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Creating autism-friendly classrooms

David Burns, an autistic adult and member of Mensa, is the author of “Do lemons have feathers? More to autism than meets the eye”. He has written a guide which offers strategies to support autistic pupils in mainstream primary schools, based on his professional and personal experience.  The guide can be freely distributed and used in training materials.

Download David's guide here

Below are some highlights from the guide

  • Get to know the child. Ask yourself “What do I need to give to help this person achieve their best”.
  • Use plain language and give examples with instruction.
  • Judge carefully, observe and investigate issues with behaviour or low achievement – find out what the underlying reasons are.
  • Make adjustments and be flexible. Children need things explained to them in a way that’s suitable for them.
  • Give time to process and break large tasks into smaller ones.
  • Include quiet times. Schools are noisy busy environments that can make some children stressed and anxious.
  • Organise activities at break time.
  • Involve parents and carers, and approach them in the right way. Staff and parents need to share their knowledge and experience.
  • Be aware of personal space and sensory sensitivities.
  • Take a child’s treatment by others seriously, as some may be more vulnerable to bullying or exploitation.
  • Eye contact is useful but not essential.
  • Don’t wait for a diagnosis - if a child needs support then step in and help them.
  • Inclusion isn’t something we do – it’s something we believe. If we believe in inclusion then that will naturally filter down into everything else

Author: David Burns

Date added: 1 April 2017