At Millstead School we understand that children with Autism learn more effectively when a range of strategies are implemented to enable pupils to engage in learning. A strong focus is also placed on developing children’s social skills and communication skills. Children are taught within both discrete provision classes and integrated groups. These strategies include:
Many children with Autism have sensory difficulties which can result in unusual or uncomfortable perception of sound, sense, touch, sight and smell. This means that many children are unable to focus upon teaching activities and are distracted by sound, visual or other stimuli. This has a profound effect upon their ability to learn and impacts on behaviour especially when sensory input causes extreme discomfort or pain. As a school we strive to find ways to filter these sensory stimuli and enable our children to deal with them so that they do not affect learning and behaviour. We also take into consideration that children with Autism may have difficulties with flexibility of thought and therefore require clear visual support to understand routines and expectations. Some of the strategies we employ to try and reduce environmental anxiety and distress are:
● providing an environment which is calm, distraction free and has low levels of visual and auditory stimuli where appropriate
● providing pupils with a high degree of visual and physical structure to their learning.
At Millstead we recognise that all behaviour has a function . We work closely with families and other agencies to identify functions of behaviours in order to implement appropriate support and strategies.
Specific strategies are used to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of well-being and to modify unwanted behaviours and promote more appropriate ones. Pupils have individual behaviour support plans that are regularly reviewed and updated with parents, healthcare and education professionals and form part of the documentation for the annual review of EHCPs.
All staff are trained in MAPA (Managing Actual and Potential Aggression) in order to ensure that any incident of challenging behaviours are dealt with appropriately and in keeping with school's policies and procedures.