Our provision includes education for children aged 3 (Nursery) through to post-16. We follow the Foundation Stage and National Curriculum with modifications to ensure that students’ individual education needs are met. Modifications to the National Curriculum, also include an extended curriculum to ensure it is accessible and meaningful for those functioning below NC levels. The two curriculums overlap which provides continuity for those students who progress to National Curriculum levels.
Our specialist facilities and highly skilled staff address the main obstacles to students who are not benefiting from conventional teaching strategies i.e. the challenges associated with developing communication and social skills as linked to autism. To overcome these challenges, we identify students’ individual learning styles, assess their language and communication skills and needs, and tailor teaching strategies to our findings. Students may thus be taught, for part of the school day, individually, in small or whole class groups or, a mixture of all three.
Underpinning our curriculum is an emphasis on ensuring students feel safe, secure and developing a positive self-image as this is fundamental to any learning. Fun and enjoyment are thus, important ingredients in our curriculum. Emotional well-being is of paramount importance as many of our children experience varying levels of anxiety as a result of their ASD.
Communication, Speech and Language
As language and communication difficulties are integral to ASD all lessons have a communication/language focus. The manager of Language and Communication works with classroom staff so that individual students’ communication needs are addressed and met on a daily basis in all school contexts.
Non-verbal children or those with very restricted verbal skills are taught to use an alternative or augmentative communication system. Careful assessment identifies the type of system which is considered the most effective and functional on a personal basis e.g. the Uffculme School’s own ‘Picture for Object Trading’ system which uses pictures, symbols and/or written words. Some Makaton signing may be used to support key words in verbal instructions. Speech is always the ultimate aim for all pupils and alternative communication methods are therefore modified with the changing needs of the individual.