ATLAS - What we did in August

Two sheep in a pen

AN&D (SEND) Conference

ATLAS have been asked to hold a workshop for professionals working in education at the AN&D Conference in November about reasonable adjustments. We had our first planning meeting for the conference in August to start thinking about what key messages we want our participants to take away from our workshop.

In the meeting ATLAS have discussed about a wide range of adjustments that can be put in place without having to have an EHCP:

  • being allowed noise cancelling headphones and fidget toys in class,
  • being allowed to leave class early to avoid crowded corridors,
  • receiving PowerPoints in advance,
  • and having a place to go when having a meltdown or sensory overload.

However, the young people also highlighted that, while it's necessary to make individual adjustments, the focus should be on making more structural changes so that reasonable adjustments are not even needed as the system is accommodating for everyone.

"During Covid at my old school, they had their lessons slightly staggered so they finished 5 or 10 minutes after each other, so that only one year at a time was leaving and walking through the corridors. It was never awkward or overloading or too much sensory wise, so you never had to wear her your ear defenders. It was a systemic thing, so you'd never be the awkward one leaving early or wearing headphones."

"I was given a time card in school but to use that I'd have had to raise my hand and get the teacher's attention in the middle of the lesson when I was already stressed out and I didn't want to stand out so it wasn't very helpful."

"I think reasonable adjustments often mean singling out an individual as they're the ones needing help to adjust to the system."

ATLAS co-designed Autism trainings with Autism by Experience

Autism By Experience is a small company led by autistic people that has been commissioned to recreate the Autism e-learning course available for Surrey County Council staff. They are also creating training workshops for Surrey County Council staff who work with children and young people.

Throughout August they have been working together with ATLAS to identify the most important themes to include in these trainings and collect personal experiences of autistic young people as examples.

The most important themes ATLAS and ABE have identified together were:

  • Autism understanding within education and employment (The right teacher can be lifechanging)
  • Alternative education provision
  • Reasonable adjustments that help
  • Transitions through education and employment
  • Harnessing our strengths
  • Friendships and family relationships
  • Managing anxieties
  • Sensory differences and how to support them
  • Communication differences

Category: ATLAS

  • Reviewed: 19 Sep 2023

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