Citizens advice has several pages about money matters.      See debt & money.      Their Grantham office is at the Guildhall arts centre.       Alternatively, find your local advice centre.

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See Support for carers about Carer’s Allowance for carers of adults.

Benefits

The National Autistic Society has a range of pages about  autism-related benefits.       Click icon to view       They include:

  • Employment & Support Allowance
  • Benefits for young autistic people
  • Benefits for autistic adults

Carers FIRST is the new name for Carers connect.      Click icon for their welfare benefits page.      More broadly, to find out what Carers FIRST has to offer and how it fits in with Lincolnshire Carers Service see Families.

Benefits news

  • Get the latest on the benefits system.       See Disability news
  • Inquiry into disability benefits, led by Frank Field in 2017, ‘deluged’ by tales of despair.           Several themes emerge from the testimony heard by the work and pensions committee.       See article.
  • Exemption from re-assessment for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) is not as expected, in 2017.       People with life-long or severe disability will only be exempt if they are deemed to be unfit for ‘work-related activity’.        See article.

Housing

Housing benefits or Council tax support may be available if someone in your household is on a low income.      Click icon for specifics.

Transition at age 18

At  age 18 social care support transfers from Children’s Services to Adult Social Care.      Click icon to start the assessment process and arrange personal budgets.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

This is the replacement for DLA for people aged 16-65 with a disability or long term health problem.      It has been in the process of being phased in since 2013.

  • Citizens Advice offer a large number of pages about PIP, all neatly arranged to make it easy to find your way around.
  • The National Autistic Society (NAS) has published an series of pages on the benefit.       The link takes you to the main one.
  • If you want to see what the government has to say about it, you can choose from Overview,  Detail and News.

Universal credit

Contact has produced a page about Universal Credit.        Click icon on the left to view.      They have also launched a campaign about Universal Credit called Counting the cost.       The aim is to stop the cut in benefits for disabled children it represents.

They also have a helpline – with four ways to get in touch:                     

Experiences with work

Getting and keeping jobs

How do people with Asperger’s get and keep jobs?       It can be tricky.       Click icon for discussion.

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I’m not a robot

Why It’s Hard To Keep A Job When You Have Asperger’s, I’m Not a Robot.      Click icon for article    See also about the author.

Issues around rigidity

Heather shares her experience of learning to work on the spectrum.      She talks about coping with her issues around rigidity.       There is a video clip at the top of the page (preceded by an advert).      Be the best you can be at that job because that’s what’s gonna save you if you do make the social blunders, Lesko said.       Click icon for article

Non-profit agencies

John has lost several jobs due to social anxiety.       This article explores the ways in which nonprofit agencies offer help in placing autistic young adults into jobs.      They recommend supports like checklists, clear outlines of rules and procedures, quieter workspaces when possible and short, scheduled breaks for sensory downtime when needed.       Click icon for article

Peterborough schools

Pupil referral

Peterborough pupil referral service is for children and young people aged 4 to 16 who are not accessing mainstream school for a variety of reasons, including needs best met in a specialist setting.      See: service

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Parents are free to apply to schools outside their home county.      After visiting schools of interest and deciding on your preferences, the next step seems to be the  admissions process for the county in which you live, e.g. Lincolnshire

The schools

Medeshamstede Academy is a state school for pupils aged from 4 to 16.       All pupils have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) for communication and interaction with a diagnosis of Autism as their main presenting need.        See: website       new 

The Lime Academy Orton Special School.      Pupils aged 2 to 19 are admitted to the school via the Peterborough Local Authority admissions panel.      See: summary       school website        new

Heltwate School is a co-educational special school for children and young people aged 5 to 19 years with Moderate to Severe learning Difficulties,
Autistic Spectrum Condition and many additional medical needs.  
   See: website

Marshfields School is a mixed, day, community special school.        We cater for 170 learners aged from 11 to 19 each of whom has a Statement of Special Educational Need, primarily for moderate learning difficulties.       See: website

Park House School is an independent school for students aged 6 to 19 with a diagnosis of autism who would benefit from 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 adult support.      See: summary        school website