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BLOG: Resources for educational recovery - Autism Awareness Week 2021

Lockdown and the pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but it affected autistic people and their families disproportionately. Uncertainty and change are particularly challenging for autistic people to deal with. But you can do something to help. Join us in supporting post-lockdown recovery. Spread the word and our information about ways to support autistic children and young people as they return to school or continue with home-schooling.

Did you know:

Autism is a lifelong developmental difference affecting how people communicate and interact with the world and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

Over 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, and the number of children receiving an autism diagnosis is rising.

Whether a child is home-schooled or they attend a SEN or mainstream setting, lockdown has caused unexpected changes for us all. Usual ‘reasonable adjustments’ have not been possible. And these are necessary for autistic students for good reason.

At Autism Education Trust, we aim to equip education settings and home-schooling parents all over the UK, so that they can support children and young people from 0 – 25 in education. In a recent survey, we heard from parents of SEND children and educational professionals which found that during lockdown:

  • Seven in ten parents of autistic children said their child had difficulty understanding or completing school work, and around half said their child’s academic progress suffered.
  • Compared to the general public, autistic people in June and July were:
    • Seven times more likely to be chronically lonely.
    • Six times more likely to have low life satisfaction.

As a result of these statistics, this year we are focusing on supporting post-lockdown recovery for World Autism Awareness Week 2021 and we want to get as many providers involved as possible.

Childcare providers are key to supporting the educational development of autistic children and young people and you can do this by simply using the tools and resources tailored to practitioners, parents and organisations.

The brand-new Autism Resource Suite contains the latest guidelines, resources and practical strategies for education professionals supporting autistic learners in 2021. This includes:

  • A complementary collection of 6 Tools from our most popular resource – Tools for Teachers.
  • Progression Framework - A comprehensive interactive assessment tool for children and young people on the autism spectrum in mainstream and specialist early years, school and post 16 settings.
  • Good Autism Practice Guidance - The eight principles of good autism practice.
  • Competency Framework - A self-evaluation tool that practitioners can use to rate their current practice and understanding against a set of descriptors (knowledge, skills, personal qualities).
  • Autism Standards - A set of standards from the AET, to enable educational settings to evaluate your practice in addressing the needs of pupils on the autism spectrum.

The AET also offers training through our partners in Local Authority areas across the UK. So if you would like to implement good autism practise with the children you care for, take a look at our Early Years Training Providers.

We also offer a wide range of parent resources which we would love for you to share with the parents in your setting. Resources include:

  • The Parent Guide: Offers support and advice for a hugely important moment of your child’s life in education: choosing a new school and for those potentially difficult meetings with the SENCO and the school support team.
  • Read about the Exclusion service offered by the National Autistic Society (NAS)
  • Advice and support for home educating.
  • Back-to-School and Covid-19 Information Centre – including a Tools for Teachers Covid-19 edition booklet and a wealth of support materials from our partners across England including two detailed case studies with practical planning tools, impact assessment and sensory profiles.

Please spread help spread the word and improve education for autistic children and young people.

You can read more of our stats, some of the comments, tips and inspiring guidance from our Lockdown Survey on the website.

About the author

Autism Education Trust is a not-for-profit supported by the National Autistic Society and Ambitious about Autism, and funded by The Department of Education. The AET promotes and supports partnerships throughout the education system to improve educational access, experiences and outcomes for autistic children and young people.

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