Beginning school is a challenging time for most young children. For those with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the significant change this entails can be overwhelming, and everyone involved will be in need of guidance to make the transition as smooth and as stress-free as possible.
This positive and practical book arms schools with a wealth of essential information, easy-to-implement strategies and photocopiable resources that will help to make early schooldays an enjoyable experience for young children on the spectrum. Constructive suggestions, such as introducing visual schedules and accommodating sensory issues, will help children with ASD to feel comfortable in school, and activities including making a 'happy scrapbook' and a home-school diary will support staff home liaison.
From Home to School with Autism is essential reading for education professionals seeking to encourage and inspire greater confidence in young children with ASD as they embark on school life.
Al-Ghani, a special educational needs teacher whose son has ASD, and Kenward, a retired specialist teacher for inclusion support, compile practical ideas to ease the transition to school and inclusive classrooms for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Their program offers a visual structured approach to the school day, incorporating scrapbooks, visual schedules, motivation boards, and symbols for various activities. Ideas are given for common situations such as preparing children for substitute teachers and holidays, and dealing with children's obsessions.
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It is always good to read about strategies to help teaching staff in the mainstream classroom help children on the autistic spectrum. The fact that this book is clearly set out and in larger than average hint makes it easy to dip into and find relevant information. I have enjoyed reading this book and particularly liked the Happy Scrap book idea and the helpful tips for Teaching Assistants. I also like the wide range of visual cues used throughout, given as ideas to help children with ASDs process information better. The ideas of the pupil profile book and the starting school books were really good and so beneficial too... Overall, I think the idea of the book is something that is much needed. Now we just need educational staff to take notice and implement some of these very helpful strategies.
The earlier these strategies can be put in place the better. As soon as a child with ASD enters school for the first time they should be exposed to the visual way of working. In my case, the child was not diagnosed until she was in Year 3, but seeing first hand the positive way in which they have worked I would definitely advocate these techniques for children of Reception age.
Jane Barnard, Individual Needs Assistant to a girl with Asperger Syndrome, Little Ridge Community Primary School, St. Leonards-On-Sea, UK
K.I. Al-Ghani is a special educational needs teacher who has worked for more than 30 years in the field of education. She is currently a specialist teacher for inclusion support and is involved with training professionals, students and parents in aspects of ASD. As an author and mother of a son with ASD, she has spent the last twenty years researching the enigma that is Autism. Lynda Kenward has over thirty years' experience of working in special education. Now retired, her recent role as specialist teacher for inclusion support has motivated a particular interest in developing resources for children with ASD. Haitham Al-Ghani is an author, illustrator and cartoon animator. He earned a triple distinction in multimedia studies and was the 2007 winner of the Vincent Lines Award for creative excellence.
To have a book that will contain a range of strategies, resources and useful suggestions to support the inclusion of a child with an ASD will do much to lessen the anxiety levels of many of these children and no doubt the teachers or Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCO) that strive to support them. From Home to School with Autism will be a vital tool for all education professionals teaching and supporting young children.
Anna Collins, Acting Key Stage 1 SENCO and class teacher, Silverdale Primary School, Hastings, UK
This comprehensive, constructive information – filled resource is a title that should be on the bookshelf of anyone caring for an autistic child, either at school or at home.
I have a sticker chart. When I do lots of work I get stickers to put on the chart and then I get prizes. I am a lot happier at school since Kay showed Mrs Goodwin how to use these things. I really wish I had these things when I first started school.
Joshua Merrick, Pupil with AS, Red Lake Count Primary School, Hastings, UK