Who are we?
The Autism Outreach Service is a small team of teaching and support staff with specialist knowledge and experience in the field of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC).
We are part of the staff team at Orchard Brae School, supporting our colleagues in the mainstream nursery, primary and secondary educational sectors across Aberdeen City.
Who is in the Team?
There are currently 6 teachers in the team. Our four full time teachers are Karen Inglis, Laura May, Hayley McFarlane and Jan McKechnie. Tricia Bruce works part-time with the team supporting on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Principal Teacher Post is currently being advertised.
Within our Early Years Early Intervention Support Team we have Nicky Blair and Nicky McLeod-Hay, our Senior Early Years Practitioners. Rob Morrice and Norbert Nezsai are our Early Years Practitioners and Louise Cowan, Tracey Milne, Dahni Pirie and Hannah Wood our Pupil Support Assistants.
Where is the Team based?
The Autism Outreach Team are based at the St Nicholas Centre, Balgownie Road, Aberdeen, AB22 8JS, Tel : 01224 826850
Jean Horner, our Administrative Assistant, is based at Orchard Brae School Tel : 01224 788950
Our Team email address is AutismOutreachTeam@aberdeencity.gov.uk
What do we do?
As part of ACC’s Integrated Children & Family Services, the role of the Autism Outreach Service is to deliver universal, targeted and specialist levels of support across Aberdeen City to staff and schools who have children and young people with an Autism Spectrum Condition.
The remit of the service is wide and varied; from providing advice. to delivering guidance and training on effective practice within the field of ASC, to our education colleagues.
Our focus is on increasing knowledge and understanding of ASC and building capacity and confidence within schools.
In delivering our service the Autism Outreach Service works closely with all partner agencies and colleagues to ensure that the approach or interventions used are appropriate, effective, consistent and get it right for every child.
The range of support…
The exact nature of the support given will be entirely dependent upon the needs of the child or young person and the needs of the staff working with, and supporting them, and can include, but is not limited to …
- increasing knowledge and understanding of ASC
- supporting good autism classroom practice
- promoting positive behaviour management
- supporting staff in differentiating the curriculum
- supporting implementation of flexible timetabling
- supporting children and young people with transitions
- promoting effective use of reinforcement schedules
- supporting the use of visuals to aid learning and understanding
- promoting and developing appropriate social skills resources
- increasing the understanding of sensory sensitivities
- supporting the set up of effective individual work systems
- supporting emotional regulation and development
- using social stories to promote understanding
- providing advice, strategies and resources to meet the individual need
Essential Principles of Good Autism Practice
- Respect for, and understanding of, the individual…based on how they think and interpret the world and their individual learning style
- Accommodation of their strengths as well as areas of difficulty
- The need for self-reflection in practitioners
- High expectations with appropriate levels of targeted support and flexibility of delivery where required
- Implementation where possible of an ‘autism appropriate’ environment.
Good practice may not be sufficient for those on the autism spectrum but good autism practice will benefit others as well as those with autism.