Autism Outreach Service

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 7 teachers and 3 PSAs in the team with a mix of full, part time and secondment posts. Our teachers are Laura May, Lara Lumbard, Heather Ross, Fabiana Ruggeri, Paula Owen, Claire Bean and Fiona Muirhead-Kerr.  Our PSAs are Teresa Calvino-Diaz, Lesley Morrison and Kyna Mowat-Gosnell .The Principal Teacher of the Service is Aleks Polanska.

Within our Early Years Early Intervention Support Team we have two Senior Early Years Practitioners, two Early Years Practitioners and four Pupil Support Assistants. Our Senior EYPs are Nicky McLeod-Hay and Tracey Milne, our EYPs are Melanie Fraser Mackenzie and Rizza Stewart. Our Pupil Support Assistants are Hannah Wood, Chiara Sissa, Nadine Jerham and Hannah Wilson. 


Where is the Team based?

The Autism Outreach Team are based at Orchard Brae School, Howes Road, Aberdeen, AB16 7RW, Tel :  01224 788950

If you wish to get in touch you can contact the reception desk at Orchard Brae or you can email Alex, the Principal Teacher, directly at

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.

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