What can I do as a parent to support my child with… Autism?

General points

  • Make connections with other parents of austistic children. Having a support network is key. Look out for school events in our newsletter
  • Prepare your child for any changes to their routine. Talk about school trips, training days and off timetable days etc in advance so they don’t come as a surprise. Please check our newsletters, website and calendar
  • Encourage your child to think about their career and begin to research post 16 and post 18 provision. Visiting open days or enquiring about quieter days to visit/tour
  • Teach your child some mindfulness and relaxation techniques – this will really help when it comes to assessments and exams. Lots of apps/websites and resources are highlighted in the students’ wellbeing booklets
  • Communicate with school if there are any issues we need to be aware of. Keep us up to date with CAHMs information and any changes that arise.

Before school

  • Have a clear morning routine and stick to it wherever possible
  • Encourage your child to have a healthy breakfast before school.
  • Encourage them to pack their back the night before school to help with their organisation.
  • Help your child maintain a good hygiene routine – they may need reminders to shower and wear deodorant etc. 

After school

  • Organise a quiet space, away from distractions where your child can complete their homework. If they are struggling with doing homework at home, encourage them to attend homework club. 
  • Encourage your child to attend groups that are autism friendly to help them make friends and develop social skills.
  • Stick to the same bedtime routine each night and avoid anything stimulating before bedtime. If sleep is a problem, try to keep a sleep diary to spot any patterns or triggers. 

What can I do to support myself with my…Autism?

Before school

  • Look at my timetable for the following day and pack my school bag before I go to sleep. This will help me make sure I have the right equipment at school. 
  • Eat a healthy breakfast before I come to school. That way my body is fueled and ready for a day of learning. 
  • Complete my hygiene routine to keep myself clean.

At school

  • If I am feeling overwhelmed, tell my teacher or a teaching assistant in the classroom. They will be able to help.
  • If I have not understood an instruction, ask for the instruction to be repeated or rephrased. 
  • Attend lunchtime clubs and after school clubs to help me make friends with similar interests.
  • Eat a healthy lunch (either a pack up or from the school canteen). This will help my brain focus in my afternoon lessons. 
  • Break down bigger tasks into smaller steps and focus on completing one step at a time. This will help me keep focused and have little successes.
  • If I need to be in a quiet space or have some alone time, I can speak to one of the year group team who will organise a designated safe space for me. 
  • Make sure I have my homework activities written down accurately and ask my teacher a question if I don’t understand how long I should spend on an activity. Ask for help if I am struggling with this.
  • Attend breakfast club on a morning to ease into the school day with a quiet and consistent start- also a good way to meet new people.

After school

  • If I am struggling to complete or stay organised with my homework I can attend homework club for help.
  • Get outside and active to keep my brain and body healthy.

What are we doing as a school to help students with… Autism?

Before the student arrives at Archbishop Holgate’s

  • Meg Holmes, the school’s SENDCo, attends the student’s last EHCP / MSP review of Year 6 to ensure a smooth transition to secondary school.
  • Students with Autism will get the option of a second, quieter transition visit to Archbishop Holgate’s in a small group and with their teaching assistant if possible.
  • Students with Autism will be added to the school SEND register to enable all staff to be aware of the student’s needs and allow them to be best supported. 

During the school day

  • Teaching assistant support in lessons where appropriate.
  • Breakfast club is available if needed.
  • Homework club is available if needed.
  • Visual timetables are available if needed.
  • 5 point scales and visual aids are available to help students express their emotions to staff.
  • Communication cards/RAG cards if needed.
  • A designated quiet space to go to if students are feeling overwhelmed and need some time out.
  • Regular check-ins with support staff and year group teams.
  • Lunchtime clubs and library spaces available to support unstructured time.
  • Access to the Autism Champion 

Access arrangements 

  • We need to have evidence of need in a normal learning environment in order to apply for access arrangements. 
  • School will apply to JCQ for access arrangements for exams. This must be no earlier than May of Year 9 (within 26 months of sitting the exam). Having an autism diagnosis does not automatically qualify a student for access arrangements but their needs in exams and assessments can be discussed with the SEND team

Ongoing support

  • Both the main and Inclusion Newsletter includes helpful information for parents with autism allowing you to know of upcoming events.
  • Events throughout the school year where parents of children with autism can connect and share information / anecdotes.
  • Regular staff CPD to upskill and improve quality first teaching in the classroom.
  • Connection to the City of York Autism Team for additional help and training.

Who/what is the Autism Champion?

  • We are so lucky to have Miss Overton as our Autism Champion. She is on the SA team and has lots of experience and training in working with children with ASC in a mainstream setting. Miss Overton can support with mentoring 1:1 but also group intervention focussing on key themes that come up for our ASC students such as friendships, clear communication and understanding our emotions. Please be aware that this is a very limited resource that we have to use carefully so not all children with ASC will automatically have intervention work

I think my child might have autism…what next?

  • Feel free to get in touch with the SEND team to discuss your thoughts. Diagnosis is not necessary but may be useful for you and your child for a variety of reasons. Diagnosis can be sought privately or through CAMHS. You can refer via your GP or directly. Please get in touch with the SEND team if you need support. 

Key websites for more information:

Books that may be of interest:

  • Starving the Anxiety Gremlin by Kate Collins-Donolly
  • Ellie Needs to Go by Kate E. Reynolds
  • The Girl with the Curly Hair by Alis Rowe
  • Personal Hygiene – What’s that got to do with me? By Pat Crissy