The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Autism

Gareth D Morewood

Autism: 5 books to add to your reading list

Books can provide a natural introduction to positive discussions around autism and young people. Here are some of my personal favourites. At almost every event I’ve spoken at over the last few years, at least one delegate has asked me how to broach the subject of a diagnosis with a child. If you're...
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Gareth D Morewood

Transition for pupils with autism: what does research tell us?

We know how difficult the leap from primary to secondary school can be. Planning and coordinating transition in the best interests of the child will be time well spent. It is quite amazing how quickly time flies in the education world, let alone that of the SENCO. We are now preparing for Year 6...
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Gareth D Morewood

Visual ethnography: bringing a child-centred approach into focus

If we are to help pupils with SEND meet their outcomes, how can we determine what's 'important' for them? Research into the use of photographs as data could have the answer. Last summer I was fortunate enough to lead a workshop on outcomes and EHCPs at the SENCO Update conference . A short paper...
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Gareth D Morewood

Autism and mental health support, without the cost!

Priestnall School's recent event on autism and mental health was a busy hive of discussions, and proof of the fact that long-lasting support need not come at a great cost. I have written previously about mental health , a situation compounded for so many parents, carers and young people with SEND...
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Gareth D Morewood

How can we support the emotional regulation of children with autism?

Helping pupils with autism to regulate their emotions and handle changing states will greatly benefit their capacity to engage. Here's a summary of what you need to know and how you can help. Recently I have been fortunate enough to have took part in some powerful discussions with Studio III , who...
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Gareth D Morewood

Peer support for autistic pupils: Bobby’s story

There are a few simple strategies to encourage peer support for pupils with SEND. Gareth Morewood explains. I have previously stressed the importance of peer education as part of being an inclusive school, particularly with regard to autistic students . To further understand how peer support works...
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Gareth D Morewood

Girls and autism: what we need to know

The growing awareness of girls with autism needs to continue. Gareth D Morewood examines what this understanding means for schools. Increasing research into autism will evidently lead to more awareness and a better understanding of pupils’ needs (see References below for a list of current research...
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Gareth D Morewood

Making the festivities fun for pupils with ASC

While Christmas can be a time of great excitement, it is important to remember that this time of year adds additional challenges to young people and families with SEND. The last week of term Young people on the autistic spectrum can find the last few days of the Christmas term very challenging –...
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Gareth D Morewood

Using literacy to inspire pupils with autism

There is a growing awareness of girls and autism, particularly due to the research of Dr Judith Gould and Dr Jacqui Ashton Smith. After having Michael Barton in school last year to work with parents/carers and students and talk about his amazing books, I was delighted to find this book written...
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Gareth D Morewood

Raising awareness of the reality of autism

I was delighted to welcome Michael Barton to our school as part of his book tour at the end of October. I first heard Michael speak at an event in Belfast where I was taking about our research and work on including young people with complex autism (read more in my article 'Mainstreaming autism:...
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