Calls have been made in Scotland to introduce transition plans to help autistic children return to school following lockdown

The National Autistic Society Scotland is calling on schools to provide all autistic children with a personalised transition plan to help with their return to school.

In August, Scottish children are expected to return to the classroom. However, after over four months off of school and a change in routine, the National Autistic Society Scotland believe transition plans are essential.

CLASSROOM

There are an estimated 6,500 autistic children across Scotland, and a third also have a learning disability and, in many instances, mental health challenges.

Thus, the transition back to education and the classroom may be challenging.

“Many autistic children will have been out of school for over four months by the time the new term begins,” explains Nick Ward, director of National Autistic Society Scotland.

“Some have coped very well. Others however, have struggled under the strict restrictions and huge change to routine and we’ve heard from families under severe pressure with profound impacts on mental health and wellbeing.” 

Parents have also commented that some home-schooling packages have been poor quality, generic or not specialised for their child’s needs. 

ROUTINE

Similarly, many children have now adapted to a new routine and returning to school will once again alter this routine. 

For this reason, the National Autistic Society Scotland wants to ensure that all schools provided autistic children with a personalised transition plan in August to help the adaption to be smooth as possible.

Nick adds: “We know that change can be incredibly challenging for autistic people. It is important that transition back into school is handled sensitively and in a personalised way. 

“Transitions are already hard for autistic children, often because of a lack of support or understanding about autism, and that’s why we’re calling on schools to make sure that each and every autistic child has a personalised plan with input from parents to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

“We don’t feel that this is too much to ask in a system which should be focused on getting it right for every child.”

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