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Autistic Spectrum Disorders

SEN Guidance 2014

 

The Autism Spectrum: Including Communication and Interaction needs

How to use this Guidance:

 

Identifying range

 

  1. Read the descriptors at the bottom of this page and identify those that describe your child. You may find it useful to print off a copy of these and highlight ones that apply.
  2. Use the SEN Guidance descriptor information in the first column of each range to think about how the pupil’s individual profile affects their access to the curriculum and school life. These statements support a decision about whether the pupil is mildly, moderately or severely affected and give guidance about how contexts and support needed affect placement at a particular range.
  3. Steps 1 and 2 above should enable professionals to make a judgement about which range the pupil is at currently. It is important to recognise that these ranges can alter either because the pupil’s profile may change or because of context changes such as times of transition/ school placement.

 

Using the Guidance to support learning

 

  1. Once the range has been established, professionals will advise those involved with the child about how to support the learning of children with Autism/ Communication and Interaction Needs at each range. 
  2. It is important to recognise that Quality First Teaching will provide a firm basis upon which to use the additional strategies identified at each range. Strategies and advice from earlier ranges need to be utilised as well as more specialised information as the ranges increase.
  3. Further information about any matters relating to Communication and Interaction Needs/Autism can be requested by contacting a member of the Autism Spectrum Outreach Team on 01274 439500.

 

Currently all newly diagnosed children and young people will be referred to the AS Team routinely.  Specialist staff from the team will undertake an assessment of newly diagnosed C&YP and share their assessments and recommendations with settings and families.

 

It is acknowledged that other conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and mild to moderate learning difficulties occur alongside Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Acknowledgement of these is not specifically made within this guidance. 

 

Communication and Interaction/ Autism Spectrum

Descriptors

 

The children and young people (C&YP) to whom this guidance relates will present with a range of Communication and Interaction differences which challenge their learning and social inclusion.  Individual C&YP display a range of differences which will vary in severity and intensity and which may change over time.  It is not expected that any C&YP will match all the descriptors listed below.   C&YP who display Social Communication and Interaction differences but who are not diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder may share some of the difficulties in social imagination, inflexibility of thought and sensory differences seen in C&YP on the Autism Spectrum.  The suggested provision and resourcing at the appropriate range will support effective teaching and learning for this group of C&YP.

 

 

Children and young people with communication and interaction differences / Autism may have differences in the areas identified below.  Use these descriptors to identify the needs of an individual C&YP:

 

Communication and Reciprocal Social Interaction (Social Affect)

 

  • Difficulties recognising that they are part of a class, group or wider social situation.
  • Social situations present challenges resulting in emotional outbursts, withdrawal, social vulnerability and/or isolation.
  • Poor empathy, imagination and play skills which affects social understanding and impacts on learning in subjects such as English and RE
  • Unusual eye gaze or eye contact.  Facial expressions may be limited or reduced in range.  May not use or understand non-verbal communication.
  • Difficulties with understanding spoken language or difficulties expressing their own wishes and feelings (expressive and receptive needs).  Speech may be delayed or unusual and may have an odd intonation pattern with immediate or delayed repetition (echolalia)
  • Literal Interpretations of language and learning with poor understanding of abstract language. Higher order language skills may be impaired, e.g. understanding and use of metaphor, inference and emotional language.
  • Issues with interpreting and understanding whole class instructions and general information
  • Difficulties with the concept of time and sequencing of events significantly affect everyday activities.
  • Difficulties with personal space. May invade others space or find close group work difficult
  • Little awareness of danger in comparison to children of their age. May ‘run’ or ‘climb’ with no regard to hazards. May be unaware of hurting others.
  • May have coping strategies that enable successful social interaction with peers.  At times of stress or anxiety, however, responses will be unusual and socially awkward.

 

Restricted and Repetitive Behaviours

  • Anxiety to even small unplanned changes in the environment or learning tasks leading to reactions of outbursts or withdrawal
  • Unusual or different behaviours or obsessions with everyday objects, people or toys. This can lead to difficulties with finishing desired activities.  May display an intense interest in a topic that is explored with a high level of frequency and/or inappropriateness to context or audience.
  • Difficulties managing transition between different environments or tasks. Routine and visual structure supports these issues. 
  • Inability to maintain focus and concentration age appropriately.  May be easily distracted or may not switch attention easily.
  • Inconsistent patterns of behaviour across a spectrum from challenging or impulsive to extreme passivity.

 

Sensory Differences

  • Unusual over or under responsiveness to sensory stimuli e.g. touch or noise which may affect access to everyday events or activities e.g. dining halls. May show signs of delayed hand/eye co-ordination and/or fine/gross motor skills or display unusual body movements such as flapping, toe walking, tics or unusual posturing.  May eat inedible objects ‘pica’
  • May display unusual sensory responses to the environment at times of heightened stress.  This may present as anxiety.

Sensory differences can affect physical milestones such as toileting and eating development. These can cause high anxiety in the child/young person and those who care for them.

 

Overview - Range Descriptors

 

 

 

Range 1

 

C&YP at range 1 will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors on page 3 of this document that may affect their access to some aspects of the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and school life.

C&YP may or may not have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder made by an appropriate multi-agency team.

 

 

Range 2

 

C/YP at range 2 will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors on page 3 of this document that affect access to a number of aspects of the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and school life.

C/YP may or may not have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder by an appropriate multi-agency team.

 

 

 

 

Range 3

 

C/YP at range 3 will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors on page 3 of this document that will significantly affect their access to the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and all aspects of school life. This is especially true in new and unfamiliar contexts.

The pervasive nature of the Autism/ C&I needs is likely to have a detrimental effect on the acquisition, retention and generalisation of skills and therefore, on the result of any assessment.

C/YP may or may not have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder made by an appropriate multi-agency team.

 

 

 

 

Range 4i

 

C/YP at range 4i will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors that severely affect their access to the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and all aspects of school life. This is especially true in new and unfamiliar contexts but will also affect access at times of high stress in some known and familiar contexts and with familiar support/people available.

The pervasive nature of the Autism/ C&I needs is likely to have a detrimental effect on the acquisition, retention and generalisation of skills and therefore on the result of any assessment.

 

C/YP will have an uneven learning profile but their attainment levels suggest they can access a differentiated mainstream curriculum.

 

Children may or may not have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum by an appropriate multi-agency diagnostic team.

 

 

 

 

Range 4ii

 

C/YP at range 4ii will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors of this document that severely affect their access to the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and all aspects of school life, even in known and familiar contexts and with familiar support/people available.

The pervasive nature of the Autism/ C&I needs is likely to have a detrimental effect on the acquisition, retention and generalisation of skills and therefore on the result of any assessment.

 

Children and young people at range 4(ii) may be in the following settings

 

Mainstream

C/YP will have an uneven learning profile but their attainment levels suggest they can access a differentiated mainstream curriculum. C/YP will require significantly more support than is normally provided in a mainstream setting.

Pupils within Designated Special Provisions will have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum by an appropriate multi-agency diagnostic team.

Special

Attainment profile is below expected NC levels, the majority of attainments within the P level range

C/YP may or may not have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

 

Range 1 - School/ setting based responses

 

Descriptor

 

 

1. Use the range guidance to identify the child's range. 

2. Consider whether the following statement describes how the C/YP is affected within school: C&YP at range 1 will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors on page 3 of this document that may affect their access to some aspects of the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and school life.

3. If this statement accurately describes your child or young person use the advice given in range 1. If not you will need to consider descriptors for other levels.

C&YP may or may not have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder made by an appropriate multi-agency team.

 

Assessment

 & Planning

 

Assessment:

  • Will be part of school/setting and class teaching and assessments
  • SENCo may be involved in more specific assessments and observations

Planning:

  • Curriculum plans should include individual/group targets
  • Family may be involved regularly and support targets at home provided
  • Pupil will be involved in setting and monitoring his targets, where appropriate
  • Information around specific C&YP will shared with staff in setting at pupil progress meetings

 

 

Groupings for teaching

 

  • Must be included in mainstream class with specific support for targets which involve communication and interaction
  • Should be offered opportunities for small group work within the usual classroom planning and management

 

Human resources & staffing

 

Setting:

  • Flexible use of resources and staffing available in the classroom
  • Support from colleagues within setting, including SENCo.

LA:

 

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

 

Resources/Provision:

  • The use of Quality First teaching approaches, as detailed on Bradford Schools Online, to support the development of social communication and interaction skills
    • Must have full inclusion to the National Curriculum
    • Flexibility may be required to enable the C&YP to follow instructions and/or record work
    • Instructions may need to be supported by use of visual and written cues
    • Preparation for change and the need for clear routines will be required
    • Reduction of complex language, especially when giving instructions and asking questions, may be required

 

NC Level

  • Across the expected range with an unusual learning profile showing relative weaknesses in some areas and strengths in others

 

Range 2  - School/Setting based responses

 

Descriptor

 

 

 

1. Use the range guidance to identify the child's needs. 

2. Consider whether the following statement describes how the C/YP is affected within school C/YP at range 2 will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors on page 3 of this document that affect access to a number of aspects of the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and school life.

3. If this statement accurately describes your child or young person use the advice given in range 2. If not you will need to consider descriptors for other levels.

C/YP may or may not have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder by an appropriate multi-agency team.

 

Assessment

& Planning

 

Assessment:

As range 1 plus:

  • Use of more detailed NC assessment tools e.g. B Squared/PIVATS
  • Could also include other assessments relating to need, e.g. sensory profile, advice from SALT or OT advice (where applicable)

Planning:

  • Curriculum plans will reflect levels of achievement and include individually focused targets, especially in the area of Speech and Language and PSHCE

 

 

Groupings for teaching

 

  • Will be mainstream class-based and will have opportunity for small group and individual work to target specific needs relating to communication and interaction needs
  • May need adaptations to the working environment such as a quiet area within the classroom for individual work

 

 

Human resources & staffing

 

As range 1, plus:

Setting:

  • Will need additional professional support from skilled colleagues, e.g. SENCo, to aid curriculum modifications
  • Will need additional professional support from skilled colleagues to develop strategies to address social interaction, social communication and social understanding
  • Will need use of additional school support to implement specific materials, approaches and resources as appropriate

LA:

As range 1

 

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

 

As range 1 plus:

  • Curriculum access will be facilitated by using a structured approach to provision which should involve: using visual systems or timetables; reducing language for instructions/ information giving. Further details on curriculum methods are available on Bradford Schools Onlinehttps://bso.bradford.gov.uk/Schools/CMSPage.aspx?mid=1891
  • Teaching approaches should take account of difficulties identified within the range descriptors

 

Resources and Intervention Strategies

 

As range 1 plus

  • The use of Quality First teaching approaches, as detailed on Bradford Schools Online, to support the development of social communication and interaction skills
    • Flexibility will be required to enable the C/YP to follow instructions and/or record work
    • Clear use of visual and written cues will be useful to support instructions
    • Preparation for change and the need for clear routines will be required
    • Reduction of complex language, especially when giving instructions and asking questions, will be required

 

 

NC Levels

Across the expected range but with an unusual profile showing relative weaknesses in certain areas and strengths in others

 

 

 

 

 

Range 3  - School/setting based responses

 

Descriptor

 

 

1. Use the range guidance to identify the child's needs. 

2. Consider whether the following statement describes how the C/YP is affected within school: C/YP at range 3 will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors on page 3 of this document that will significantly affect their access to the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and all aspects of school life. This is especially true in new and unfamiliar contexts.

3. If this statement accurately describes your child or young person use the advice given in range 3. If not you will need to consider descriptors for other levels.

The pervasive nature of the Autism/ C&I needs is likely to have a detrimental effect on the acquisition, retention and generalisation of skills and therefore, on the result of any assessment.

C/YP may or may not have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder made by an appropriate multi-agency team.

 

Assessment

& Planning

 

Assessment:

As range 1 and 2 plus:

  • More specialised assessment tools in relation to specific descriptors to include:  PSE p-level assessments; TALC; Motivational Assessment; Elklan Attention checklist; STAR behavioural analysis. Advice on these assessments can be accessed from the professional drop in sessions (primary) or through the keyworker system in secondary.
  • Accurate and up to date assessment of independent levels (NC/P-Levels) must be kept as a working document to aid planning and to share with family
  • Assessment may include a sensory profile.
  • The SCERTS framework supports the identification of key areas of need in relation to C/YP with communication and interaction needs/Autism. This is being used within Bradford to aid assessment and planning for this group of C&YP: 

 

Planning:

  • Curriculum plans will reflect levels of achievement and must include individually focused IEP targets
  • Planning may need to incorporate adaptations such as rest breaks, time allocated to sensory  difficulties and processing needs

 

 

Groupings for teaching

 

As range 1 and 2 plus:

  • Inclusion within the mainstream classroom.  However, there will be a need for an enhanced level of individual support. This may be up to 16.5 hours per week
  • Targeted support will be needed which may include unstructured parts of the day, e.g. start and end of school day, breaks,  lunchtimes and trips out of school
  • Support for areas of sensory needs which may include ‘time out’ space and other environmental adaptations to reduce stress and anxiety

 

 

Human resources & staffing

 

As range 1 and 2 plus:

Setting:

  • Attendance at professional drop-in sessions at primary hub schools or via the keyworker system in secondary will be used as a source of specific advice and support. Observation of good practice may be available at the hub schools 
  • Advice/ training information from the Autism Spectrum Outreach Team will be sought via the re-referral process
  • Teaching approaches must take account of difficulties identified within the range descriptors. 
  • Key member of staff should be available to work with a member of the AS Team where re-referrals are made
  • Staff working directly with pupils must have knowledge and training in good practice when working with C/YP with communication and interaction needs/Autism
  • Schools should consider using the Autism Education Trust staff competencies to support development of specialist skills
  • Schools should consider ELKLAN Communication Friendly Schools training to enhance skills levels in working with C/YP with these needs. Details on Bradford Schools Online

 

LA: 

Specialist staff from the AS Outreach Team will offer

  • Support and advice at professional drop-ins hosted at hub schools
  • Advice and support through the keyworker system in secondary schools 
  • Re-referrals made by schools will be allocated to specialist staff in the AS Team

 

 

Curriculum and Teaching

Methods

As range 1 and 2 plus:

  • May need to make noticeable adaptations to the curriculum to aid access and reduce anxiety.
  • Will need differentiation by presentation and/or outcome
  • May need enhanced PSHCE teaching to ensure skills embedded

 

 

 

Resources and Intervention Strategies

 

As range 1 and 2 plus

 

The use of Quality First teaching approaches, as detailed on Bradford Schools Online, to support the development of social communication and interaction skills Flexibility will be required to enable the C&YP to follow instructions and/or record work

  • Clear use of visual and written cues will be useful to support instruction
  • Preparation for change and the need for clear routines will be required
    • Reduction of complex language, especially when giving instructions and asking   questions, will be required
  • Staff will need to implement recommendations made by the AS Team

 

 

NC Levels

Across the expected range but with an unusual profile showing weaknesses in some areas and strengths in others

 

Range 4  (i)

 

Descriptor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Use the range guidance to identify the child's needs. 

2. Consider whether the following statement describes how the C/YP is affected within school: C/YP at range 4i will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors on page 3 of this document that severely affect their access to the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and all aspects of school life. This is especially true in new and unfamiliar contexts but will also affect access at times of high stress in some known and familiar contexts and with familiar support/people available.

3. If this statement accurately describes your child or young person use the advice given in range 4i. If not you will need to consider descriptors for other levels.

The pervasive nature of the Autism/ C&I needs is likely to have a detrimental effect on the acquisition, retention and generalisation of skills and therefore on the result of any assessment.

 

C/YP will have an uneven learning profile but their attainment levels suggest they can access a differentiated mainstream curriculum.

 

Children may or may not have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum by an appropriate multi-agency diagnostic team.

 

Assessment

& Planning

 

As range 1 – 3 plus:

Assessment:

  • Should include assessment advice from other agencies, e.g. SALT/OT

Planning:

  • Increased level of understanding by teaching and support staff will require plans for developing whole school understanding of pupil’s needs. To include all setting staff that may come into contact with C/YP on a daily basis
  • Planning must adhere to the targets set within the statutory assessment document (EHC plan)  to include adaptations to curriculum to ensure the development of independent learning and life skills

 

Groupings for teaching

 

As range 1 -3 plus:

 

  • Robust planning to meet objectives defined in statement/EHC plans

 

Human resources & staffing

 

As range 1 – 3 plus:

Setting:

  • All staff aware of de-escalation strategies. Key staff trained in Team Teach approaches
    • Additional training of mainstream staff to support curriculum modifications and social interaction, social communication and social understanding

LA:

  • Where the C/YP has a diagnosis of AS and is in a state funded mainstream setting, up to 20 hours per year from a specialist Autism practitioner/ teacher will be available

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

As range 1- 3 plus:

 

Must implement recommendations of AS Specialist Outreach Team

 

Resources and Intervention Strategies

 

As range 1 -3 plus

  • To reflect the statement/EHCP
  • Significant adaptations to curriculum, teaching methods and environment needed to access the curriculum.  These will include: conceptual understanding of everyday language and subject specific vocabulary; pace of delivery; significant pre-learning and over learning of concepts and functions and use of alternative recording methods
  • Where appropriate an alternative curriculum must be offered to develop independence and life skills
  • Will need enhanced PSHCE and SRE programmes to ensure skills embedded, these are likely to need some element of individual work

 

NC Level

Across the expected range but with an unusual profile showing weaknesses in some areas and strengths in others.

 

  Range 4 (ii)

 

Descriptor

 

 

1. Use the range guidance to identify the child's needs. 

2. Consider whether the following statement describes how the C/YP is affected within school: C/YP at range 4ii will have communication and interaction needs identified by the range descriptors on page 3 of this document that severely affect their access to the National Curriculum, including the social emotional curriculum and all aspects of school life, even in known and familiar contexts and with familiar support/people available.

3. If this statement accurately describes your child or young person use the advice given in range 4ii. If not you will need to consider descriptors for other levels.

The pervasive nature of the Autism/ C&I needs is likely to have a detrimental effect on the acquisition, retention and generalisation of skills and therefore on the result of any assessment.

 

Children and young people at range 4(ii) may be in the following settings

 

Mainstream

 

C/YP will have an uneven learning profile but their attainment levels suggest they can access a differentiated mainstream curriculum. C/YP will require significantly more support than is normally provided in a mainstream setting.

Pupils within Designated Special Provisions will have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum by an appropriate multi-agency diagnostic team.

Special

Attainment profile is below expected NC levels, the majority of attainments within the P level range

C/YP may or may not have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

Assessment

& Planning

 

Assessment:

As ranges 1 – 4(i) plus:

  • Must include detailed assessment for PSHCE, life skills and sensory needs
  • Risk assessments must be carried out and shared with all staff and family
  • The SCERTS framework should be used to aid assessment and planning

 

Planning:

  • Where needed positive behaviour plans must be completed and shared with family
  • Must include planning for whole day, including unstructured times
    • Planning must take into account C/YP’s learning styles, identified strengths and learning needs

 

 

Groupings for teaching

 

As ranges 1 – 4(i) plus:

 

  • Robust planning to meet objectives defined in statement/EHCP
  • Access to a quiet area within the classroom must be available when needed to offer opportunities for distraction free learning
  • A variety of groupings must be used to ensure learning, including time in a quiet, distraction free environment

 

Human resources & staffing

 

As ranges 1 – 4(i) plus:

 

Setting:

  • Flexibility of staffing available to accommodate need, especially during unstructured times such as start and end of day, breaks and lunch and trips out of setting
  • Key staff must have accredited training in Autism/C&I needs such as Elklan
    • Additional training of mainstream staff to support specific curriculum modifications in relation to needs identified in the range descriptors

LA:

  • Where the C/YP has a diagnosis of AS and is in a state funded mainstream setting up to 40 hours per year from a specialist Autism practitioner/ teacher will be available.

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

 

As ranges 1 -4(i) plus:

  • Curriculum modifications must be selected to engage C/YP with C&I needs/Autism in relation to curriculum content, peer group
  • Therapeutic approaches will be integral to curriculum delivery and used to support the emotional wellbeing of the C/YP
  • Planning for unstructured times must be provided

 

 

Resources and Intervention Strategies

 

As range 1 -4(i) plus:

  • To reflect the statement/EHCP
  • Specialist staff within designated special  provision to devise strategies which will be shared with mainstream staff and implemented into planning

 

NC Level

Across the expected range but with an unusual profile showing weaknesses in some areas and strengths in others