The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Autism

Gareth D Morewood

Emotional regulation in the context of whole school inclusion

Helping pupils understand the importance of emotions and how to regulate them can reduce stress, anxiety and dysregulation. Gareth D Morewood explains how research can inform a nuanced approach. A range of studies in different countries have demonstrated that autistic pupils are among the most...
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Gareth D Morewood

The value in listening to new voices

No matter how experienced we think we are, fresh perspectives will help us grow. Gareth D Morewood recaps his experience of attending the inaugural New Voices. Buoyed by the success of my first #BrewEd earlier this month, it wasn’t long before I was preparing for another new experience at an...
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Charlie Roden

Review: Fifteen Things They Forgot to Tell You About Autism

Debby Elley's latest book is a sweet treat, offering a valuable perspective on autism and acceptance. Since being appointed as a teaching assistant at a secondary school with a large SEN department, I have worked with a lot of brilliant children who happen to be autistic. Having had limited...
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Debby Elley

Understanding autism: what they forgot to tell you

Much of what we're told about autism gives little sense of what it's like to live comfortably, but one parent's new book is jam-packed with positive experiences. Debby Elley, co-editor of AuKids magazine at the launch of her new book, describing her experience of raising two sons with autism Note...
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Joanna Grace

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: in need of our understanding

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) may sound obscure, but misdiagnosis or misunderstanding in schools can have a lasting effect on young people who have the condition. It’s likely that your school supports young people with autism. It’s also likely that, if you were to have trouble supporting a...
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Damian Moore

'One happy family': sharing an emotional vocabulary

At the Holy Family School, designated provision for ASC gives parents and students alike the opportunity to talk emotions. The one group of parents that are likely to visit their children’s secondary school as much as they did their primary are the parents of pupils with SEND. This is the case at...
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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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