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(UK) Devon: "Autism Acceptance Week"; "numbers of diagnosed children on the rise"

Mar 26, 2022, Devon Live: Devon-based group leads the way in supporting autistic learners https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/devon-based-group-leads-way-6830059

SW England A school, based almost entirely outdoors, is getting ready to mark World Autism Acceptance Week. The week, which runs this year from 28 March to 3 April will highlight that the numbers of diagnosed children are on the increase, with most recent statistics saying that around one in 57 (1.76 per cent) children in the UK is on the autistic spectrum.

One of the most problematic issues that parents face is to do with education; depending on where they are on the spectrum, autistic children do not always fit into a mainstream school. But there are alternatives - and one distinctive option is Devon’s ground-breaking special school, The Outdoors School. Founded in 2019 by The Outdoors Group, it is an atypical special school provision based almost entirely outdoors.

There are now three school sites in the county that take learners with Autism Spectrum Condition and Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH), in Shillingford St George, Tiverton and South Brent. The schools are each set in quiet woodlands with facilities including a field shelter, firepit and the all-important compost loo. …

“At the heart of it all we are helping learners with life skills, coping strategies for behaviour and social situations which they would otherwise find too challenging.”

School projects integrate elements of the mainstream curriculum without distinct subjects being taught, and crucially the methods used mean that any failures from previous learning experiences aren’t repeated, so children can grow in confidence….

Parent Sharon Griffith cannot sing the praises of The Outdoors School enough. She said: “Jack failed in mainstream school due to no fault of his own and was home schooled until I heard this school was opening.

The Outdoors School at Shillingford

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