I’ll start with a disclaimer, I work in specialist school for children. It is my job to educate them to the best of my ability. Now those children have to have a diagnosis (label if you like) to access our provision, to be referred to us by the local authority.

In the minds of myself and the team I work in that label is left at the door. That child is now Jack, David, Tyler. Their strengths, personality, interactions and interests define them. We work to build the confidence and identity of every student. Every day is a new day. Nothing is taken personally and we greet each other as friends. I am Joe, not sir not Mr White. Any student is free to come into my office, ask for a push on the swing. Show me their classroom or work they are proud of.

We do not tolerate any student being picked on but we do not punish.

Discipline is through education and supporting the student to develop the skills needed to interact with their peers. We do not suspend students. We look for reasons for challenging behaviour, we adapt timetables curriculum, communication methods. Everything and we try and try and try again until we have built vital trust and rapport with every student.

The infographic below shows this is not the experience for all children who have a diagnosis. The Autistic spectrum is vast and we must all strive to include all in a positive education where barriers are removed and everyone is encouraged to flourish.

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