Pupils and Students with a diagnosis of Autism
It is estimated that around a third of people who have learning disabilities also have autism.
This corresponds with our experience at Hilltop School where a third of pupils have a diagnosis of Autism.
We recognise that all people with a diagnoses of Autism are individuals and that there is no “one size fits all” strategy for their education. Therefore we aim to provide a variety of approaches and environments to suit the needs of individuals on
a case by case basis.
We also recognise that there are many pupils and students who may not have a diagnosis of autism,but due to their learning difficulties exhibit behaviours and thought processes similar to those who have.
Therefore we aim to ensure that all teaching and learning areas throughout the school are designed with this in mind, being calm, distraction free environments containing autism friendly features such as clear, visible timetables, access to communication symbols and pictures.
However, we acknowledge that some of our pupils with a diagnosis of autism benefit from being educated in dedicated
We provide this in the classes known as the Rainbow Alliance. These classes not only feature low arousal environments, structured and individualised approaches with an emphasis visual support, but have a high level of staffing, with a dedicated team who have a sound understanding of Autism and how it impacts upon the needs of the individual pupils in their care. These classes also have regular access to community settings, including the use of public transport, visits to local leisure facilities and other educational settings where appropriate.
In the Rainbow Alliance we aim for our pupils to develop the skills to enable them to communicate and interact appropriately in order to cultivate positive relationships with others. To this end, we use a range of communication systems including signing, symbols, and communication technology including portable tablet computers.
We want our pupils to regulate their emotions when upset, to become resilient when facing new experiences and challenges and to develop independence skills to prepare them for the future. There is also an emphasis on meeting the unique sensory needs which many pupils with a diagnosis of autism present.
We work closely with other professional agencies including, speech and Language therapists, occupational therapists, and the Health and Social Services to provide a holistic approach to students’ development.
Communicating with Parents
We recognize the invaluable role played by parents/carers and families in the development of their children.
We want to support them to enable the young people to reach their potential as effective communicators and learners.
The involvement of families is essential to enable pupils to generalize skills and practice their developing
We always welcome contact with families either through the home/school diary which travels with the pupil each day, by telephone, or by the arrangement of face to face meetings either at school or at the pupils’ home if preferred.