We're proud to mark World Autism Awareness day with a selection of case studies from our centres

Each of the examples celebrate the fantastic work that ASDAN centres are doing to meet the needs of the diverse range of learners they cater for.

Archbishop Holgates School, York

The Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) qualification has been offered at Archbishop Holgate’s School since 2006, when it was introduced as a GCSE option, and pupils can access it at all three levels. It didn’t take long for staff to notice improvements in students’ anger management, teamwork and learning skills. CoPE is delivered to small groups of between eight and 12 learners, each with a diverse mix of students. They include pupils with dyslexia, dyspraxia, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, visual impairment, Autism, Asperger’s syndrome and emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Simon Bannister, co-ordinator of work-related learning said: "We deliberately aimed it not just at those pupils with special needs, but those who struggle with the structure of schools either because of behaviour, attendance or other issues. Some of these students are academically gifted but their behaviour holds them back.”

"It is fantastic to see learners with such low self-esteem becoming visibly proud of what they have achieved. One of the most challenging aspects of working with pupils who have learning difficulties is progression. CoPE helps to bridge the huge chasm that can exist for non-academic learners when they reach 16. It has definitely helped us guide learners towards employment, further education or apprenticeships. It is very gratifying to see a learner improve their prospects and progress through the educational experience.”

Heathermount, Ascot

Heathermount is a school for children and young people with autism and associated learning difficulties. Professional Development Manager, Brenda Linter, explains how ASDAN’s CVQ and Employability qualifications have benefited pupils of all abilities.

"We have a wide range of ability levels and therefore the spikey profile needs to be catered for in our curriculum development. We have chosen ASDAN qualifications because they meet the needs of our students, who range from Entry 2 to Level 3. The students are required to attend taught sessions at Heathermount every Friday afternoon and put into practice the skills learned, and refreshed in their current subjects, within the range of projects on offer at Heathermount.

"We chose an Easter sharing activity for their Volunteering event. The students planned, organised, and delivered the event with staff working alongside. The money raised from this activity was donated to the Disabilities Trust Brain Injuries Unit. The voluntary work involved a great variety of tasks that ensured all students were involved in a range of activities; for example planning, delivery, organising, working with others, customer service, etc. all within Heathermount policies and code of practice. The feedback we received confirmed that it was an enjoyable experience for students, teachers and all those who attended the event.”

The Wing Centre, Bournemouth

Lydia Roberts is the ASDAN co-ordinator for Personal Social Development (PSD) at The Wing Centre in Bournemouth, a college for students with Asperger’s and autism. She explains how the qualification has helped to enrich their curriculum.

"We started PSD as a pilot with a small group of students, initially as a stand-alone subject for those who had completed ASDAN Bronze or CoPE. It became increasingly clear that it touched a lot of subject areas and so we have slowly started to implement it across the curriculum. I teach Sex education, Relationships and Responsibilities. Over the year, the students look at topics such as diet, self, lifestyle choices and sex education. The course has allowed us to enrich and accredit some of the work already going on.”

"The emphasis on developing skills for life and the flexibility within the units has been great. At the end of each unit you can write your own questions that meet the given criteria. This has enabled us to extend areas of study and, in some cases, make it individualised for a specific student. Our students have loved the feedback and get a real sense of achievement. That is what the course is about: the sense of personal achievement and growth.”

Many of ASDAN's Programmes and Qualifications can provide an inspiring and engaging curriculum for Autistic learners across the spectrum. If you’d like to know more, leave a comment below or get in touch with us to find out more.

Author: ASDAN, ASDAN

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