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UK: AUTISM IN SCHOOLS project to develop "inclusive environment" for ASD students

July 6, 2023, Dorset Council: Autism in Schools pilot launched

SW England

Autistic children and young people in Dorset will have a better educational experience following the recent launch of the Autism in Schools Project which will improve the approach of the whole school, both students and teaching staff, to understanding autism.

Autism in Schools is a national project which aims to ensure mainstream schools offer environments in which autistic students can thrive, supporting good mental health and promoting a sense of belonging for this group of young people.

It will help schools to develop an inclusive environment which will improve the experience autistic young people have at school and will also improve the confidence of their parents and carers that the school truly understands their child.

Young people who are autistic will be able to share with their peers what it is like to be autistic in school and what adaptations would make a difference to them. They will have greater opportunities to meet and socialise with others who have similar interests which will reduce social isolation….

Each school will receive Autism Education Trust (AET) training, the AET is the only training provider approved by the Department for Education. It is important that each setting takes a ‘whole school approach’ so the training will be given to all staff within each school. The training takes a strengths based approach celebrating difference.

The project, which is funded by NHS England, is being jointly led by Dorset Parent Carer Council, Dorset Council and NHS Dorset.

Councillor Byron Quayle, portfolio holder for children, education, skills and early help, said: “I’m really pleased so see this project starting in Dorset as it will make such a difference to our young people….

16 schools from across the Dorset Council area have so far been invited to take part in this project which will be rolled out to the schools involved in this first wave during the next academic year. The schools include at least two from each of Dorset Council’s locality areas.

At the launch event the schools were celebrated for leading the way for others in Dorset.

Teaching staff were encouraged to reflect on what they had heard, both from the young people and the practitioners, and to think what this would mean for them and their students….


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