Today the newly published book – Girls and Autism: Education, Family and Personal Perspectives (Routledge) has been launched to the Press. Edited by Barry Carpenter, Francesca Happe and Jo Egerton, the book has already been well received by the professional press:-
“What stands out most from this new, highly informative and skilfully edited collection are the lived experiences of the contributors; presented as honest and open accounts by girls, young and adult women describing the way autism affects their relationships with the world around them… For any social worker with an interest in the life course development of girls to adolescents to young adults this book will provide a heartfelt and highly informative insight into the lives of vulnerable and often marginalised females.”
— Mark Goodman, British Journal of Social Work
“This book is essentially very positive despite the unflinching descriptions of the complexities of life and school and the barriers that exist for girls with autism. It maintains a focus on what is possible and what is achievable even with the current reality for the majority of poorly coordinated support and insufficient services. It is a highly recommended read both for parents and for professionals working in or with schools, colleges, career services, as well as the health and social care sectors.”
— Dr Rob Ashdown, Editor, PMLD Link
This has been echoed in this lived experience interview with Talia Grant , a young woman with Asperger’s syndrome , in “ The Independent “ today .
This is question I am often asked. My key thought in responding is that these children are often ‘wired differently’ – their brains are not configured as those of a full term infant might be. This does not automatically imply that they will have a learning disability or special educational need, but teachers need to be prepared that that these children may not perceive and deduct from information given, in the ways we usually expect from children.
Indeed, to repeat again the phrase given to me by the mother of a boy born at 24 weeks gestation after observing his first term in school, he is ‘wired differently’ . As a as a Teacher I then have so ask , “so of he is wired differently , in what ways does he learn differently ? And when I know how he learns differently, in what ways do I teach differently?”
Many teachers find the Engagement Profile (http://engagement4learning.com), a useful observational tool to profile neurodiversity in children, particularly as we start a new academic year.
This article may guide and refresh thinking around how we engage children whose learning pathways are different due to prematurity of birth.
Beyond Words has an important role to play in the introduction of the proposed social and emotional mental health framework in schools next year. In order to prepare the way we are undertaking a research project in 21 Special Schools in the North, Midlands and South-East of England. We plan to assess how Beyond Words’ books and other visual materials can help children and teachers to address many of the issues raised in the recent Government Green Paper.
If you are a qualified teacher and you have recently left the profession or you are looking for a fresh challenge we would like to hear from you. Beyond Words is based in Central London but this role, which could be 2-3 days per week, would also involve travel to the partner schools.
If you are interested please forward your CV and letter of introduction to our Chief Executive Nick at: firstname.lastname@example.org