Be the teacher who understands autism

13 Jan 20

Be the teacher who understands autism

Autistic children and young people need a teacher who understands their autism. 

As the number of children receiving an autism diagnosis is rising, autism awareness and support are increasingly becoming an essential aspect of all education professionals’ work. Autistic pupils have highlighted that having a teacher who understands autism is the main thing that would improve their experience of school, yet many education professionals do not feel confident about supporting autistic children and young people (APPGA, 2017). The new AET Good Autism Practice Guidance from the Autism Education Trust helps teachers and school staff understand the challenges autistic pupils and students face. It enables them to identify adaptations they can make to their classroom environments and teaching to help autistic children and young people to thrive. It empowers them to be the teacher who understands autism.

The guidance consists of three documents: the AET Good Autism Practice: Full Report, the AET Good Autism Practice: Practitioner Guide and 8 case studies. These three linked resources present the evidence for, and define and illustrate, eight principles of good autism practice to help education practitioners understand autism and develop effective provision in early years, schools and post 16 settings. The case studies serve to illustrate the 8 principles and summarise the ethos, values and practice that should inform inclusive education for all children and young people whilst specifying the distinctive knowledge and teaching approaches required. The resources are linked to the new Ofsted Framework, the SEND Code of Practice and the Teacher Standards.

Karen Guldberg, Director of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) at the School of Education, University of Birmingham and lead author of the AET Good Autism Practice Guidance, said: “These good practice guidelines are designed to support settings and practitioners in Early Years, Schools and Post 16 provisions to develop their practice. They draw on the perspectives of autistic people, are underpinned by research and informed by current policy and practice. The guidelines provide a framework for implementing inclusive practice whilst specifying the distinctive learning needs of autistic children and young people. Eight principles of good autism practice highlight how schools and practitioners need to adapt classroom environments and teaching so that autistic children and young people can thrive.”

Access the Good Autism Practice Gudiance