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Support for children with autism

16/04/2009

A new resource to help schools meet the needs of children with autism has been launched.

The Autism Toolbox, which has been sent to every school and education authority in Scotland, draws on practical examples, literature and research to give guidance to councils and support to schools. It is funded by the Scottish Government and developed by the National Centre for Autism Studies at the University of Strathclyde.

Adam Ingram, Minister for Children and Early Years, said that young people with autism deserve the opportunity to gain the most they can from a supportive education system.

The Autism Toolbox will help everyone involved in delivering education to those with autism by:

  • Giving autism-specific advice aimed at pre-school, primary and secondary school staff to encourage innovative, individualised and creative teaching
  • Examining how education professionals can work in partnership with parents and families to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child
  • Providing schools and education authorities with good practice and exemplars drawn from all over Scotland
  • Giving guidance on the different approaches that can be taken to support individuals with autism - both within and out with the educational setting
  • Sign-posting useful and reliable sources of information and further help, such as publications and key organisations

Mr Ingram said:

"The Scottish Government wants to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the chance to play their part in a more successful Scotland. We are committed to enriching the educational experiences of all our young people, including those with additional support needs such as autism.

"That's why we have launched a new resource - the Autism Toolbox - which is being provided to every school and council to help them offer the best services and assistance to those with autism.

"The Autism Toolbox will share guidance, experiences and research, from strategic planning and service provision by education authorities through to practical advice for teachers. I am confident that this resource will complement existing practices by local authorities and help ensure that all young people with autism are given more opportunities to progress and enjoy their education."

Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop, Lead Director of the National Centre for Autism Studies in the University of Strathclyde's Faculty of Education, said:

"The Autism Toolbox is aimed at ensuring that every child with autism has the support they need to get the best from their education; and that teachers and associated professionals are fully aware of these children's and young people's individual educational needs and rights.

"The National Centre for Autism Studies, commissioned by the Scottish Government, has devised the Toolbox to help deliver comprehensive, inclusive education for children with autism and solid guidance for the professionals responsible for their care and well-being."

Carol Evans, the National Autistic Society Scotland's National Director said:

"NAS Scotland is delighted that Adam Ingram has chosen to launch the Autism Toolbox at our school, Daldroch House School and Continuing Education Centre.

"Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition. There are 50,000 people in Scotland with autism - that is 1 in 100. The Autism Toolbox is a much needed resource for local authorities, teachers and other professionals who come into contact with individuals with autism.

"While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people's lives. NAS Scotland hopes there will be a wide uptake of this resource and would like to thank the Scottish Government and the Autism Reference Group for funding its production."

The Autism Toolbox is available on the Scottish Government website and hard copies can be ordered through Blackwell's Bookshop.

The Autism Toolbox is the output of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Education Working Group, which was established to take forward the recommendations in the Education for Pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorders report from HMIE and the National Autistic Society Scotland report, make school make sense - both published in October 2006. The Working Group included representation from HMIE, the National Autistic Society Scotland, the Scottish Society for Autism, Initial Teacher Education Providers and the Educational Institute of Scotland.