The learning environment
The learning environment has a significant impact on students on the autism spectrum. Careful consideration should be given to the physical, sensory and social environment when supporting students to access learning opportunities, positive interaction with peers, as well as the development of independence and building their ability to cope with change. Transitions at all levels can be particularly challenging and needs to be carefully planned.
For more information, see: ASD support materials
Assessment and reporting
It is important to establish an accurate student profile on which to base educational planning. Assessment of children and young people on the autism spectrum needs to be individualised and relies on careful observation and identification of areas of interest and ability as well as skills that require further development. Assessment is best carried out across a range of environments and collecting information from many different sources, including parents and professionals, will be necessary to form a comprehensive profile.
There need to be flexible systems in place for recording and reporting individual progress and student outcomes for children and young people on the autism spectrum. Standard approaches to assessment may not always be applicable and adaptations to formal testing may be required to enable accurate recognition and reporting of achievements.
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As no single approach can be effective for every child in every situation, all students on the autism spectrum will require personalised planning and support around their learning goals, which may include communication, socialisation and thinking goals. Family involvement is essential in this process.
For more information and support materials, see: ASD support materials
Communication, thinking and social interaction skills may need to be explicitly taught, supported and structured for many students on the autism spectrum to fully access the curriculum. Specific adjustments, supports and strategies adapted to individual students need to be considered when planning curriculum content, teaching and learning processes, monitoring and assessment and the overall learning environment.
For more information and support materials, see:
Teaching and learning
Structured and explicitly communicated teaching approaches and expectations may be required for children and young people on the autism spectrum. This applies also to presentation of tasks, timetables and learning environments. This structured teaching approach needs to be clear and systematic with clear communication supported where appropriate by visual materials.
For more information see: ASD support materials