The first section on this page is autism in the classroom facts for teachers and staff in schools.

The second section is for parents

Start here at our first page about autism in the classroom.


Here is a list of ways for teachers and staff to help in the classroom

1. It is a priority to listen to the parents and hear what they say regarding their children's difficulties. They will need enhanced communication with the school as many children with autism will need their parents support in coping with school.

2. Watch for triggers to behaviour, a child never has a meltdown for no reason.

3. Listen and respond with a solution whenever a child is able to speak to you about their difficulties.

4. Each child is different but some may respond we to quiet times with no interaction, this helps them to process the day and avoids overload.

5. Be aware that a child may be triggered by a staff members voice, by shouting or by another child misbehaving.

6. You may find you need to use the child's name to get  response. Always respond to a child with autism in a low, quiet, calm voice if they are agitated. However old the child is, they need those round them to be calm and in control of any situation even if the child is not.

7. Use social stories to explain social situations. You can find out more here at the

8. Don't assume a child will understand the routine of the day. Use a picture schedule, try looking at, for picture timetables or make your own.

Tip. Even if a child does not seem to refer to it, do not take it away, they may be glancing at it at times you don't notice.

9. A child with autism my have really bad sleep patterns and be very tired at school, be aware of this.

10. Social interaction can be really exhausting and take all the energy that a child has. This will effect their bility to learn so the right environment is crucial

11. Do transitions into new things using visual aids if necessary.

12. Remember that they usually need a routine and things that remain the same, if you have a classroom where children can sit where they like, it may help your autistic students to be allocated the same seat every day

Don't underestimate what effect little changes can have, look for the triggers and either try to void or teach and role play situations to bring understanding.

Autism in the classroom facts- for parents

Once the school have noticed that your child has difficulties and needs support that the other children do not; they should put your child on 'school action'. They may do an Individual Education Plan or IEP. You will be asked to look at this and you should be asked for your thoughts on it before you sign it. What is an IE-P?

Autism in the Classroom Facts

If your child's school need to bring in other professionals to help with your child's education your child will be put on something called 'School Action Plus'

Which professionals may be involved?

  • Communication and Interaction Team
  • Peadiatrician
  • Social Services
  • Speech and language Services
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

For a small number of children this will not be enough and you or the school can ask for an assessment for a 'Statement of Educational Needs'.

You can do this even if the school disagrees with you although you will need evidence to show that your child is not coping at school. This can include difficulties at home after school as well as some children may be quiet in school but let it all out after school.

Autism in the Classroom Facts

If you find communication between the school, yourselves and other professionals very disjointed and difficult to work with, you can ask one of the professionals or the school to call a CAF meeting. This gets everybody together to talk things through and should lead to a more joined up approach

1. They will need to work with you as parents. They can use a home school book which school and parents can write in; this can contain any information which might be useful for you and the school. Regular meetings will help stop difficulties spiralling out of control and will help parents to feel supported

2. If your child finds it difficult to enter school when it is busy; you could ask the school if they can let you take you child in a little earlier to help them settle. Alternatively your child could start a little later than the other children. Your child may settle better if you go in with them for a few minutes to help them transition into school A TA may be able to support your child for a few minutes at the beginning of the day. Your child may need to have earlier or later transition times for breaks, lunch and home time.

Autism in the Classroom Facts

3. The school may be able to provide an area for your child to have a downtime at times through the day if they need it. For instance just time away from needing to interact with others.

4. They may need to help by providing support during playtime and breaks; this could take the form of providing a buddy system or your child may need a more structured time; so could make use of a lunch club.

5. Training around autism will help staff to understand your child better; all staff who work with your child should know of their difficulties

Autism in the Classroom Facts

6. The school may need to make use of a picture timetable so that your child knows what will happen throughout the day. This helps children to settle better, and feel secure

7. Your child may need time to desensitise to new rooms or faces. they might also find trips difficult and may need extra support.

8. A child may learn best in a quiet are at their own work base if possible

Autism in the Classroom Facts

9. You child may need more response time if a question is being asked of them

10. Talking to the child in a low, calm voice whatever the situation will help. Children with autism do not like people shouting, even if they shout themselves!

These are just some ways that the school can help with autism in the classroom. If your child has been helped in other ways please let us know and we will add it here for others to make use of.

Autism in the Classroom Facts

This is what you can do if you are having difficulty getting your child the help that they need?

  • 1. Get a diagnosis if your child does not yet have one.

  • 2. Keep a very clear diary of what is happening. Keep very clear notes about any changes in your child, including behaviour, sensory difficulties, sleeping and eating.

  • 3. Write about any meltdowns or difficulties in detail, cross reference to home-school book if appropriate.

  • 4. I also did a graph to show severity of meltdowns and aggression and self harming which was useful as it was a visual demonstration of what went on at home.
    It starts from January 2007, Days of week are along bottom and I chose to
  • do from 1-10 scale up side showing degree of anxiety and aggression. 1 being fine and 10 being extreme anxiety, upset and selfharming.
  • I then used red for school days, green for holidays and yellow for weekends.
  • This has been invaluable in showing graphically what a week or in this case year looks like.

  • 5. Find out from other parents and professionals who in your area would go into the school to support your child ie. communication and interaction team (I got them involved)

  • 6. Make sure you have a homes-school link book and keep it up to date(this has been vital evidence in our case)

  • 7. Check whether your child is on school action or school action plus and what that means for your child.

  • 8. Make sure IEP's are accurate and have clearly set out goals (you are supposed to see and sign them) An IEP should have a few clear measurable, achievable short term goals Ask for it to be changed or don't sign if you are not happy with it (again these are used as evidence).

  • 9 Ask for help I kept ringing peadiatrician until we were referred to a clinical psychologist who has been great.

  • 10. Keep talking to the teacher and letting her know what is happening.

  • 11. Consistency is vital for our kids so make sure staff understand this. you will need to dripfeed this into schools that have limited knowledge of ASD.

  • 12. Don't worry about making a nuisance of yourself, sadly because so many other things go on within mainstream schools our kids sometimes get forgotten. Remember you are doing what is necessary for your child.

  • 13. Talk to Headteacher as well.

  • Autism in the Classroom Facts

  • 14. We asked for a CAF meeting to be called This is to get all professionals around table to discuss strategies.

  • 15. Ask the difficult questions and don't let important things drop.

  • 16. If the school won't call in educational psychologist you can at least talk to the psychologist yourself. If you wish to ask the psychologist to meetings you can (the school have to ask psychologist in to see your child at school though)

  • !7. When meetings are held make sure someone is responsible for taking minutes.

  • 18. I always took someone to support me in meetings as some we have had have been very difficult.

  • 19. Keep all lines of communication open even if things get tough.

  • 20. keep your cool even if others loose their's.
  • 21 If you have a real worry write a letter to school and request a meeting. Follow up with another letter outlining what was agreed, or asking for another meeting if things have not been worked out.

  • 22. At meetings have a clear picture in your mind about what the meeting needs to achieve. Try not to be sidetracked.

  • 23 You can ask the Local education Authority for a statutory assessment to be done yourself. We did that.

  • 24. Submit all your evidence for assessment to LEA.

Hopefully doing even some of these things will get your child the help she needs

Autism in the Classroom Facts

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