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

  • Consistency
  • Consideration of time pressures
  • Flexible timetabling
  • Support – through peripatetic specialists, or buddy/peer systems
  • Small class sizes
  • Asking the student what they need support with, rather than prescribing support based on assumptions
  • Checking for understanding rather than assuming it

What are the constraints on this good practice?

  • A focus on behaviour rather than the underlying reasons for it when problems arise
  • Lack of acknowledgement of individuals and parents as the experts
  • Difficulties with unstructured time
  • Social pressures and stigma
  • Lack of consistency across classes, teachers and year groups
  • Sensory problems, for example with bells, busy corridors and uniforms
  • No allocated space for break and lunch times
  • Issues with peers when treated differently by teachers

How could these constraints be overcome?

  • An understanding of ‘burnout’ and the need for downtime
  • Providing flexible scheduling
  • Support to develop life skills and self-management skills
  • Using positive role models and examples of good practice
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