Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) in children refers to a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by challenges in social interaction, communication, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour.
Children with ASC may experience difficulties in understanding social cues, expressing emotions, and engaging in reciprocal conversations. They may exhibit repetitive behaviours, intense interests, or sensory sensitivities. The busy school environment can sometimes be overwhelming for children with ASC.
ASC is a spectrum disorder, meaning it varies in severity and presentation from person to person. Early support in developing social and communication skills, managing sensory sensitivities and fostering independence can really help children with ASC to cope with the school learning environment.
With appropriate understanding, accommodations, and support, children with ASC can thrive and lead fulfilling lives.
At Meare Village Primary School, we are able to access support from Somerset’s Autism and Communication Service (ACS). If your child has Autistic tendencies, or has a diagnosis of ASC, and is struggling at school, the SENDCo can arrange for an advisory teacher from the ACS to come and observe your child to recommend strategies to support them in school.
Assessment of ASC: The NHS Neurodevelopmental Pathway
Somerset have recently introduced a Neurodevelopmental (ND) Pathway for assessment of ASC. This process involves gaining information from the school and parents that the SENDCo then submits to the ND Pathway. A panel of experts look at the information and decide whether they feel an assessment is needed. Currently, this process is taking around 24 months from the SENDCo submitting the information to parents being contacted to arrange an assessment from a paediatrician.
- The ASC run a four week parent course to support families with children who have significant social communication differences, but who have not (perhaps yet) obtained a diagnosis of Autism (TOUCAN parent/carer programme).
- The Barnardo’s charity also run a course designed for parents and carers of primary aged children (4-11 years) with a diagnosed autistic spectrum condition. (CYGNET parent/career programme).
- Children’s Autism Outreach Team (CAOT) provides home visits to help parents and carers of children with a diagnosed autistic spectrum condition. CAOT provide advice and strategies in the home. They also help parents and carers with new skills to support their child or young person and help with access to other suitable resources. CAOT provides activities for children and young people that would otherwise be inaccessible for many families without support and advice. These include clubs for families and activities during every school holiday. To find out more, visit https://www.somerset.gov.uk/send/childrens-autism-outreach-team-caot/
The following website has some excellent resources to support parents and their children: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance
If you would like to find out more about any of the above, contact Kate Rogers (SENDCo), via the school office.