The Autism Toolbox: An Autism Resource for Scottish Schools

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2.5 Individualised Educational Programmes

Having assessed pupils learning needs in the context of their autism profile an individualised educational programme ( IEP) should be developed. The assessment process will have identified areas of difficulty for the pupil, these in turn will have to be prioritised, it would usually be unrealistic and inappropriate to attempt to address all areas at the one time. Each area of priority can then be tackled through specific targets. Pupils on the autistic spectrum will not automatically have an IEP, although most will have some non-curricular targets even if they do not warrant a full IEP.

Two examples of completed IEPs ( Exemplars 5 and 6) can be found in the Exemplars folder on the CD Rom.

What is an IEP?

  • A set of individualised targets determined by the pupil's strengths and additional support needs
  • A collaborative plan incorporating parents, school staff, external agencies, and, when appropriate, the pupil's views
  • A detailed plan of strategies resources and staffing to achieve targets
  • A method of reviewing targets
  • A record of achievement

When is an IEP required?

  • No statutory requirement - HOWEVER, there is a statutory requirement to meet the additional support needs of all children, and this would be difficult without a plan
  • When existing planning formats cannot reflect the learning needs and achievements of pupils - unmet needs
  • When a range of people work with the child, to ensure consistency and improve communication around agreed targets
  • When there is a CSP in place

Who writes an IEP?

  • ANIEP should be collaborative
  • An IEP MUST involve parents
  • Class teacher and support staff
  • Senior management responsibility
  • External agencies

What is included in an IEP?

  • General pupil information and details of additional support needs
  • Long and short term targets ( SMART* targets)
  • Curricular and social targets, e.g. sections on social interaction, self awareness, and independence
  • Home targets

IEPs should:

  • Raise achievement
  • Be seen as a working document
  • Use a simple format and be jargon free
  • Be shared with parents, relevant staff, and where appropriate pupils
  • Include pupils' views where appropriate
  • Accommodate uneven profile of pupils with ASD
  • Be reviewed regularly - at least twice a year
  • Be incorporated into other planning formats, e.g. CSP. ASP, PLP, Management plans, ICMP, care plans

* SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.

2.5.1 Pupil Involvement

Consultation with pupils is becoming an increasingly significant issue in education (Standards in Scottish Schools etc. Act 2000). This has been highlighted in recent documentation such as Building Excellence (Scottish Government, 2007d) and Assessment is for Learning ( LTS, SQA, Scottish Executive, 2006). Meaningful involvement of pupils can potentially enhance their learning and enhance experiences for pupils and staff. Pupils on the autism spectrum face particular barriers when it comes to formulating and expressing opinions. It would however be inaccurate to assume that such pupils do not hold opinions. Individuals on the autism spectrum tend towards rigid but often logical patterns of thinking. This can often bring a refreshingly honest perspective but can also result in pupils being viewed as inflexible, pedantic or critical of traditional approaches.

Facilitating the participation of pupils on the spectrum in school matters is an important aspect of an inclusive approach. Adjustments are likely to be required to enable pupils to make their contribution. This will involve forward planning to allow time to adapt processes to ensure pupils have an opportunity to influence their own learning. Strategies outlined in the Classroom Organisation section such as use of visual communication tools and social stories (Gray, 2002) will support this.

Some additional things to think about are:

  • Discussion with a known and trusted adult to ensure the pupil understands why their views are important
  • Use of a visual format for pupils to record their views
  • Meetings - explain who will be at the meeting and why
  • Clear information about when the pupil will be involved in a meeting and what that will be
  • "Permission" to not take part in meetings if they choose
  • Use of alternative consultation methods rather then face-to-face meetings (e.g. e-mail)
  • A trusted adult to express views on behalf of the pupil if they are not comfortable speaking in a formal meeting
  • Follow up after meetings to ensure the pupil is clear about any outcomes and what they mean for the pupil on a day to day basis

The following exemplars are available in the Exemplars folder on the CD Rom

Exemplar 1 - Pupil profile template
Exemplar 2 - Pupil preparation for review meeting
Exemplar 3 - Early Years Approaches - Q and A
Exemplar 4 - Management Plan - Primary School
Exemplar 5 - Individualised Educational Plan 1
Exemplar 6 - Individualised Educational Plan 2
Exemplar 7 - Additional support planned activities template
Exemplar 8 - Communication Assessment Early Years
Exemplar 9 - Passport template
Exemplar 10 - Completed Passport

2.5.1 The Impact of ASD on Individualised Educational Programmes (Grid 4)

The impact of ASD on Individualised Educational Programmes

Impact of ASD

Responding to the needs of pupils with ASD

Links to HGIOS Quality Indicators

1.1 Improvements in performance

1.2 Fulfilment of statutory duties

2.1 Learners' experiences

2.2 The school's success in involving parents, carers and families

5.1 The curriculum

5.2 Teaching for effective learning

5.3 Meeting learning needs

5.4 Assessment for learning

5.5 Expectations and promoting achievement

5.6 Equality and fairness

5.7 Partnerships with learners and parents

5.8 Care, welfare and development

6.1 Policy review and development

7.3 Staff development and review

8.1 Partnerships with the community, educational establishments, agencies and employers

8.4 Managing information

9.1 Vision, values and aims

9.3 Developing people and partnerships

9.4 Leadership of improvement and change

Refer to HMIEEducation for Pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder Recommendations 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8

  • Existing planning approaches and tools may not meet the needs of pupils with ASD.
  • In addition to standard curricular areas, social aspects may need to be significantly expanded upon e.g. Personal & Social Development - may need to include areas such as social interaction, self awareness, independence, emotional awareness (see examples 11, 12, 13).
  • Likely to need extended and specific supports to access the mainstream curriculum.
  • Tasks likely to need differentiation - See section 2.7 on differentiation. Individualised visual communication supports may need to be developed based on assessment profile.
  • Social skills will need to be explicitly assessed and taught.
  • Liaison with SALT may be required to support social development. Consultation with parents regarding their priorities will be important. Social skills need to be practiced in naturalistic environments.
  • CPD for school staff in these areas is likely to be needed to enable staff to understand the key issues and to develop appropriate targets and teaching activities.
  • Unstructured social aspects of the school day will need careful planning.
  • Whole school awareness is important. Non teaching staff should be aware of and involved in formulation of targets to meet needs outwith the classroom e.g. Intervals and dining hall etc. Consideration of the whole school environment from the perspective of pupils with ASD will be needed to ensure empathic and supportive responses.
  • Transitions across the school day including coming to and leaving school will need careful planning.
  • An effective, reciprocal system for home/school communication is needed so that issues relating to identified and agreed targets arising from either environment can be monitored and acted upon.
  • Liaison with escorts and other adults involved in transporting pupils to and from school may be needed to ensure consistency for key targets. Similarly liaison with any before and after school care providers will also be beneficial.
  • Pupils will need support to monitor their own progress and to be actively involved in their own learning.
  • Pupils are likely to need time and structured support to prepare a meaningful contribution to the planning and review process (see exemplar 2). Self assessment tools may need adapted to accommodate the thinking and information processing styles of pupils with ASD. Targets should be reinforced daily in the classroom environment with specific target highlighted so the pupil is aware of the focus of their efforts and that the potential to feel overwhelmed is minimised.
  • There is likely to be a range of professionals involved in supporting the pupil and their family (see section 4 on Working with Other Agencies).
  • Robust systems for ongoing review involving key professionals and the family will be needed. Sufficient time will need to be allocated for staff to prepare for and to be involved in meetings. Parents may need support to be actively involved in meetings, e.g. having any paperwork in advance of the meeting and having sufficient time to express their views within the meeting and being able to bring a supportive friend or advocate with them. Continuous monitoring, review and development of targets should be a shared commitment on the part of all involved adults.