An Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a child or adult communicates and relates to people around them. The term ‘spectrum’ is used because although there are three main areas of difficulty that affect all people with autism the condition can vary significantly between individuals. Despite these wide-ranging differences, everyone with autism has difficulty in what is known as the ‘triad of impairments’.
These are difficulties with:
- social communication, such as problems understanding and using both verbal and non-verbal language including gestures and/or tone of voice
- social interaction, such as problems with managing feelings and recognising and understanding other people’s feelings
- social imagination such as difficulties understanding and predicting other people’s intentions and behaviour
Although these manifest themselves in varying ways and there are other factors such as sensory sensitivity that are also important, behaviours within the triad of impairments are all required for a diagnosis.
Within MacIntyre’s Education Services, each child or young person is seen as an individual and skilled staff start from an understanding of each child’s specific pattern of strengths and needs. For children with autism this clear focus on the needs of the individual is supported by a thorough understanding of the nature of the difficulties that this group of students have in common and the need for specialised teaching approaches to address these difficulties.
We support our students with highly trained staff who are able to provide access to a broad and balanced curriculum appropriate to the individual needs of each young person, from academic to life skills and from social skills to work experience placements.
We understand that for young people with autism, transition is one of the most difficult times. We offer extensive support for transition into the school and residential placement and this is a key reason why we introduced the My Way transition programme which provides long term, bespoke facilitation to plan for and support each young person’s next step back in their home local authority.