As part of the ‘education autism – supporting your practice’ education setting pathway of support, autism act offers a 5 week course to train an Autism Champion for your school.
Let me answer the 3 most asked questions about this role in school.
What is an autism champion?
An autism champion takes the lead role for autism in the school. This means they have a deeper knowledge and understanding of autism and act as an advocate for the needs of autistic children. They have an overview of autism across the school or education setting and knowledge of those pupils with an autism diagnosis, or those on a pathway to diagnosis. They have an understanding of the diagnostic process and can accompany parents to Paediatric appointments with increased confidence.
Having a deeper knowledge enables an autism champion to advise other members of staff to understand autism in terms of the key areas of autistic difference and how to build individual profiles. Autism Champions have an understanding of assessment that focuses on needs other than academic and support other members of staff to access this.
They feel confident to advise staff with strategies expected at High Quality Teaching level. They should have an overview of a range of strategies at a variety of levels or know how to signpost staff to them. However, they will need support themselves for more complex cases and may require access to a support group of Autism Champions or supervision. Staff in your education setting feel confident to approach the autism champion for advice and support but accept they may also need to seek advice from an autism specialist. It is important for Autism Champions to remain up to date with changes to information about autism and current views.
An Autism Champion can be involved in running interventions that benefit autistic children or alternatively, oversee interventions run by other staff members. They will be confident to take the views of autistic children for annual reviews and be aware of a range of ways to do this that meets the need of the individual child.
How would having an autism champion benefit my school?
Having a designated Autism Champion in your school or education setting means staff always have someone to go to for advice without having to access help from an autism specialist, who may not be readily available. They have an elevated level of knowledge and this is beneficial to staff, children and parents.
With an Autism Champion in your education setting, there is a permanent consciousness about the needs of autistic children as a result of their presence.
What does the course entail?
autism act’s course, Training An Autism Champion is a 5 week course. There is a free follow up 6th session to talk about school needs and to iron out any questions. This is a bespoke session for each Autism Champion and lasts for 1 hour. The course is also accompanied by a handbook which follows the course.
The Autism Champion has 5 x 2 hours training sessions with autism act.
- Key areas of autistic difference, relevant psychological theories and understanding the diagnostic pathway.
- Understanding High Quality Teaching Level and expected strategies. How to support staff in their own setting with this.
- Understanding autism focused interventions. Which children they may be suitable for and how to deliver them or organise them for someone else to deliver. Supporting more complex needs within your education setting.
- Understanding assessment of an autistic child’s needs and how to support other members of staff.
- Supporting parents and how to get the views of autistic children.
The course can be delivered in a flexible manner to either individual schools or a group of schools. It can be delivered in person or via zoom depending on Covid restrictions. Being delivered in person is preferred due to the nature of the sessions. They are designed to be a mixture of theory and practical opportunities where possible.
What can be accessed once the course is over?
Termly meetings are offered for the Autism Champion to ensure they feel supported in their role. Where possible, this will happen with other trained Autism Champions so good practice can be shared and problems can be solved collectively. Follow up sessions will be costed separately.
While Autism Champions is not a new concept, this course is totally unique to autism act; written by me for the purpose of autism act ‘education autism – supporting your practice pathway’.