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Autism Outreach Team

Staffordshire County Council services

The Autism Outreach Team is part of the Specialist Support Service. We work with children and young people aged up to 25 years with a diagnosis or working diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition. We offer specific support and advice to staff, children and parents in nurseries, mainstream settings, and deliver training to educational settings in Staffordshire. This support can continue into Further Education. (Please refer to Post 16 section below for FE - Further Education Offer criteria)

The team consists of:

  • Specially trained teachers who have experience of working with children who have an autism spectrum condition.
     
  • Qualified communication support workers experienced in working with children who have an autism spectrum condition.

What we do

We provide awareness training to any setting on request.

The team are licensed to deliver school aged Autism Education Trust  tiered training, and packages on Complex Needs and the Progression Framework.  We also advise on the implementation of Autism Education Trust National Standards and Competencies.

We design support to suit the individual needs of children and young people and the mainstream setting.  We assess and regularly review the level and type of support offered.

We provide:

  • Autism Education Trust training.  This covers initial autism spectrum condition awareness, and more in-depth full day courses. We follow these up with practical training sessions, including structured teaching and communication strategies e.g. TEACCH, PECS, Social Stories/Comic Strip illustrations, Social Skills groups, Emotional Regulation and Behaviour support.
  • Advice and support to mainstream SENCos, Teachers and Teaching Assistants.
  • Advice on how the children and young people with an Autism Spectrum Condition can access the curriculum effectively.
  • Individual or small group staff training.
  • Liaison with parents and carers.
  • One to one or small group work with children and young people.
  • Support settings to develop, social skills sessions, peer awareness sessions, circle of friends. 
  • Assistance with resources including visual supports e.g. timetables, sequence charts, social stories. 
  • Advice and evidence for statutory assessments, and support with Graduated Response Toolkit.
  •  Liaison with Speech and Language Therapists, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Midlands Psychology, diagnostic services, Paediatricians, Educational Psychologists and any other relevant professionals.

How can I refer?

Schools and settings can refer following a diagnosis or working diagnosis.

You must seek parent and carer agreement prior to referral.

Who will we see?

In order to fully meet children and young people needs a wide range of experienced staff work for the service.

Types of Staff

There are Qualified Teachers and Communication Support Workers who have under taken specialist training and have a wealth of experience working in schools and settings supporting children and young people with autism. They are responsible for the management of a caseload of children and young people with autism across the age range from diagnosis to age 25 in mainstream settings.

Staff are responsible for autism training across the county, delivering packages accredited by the Autism Education Trust.

Enhanced Input for children and young people in key stage 1 and 2 is delivered in settings by a teacher and communication support workers. Enhanced input may include access to an Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist.

There are four High School Resources based in mainstream high schools across the county, for pupils with autism. These are staffed by teachers and communication support workers who are employed by the Autism Outreach Team

What happens when I become an adult? / Post 16 Support

Specialist Support Service (SSS) Further Education (FE) Offer

(SSS comprises the following teams: Hearing Impairment, Vision Impairment, Autism Outreach and ASSIST)

This offer is for learners moving into FE colleges / apprenticeships at 16+.

Requests should be made directly into the Specialist Support Service office or via ASSIST (Autism and Sensory Support in Staffordshire).

Provision varies according to whether a young person has an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) or is receiving support as part of the Graduated Response.

Learners who have an EHCP which is maintained by Staffordshire County Council.

Learners who have an EHCP that identifies specific Hearing Impairment / Vision Impairment / Autism provision, will be eligible to access specialist teacher advice for transition and for statutory reviews.  This support is centrally commissioned by Staffordshire County Council [SCC].

Specialist Teacher statutory support may include:

  • Assessment of need as part of an Education, Health and Care Plan Needs Assessment [EHCNA] where agreed by SCC.
  • Report writing to inform EHCNA.
  • Review, attendance and advice at EHCP Annual Review meetings.  This will include the annual review prior to transition into post-16 provision. 
  • Where there is a significant change to the planned post-16 course programme, timetable or setting, further specialist teacher advice will be offered by the Service to the SEND Assessment and Planning Team in relation to appropriate support / provision and this may include one visit to the student or education provider post transfer.

Where the FE provider does not currently employ specialist staff to provide the support identified within a student’s EHCP, the Specialist Support Service and/or ASSIST may be able to provide this upon request. This support will be charged to the education provider, so the provider will need to apply for the appropriate FE funding to cover this.

Support may include:

  • Awareness training.
  • Specialist teaching support e.g. tutorials, language support, ICT access and specialist mentoring.
  • Specialist Mobility and Orientation Officers.
  • Communication Support Workers.
  • British Sign Language Interpreters.
  • Lip-speakers.
  • Note-takers.
  • Translation and transcription, including braille, moon, audio description.

Other than for statutory transition support and reviews, assessors and course providers need to check availability before naming members of the SSS teams in documentation. 

Learners who have identified needs at the Graduated Response Level

Where learners require assessment or support as part of the graduated response, this may be purchased from the Specialist Support Service or ASSIST if there is capacity. 

Support may include:

  • Awareness training.
  • Guidance on Assess, Plan, Do, Review.
  • Specialist teaching support e.g. tutorials, language support, ICT access and specialist mentoring.
  • Specialist Mobility and Orientation Officers.
  • Communication Support Workers.
  • British Sign Language Interpreters.
  • Lip-speakers.
  • Note-takers.
  • Translation and transcription, including braille, moon, audio description.

Assessors and course providers need to check availability before naming any of the SSS teams for support. 

Specialist Access Technology

Specialist access technology; e.g. radio aids, braillers, embossers can be provided, and the Specialist Support Service has a loan agreement for the education provider. There is a cost to this Service and the agreement will include advice, set up and routine maintenance. 

Feedback

From Parents:

“Contact is very open and responses are quick, which is fantastic.”

“Excellent communication, access is very open and supportive. Nothing is too much trouble, and the support is very welcome, particularly getting school on-board. We could not have got this far without you. Thank you.”

“Always amenable to addressing issues brought up by parents or children.” 

“The specialist knowledge and experience provides unique support to ASD pupils to allow them to function, achieve, progress and fit in school. It's a fantastic service!”

“Caring, supportive nature, helped address needs and supported EHCP.”

“The work they do with my son is invaluable. The specialist support is not available in school.”

“Very supportive, excellent communication, and approachable. My son feels the help and support he has received has been extremely helpful to him.”

“They helped straight away when we were waiting for an appointment for our child from another agency.” 

“Whenever there is an issue with my son struggling with school which cannot be resolved AOT have proved helpful in providing alternative options / solutions which have greatly helped my son.”

From Schools:

“…they are brilliant and help with all kinds of issues and support. They are so knowledgeable and helpful.”

“I would just like to express our thanks for the support we have had from the Autism Outreach team and I hope that this level of support can continue.“ 

“We find the AOT an invaluable service. They offer staff, parents, and pupils tailored support. This ranges from individual pupil support, to working with staff and parents. They are very knowledgeable, supportive, and responsive. All the team who have supported our pupils have made an impact on the children's ability to understand situations and have supported their ability to learn.” 

“I find the service to be absolutely invaluable. The team are very supportive and I feel I am able to contact them at any time and they respond quickly. ”

“Service is fab! Very supportive on a practical level, and give good advice which is ‘followable’. We have received invaluable support for our children who have an autism diagnosis including support with engaging parents.”

“The support needed for pupils with ASC varies so much it is important that the service is able to provide such a flexible tailored service.”

“The caseworkers’ advice and support is essential to ensure that our ASC pupil’s needs are met on an individualised basis. They support all people involved with the pupil to ensure that they reach their true potential and are able to fully access the curriculum at an appropriate level.” 

“The Autism Outreach team have been a vital resource to support our children who have Autism. They are a comprehensive team, who can be contacted for advice and support. They do their upmost with regards to arranging times to come into school to support the children as soon as they can. Their knowledge and skills are extremely important and very much needed for the children.”

Useful Links

  • Midlands Partnership  - interim Autism service supporting children, young people and their families in South Staffordshire.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Kate Prinold
Contact Position
Deputy Head of Sensory - Lead Autism Outreach
Telephone
01785 356830
E-mail
sss.service@staffordshire.gov.uk
Facebook
Autism Outreach Team Facebook Page
Last updated: 01 Jun 2021
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