Autism Spectrum Advisory Teachers for Bedford Borough
What our service does
We are a team of advisory teachers offering a service which focuses on supporting pupils who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) or pupils whose difficulties could be attributed to social communication difficulties but who do not have a diagnosis.
The key purpose of our service is to enable staff to cater for the needs of pupils on the autism spectrum so that they are able to access the curriculum and cope with the social demands of educational environments. We offer different levels of intervention.
- Autism awareness training including general strategies to help pupils with ASC.
- More bespoke training can be organised request.
General practical strategies are outlined during training sessions. These strategies help enable schools and their staff to cater for the needs of many children on the Autism Spectrum. The implementation of the specified strategies aim to help a large number of children on the spectrum.
Additional support may be requested for children with more complex difficulties. Where the child continues to have difficulties in accessing the curriculum or in coping with the social demands of school despite these interventions, and where these difficulties are attributable to ASC, the school may request additional help from the service.
Consultation visits to school can be requested on receipt of an IEP showing the pupil's response to strategies in place together with a signed, completed referral form.
Location of our service
The Autism team comes under the umbrella of the Sensory and Communication Support Team and are based at the Child Development Centre, Hill Rise, Kempston Bedford MK42 7EB
Who our service provides for
Bedford Borough has two Autism Spectrum Advisory Teachers.
1. Paulette Ebanks - supports pupils years 1 - 6 (Year R pupils join her caseload in the summer term)
2. Val Burgess supports pupils years 7 - 13 ( Year 6 pupils join her caseload in April )
We support the most complex pupils where difficulties are attributed to the Autism spectrum. The majority of our caseload have a diagnosis of ASC though some may be going through the process of diagnosis.
We also support staff and pupils in ASC provisions within Bedford Borough. Entry to our specialist provisions are requested through an Educational panel.
There are a number of ASC provisions within Special Schools and identified mainstream schools within Bedford Borough
- Edith Cavell Lower- due to transfer location to Goldington Lower School
- Lincroft Academy on the Lincroft school site for pupils within the middle school age range and older students up to the age of 16 on the site of Sharnbrook Upper school
- Mark Rutherford Upper School has a specialist provision for pupils from years 9 through to sixth form
- Outreach from ASC provisions
- Grange Academy has a provision for pupils within the middle school and upper school age ranges
- Two other special schools offer provision for children on the spectrum. St Johns and Ridgeway School. Currently we are not involved with these two schools.
How to start using our service
Access to our services may be requested by schools through our referral form. This form is very detailed and focuses on collecting data on the triad of impairment. We do not take referrals from medical professionals or parents.
There is currently no charge for the service for training or interventions to state schools. There is no charge to academies or free schools. There is a charge relating to any requests for interventions from the private sector unless the request relates to a pupil who has a Statement of Special Educational Need.
How decisions are made about who can use our service
Decisions are made based on complexity of need and information included in the referral form relating to ASC. If it has been demonstrated that the school has implemented training and general strategies and the pupil is still struggling, the child may be taken onto caseload for some bespoke intervention. This may include observations of the child in situ, discussions with staff and/ or parents. Personalised strategies may be recommended. Some cases may be channelled through the Education Support Panel.
How we communicate with our service users
Surveys are circulated to schools on a two year cycles asking schools to comment on the impact of the service in relation to1) Access to the curriculum, 2) Confidence of teachers involved with the pupil, 3) Confidence of LSAs involved with the pupil and 4) Pupils learning and performance.
We have produced two handouts on general strategies for parents of pupils on the Autism Spectrum, one for primary children and another for older pupils.
Accessibility of our service
We make visits to educational settings hence questions re accessibility do not apply.
Qualifications and training of our staff
Both the Autism Spectrum Advisory teachers are fully qualified and experienced teachers with advanced qualifications in ASC. They work closely with the Psychology Team, Sensory Impairment Team and have direct liaison with the Medical Team based at the Child Developmental Centre.
General Contact Information
The parent's first point of contact is your child's school if you have any concerns about your child.
Should your child become on our caseload we would be happy to speak with you directly or meet with the school.