At the Autism Network Scotland and SWAN Learning Event in April 2015 ‘Women, Girls and the Autism Spectrum’, workshop sessions were held on education. A summary of the main points raised is below. For a more in depth analysis of the discussions around education, please read a report written by SWAN by clicking here.

For the Education workshops, attendees were split into three groups to discuss primary, secondary and post-school education respectively in recognition of the different needs of each group, and the different challenges they are faced with.

Below are some of the general points that were made. You can see answers specific to each education stage by clicking the links below:

What makes for good practice in education for girls and women on the autism spectrum?

  • Awareness and education of all staff on autism and differences in girls
  • Support through transitions
  • Recognition and understanding of anxiety and how this is presented
  • Looking past academic attainment and behaviour in class as indicators of wellbeing
  • Quiet room being available at all times

What are the constraints on this good practice?

  • Lack of understanding and knowledge
  • Lack of resources in terms of time and money
  • Pressures on teachers to meet the needs of all students with additional support needs with limited means
  • Problems can arise when presentation is subtle, as this makes it difficult to spot when someone is struggling

How could these constraints be overcome?

  • Funding and allocated time for training staff
  • Awareness should be raised amongst peers to develop understanding within the whole education establishments, e.g. by:
    • including disability rights in the curriculum
    • fostering an accepting and inclusive environment through campaigns to overcome stereotypes

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