A free online resource developed to support the inclusion of autistic learners in Scottish Early Learning and Childcare settings, Primary and Secondary schools.

Home to Nursery School

Home and Early Learning and Childcare settings

ELC is a generic term used to cover the full range of Early Learning and Childcare provisions. Examples include nursery schools, primary schools with a nursery class, family centres and childminders. In Scotland all three and four-year-old children, and some two-year-olds, have the entitlement to 600 hours per year of early learning and childcare. The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the Early Learning and Childcare entitlement to 1140 hours per year by August 2020.

In high quality early learning and childcare settings everyone is welcomed, and the atmosphere is open, caring and friendly. Children’s wellbeing is utmost, and they are treated as individuals. Adults are sensitive to children’s different traits and personalities. Staff are interested in the opinions of parents and carers and about what each child likes and dislikes. Children are encouraged to develop their own ideas, thoughts and opinions. They are involved in a wide range of exciting activities which are helping them to develop a curiosity about the world around them. Through rich, playful experiences, children are developing early language and early mathematical skills.

A great deal of support is now available to help the transition of children and their family into their Early Learning centres. Often home visits are made and provide opportunities for parents and carers to ask questions and share concerns. Strong, respectful relationships between parents and practitioners lay the foundation for positive transitions for autistic children.

  • Provide opportunities for the parents/carers to share their understanding of their child’s profile including their strengths and areas where they may need some support
     
  • Ensure parent and carers have appropriate opportunities to be involved in developing the transition plan for their child
     
  • Create a book with pictures of the school staff and activity areas to share with the child and parents
     
  • Consider the sensory and environmental impact the early years setting may have. Some children may find it hard to cope with loud noise. Try entering an area before the noise builds up. Gradually increase time, with a calm and quiet activity afterwards. Some autistic children may experience difficulties coping with the smell of cooking, or in activities involving messy hands. Again, gradually introducing and increasing time at these activities may help lower stress
       
  • Help the child to understand routine by building in objects of reference that travel from one activity to another – e.g. give the child a plastic spoon to hold on the way to lunch, a chime bar when it's time for music. It’s useful to give the child somewhere to place the object on arrival
     
  • Provide visual cues to help child navigate their way around the classroom and understand specific areas and routines. For example, use a specific coloured plastic tablecloth for snack time and another for painting
     
  • Provide clear signals to mark different points in their routine - beginning or end of an activity/task might involve a song which begins the activity each time and a countdown to finish. Visual supports also help a child to recognise and follow routines. For example, a sand timer or buzzer could be used to help mark the end of an activity; sign ‘finish’ or show a symbol
     
  • Be aware of the range of choices available for the child; if there are too many, it may be hard for the child to make any choices.