Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

For more information including; diagnosis, behaviour and strategies to support those with Autism, please visit the National Autistic Society website.

Milestone Academy has approximately 60% of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. These students require individualised planning to meet their specific learning needs in relation to the four core areas:

  • Social and emotional needs
  • Language and communication
  • Flexibility of thought
  • Sensory processing needs

Students will achieve academically and socially when high expectations and suitable adaptations are in place. Students will be taught by trained staff and they have access to ASD specific learning environments, in addition meeting their sensory requirements. Provision will need to be reviewed and updated in response to the developmental changes of the student/students.

Milestone Academy has a team of staff who support students, staff and families in relation to ASD. The aim of this team is to:

  • Support teachers to enable them to raise attainment and progress for students with ASD
  • Demonstrate and share good practice
  • Analyse the functions of behaviour and identify effective strategies to implement at home and school
  • Develop a holistic approach in meeting all the needs of the student, including their sensory needs
  • Support families and carers with educational, social and leisure needs
  • Work collaboratively with families and professionals from other disciplines in meeting individual pupils needs
  • Provide bespoke training for staff and parents within the Academy and within the Trust.

At Milestone Academy we aim to work in a collaborative approach to meet Individual Pupil Needs. The long term goal for all students is for them to be as independent in everyday life as is possible. A key part of this is to be able to recognise and regulate their emotions and or behaviours, through use of carefully planned and taught coping mechanisms. We achieve this for our students with some of the following approaches:

Strategies could include:

  • Visual supports answering the key ‘what now, next, where and how long’ questions
  • Intensive Interaction
  • Sensory Profiles
  • Total communication approach across the school which includes: signalong and visual supports
  • Individual behaviour plans and behaviour for learning plans
  • Aspects of TEACCH and ABA curriculum
  • SMILE movement activities to calm/alert or help students to organise themselves physically
  • Social Stories
  • SCERTS model pilot
  • Total communication approach throughout the academy
  • Team Teach crisis avoidance strategies
  • Attention Autism
  • Individualised Sensory Programmes

Interventions for Emotional Literacy and Stress

  • ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant, focusing on Social skills, emotions, bereavement, social stories and therapeutic stories, anger management, self-esteem, counselling skills such as solution focused and friendship)
  • Special Friends (The FRIENDS programmes are evidence-based interventions, proven to reduce anxiety and depression and promote resilience for people of all ages.
  • Zones of Regulation (understanding of emotions and regulation strategies to the individual)
  • Mental Health First Aid (focusing on supporting students in reducing stress until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis resolves)

Six Ways to Well Being

Milestone Academy focuses on the Six Ways to Well Being strategy to promote positive mental health across the entire academy. It is a non prescriptive strategy that encourages students to participate and learn in activities that will help them to stay physically and mentally healthy. The six areas highlighted to students are:

  • Be active. Physical activities like walking, waltzing or wii-ing can positively influence the way you think, feel and function.
  • Mind. Keep learning. Studies are showing that life-long learners are some of the healthiest, happiest people around.
  • Spirit: Give time or share.
  • People: Connect. Close relationships with friends and family.
  • Place: Take notice. Noticing nature helps us to stop and take in the surroundings.
  • Planet: Care. learn about the environment and ways to help the environment.

Training delivered to staff

  • Yearly training to new starters by specialists on what is Autism, Communication, Functions of Behaviour, Sensory processing, Visually Supported Learning and TEACCH approach, Behaviour support and the Six Stages of Crisis
  • Inset Autism and Behaviour training to all staff
  • Team Teach for up 100 staff a year including refreshers for staff. Als class/student specific training when needed
  • Yearly training to increase understanding for supporting Mental Health and protective factors

If you would like further information please contact the Autism and Behaviour Team through reception-

  • Phase 1 Autism and Behaviour Leader: Carolyn Welham
  • Phase 2 Autism and Behaviour Leaders: Katy Morez
  • Phase 3 Autism and Behaviour Leader: Rachel Perry
  • Phase 4 Autism and Behaviour Leader: Amy Smith
  • Whole School Autism and Behaviour Leader: Richard Allwright