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CASE STUDIES - Involvement in their own learning

Case Study 1(Primary) -  Going to the doctor

A primary pupil demonstrated a strong fear of going to the doctor. This had a huge impact on both himself and his family, as trips to the doctor were extremely stressful and avoided whenever possible.
Through discussion with his parents and school staff it was agreed that the Early Childhood Practitioner (ECP) would work with the pupil to devise a programme which aimed to reduce his level of anxiety in these situations.
The pupil was fully involved in planning out the small steps in this programme and the ECP worked closely with the GP practice. Activities in the programme included role play, sharing stories about the doctor, playing with real objects, social stories, trips to the surgery, talking to the receptionist, making appointments, talking to the GP, and finally, attending an appointment. After two weeks of daily activities the pupil was happily visiting the GP surgery and continues to do so one year on.

Case Study 2 (Secondary) - Wider Achievement (Duke of Edinburgh Award)

A mainstream secondary school develop a two year Duke of Edinburgh Award pilot project aimed specifically at those children who would ordinarily shun the challenges that such an endeavour entails. The course was adapted so that difficulties associated with the autism spectrum (e.g. poor spatial awareness, proprioception and motor planning) could be anticipated, planned-for and overcome allowing pupils to gain recognition for their achievements. With the support of senior management, the programme was embedded into the curriculum and offered as an option to 

designated pupils at the end of S2 with the first awards gained two years later.
Children with ASD are often reluctant to participate in activities that make demands of them in areas in which they have a relative weakness and these can therefore become barriers to learning and personal development.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award encourages all pupils to develop:

 Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
 The skills needed to become part of a team
 A consideration for others
 Understanding of countryside and conservation
 Greater awareness of benefits of healthy eating
 Improved fitness
 Increased friendship with peers
 Broader personal links with wider community
 Lots of fun times
 Memories for life

For the Award to be meaningful, it was important that ‘success’ had to be earned and this also meant that ‘failure’ had to be present for the challenge to exist. An important part of the learning process was in helping pupils to see occasional setbacks as learning opportunities and in 
supporting them to develop resilient mindsets when facing tasks that they did not initially consider to be achievable.

The Supported Award would prepare pupils for the world of independent living, further education and work and thus equip them with the real skills that life would inevitably demand.

The award programme was delivered through three 55 minute lessons per week over two years.

Pupils completed all sections of the Award but each was adapted according to the individual needs of children with ASD, many of whom had difficulties with:

 Balance, coordination and movement (co-morbid dyspraxia)
 Sensory sensitivities (hypo and hyper sensitivities)
 Dysexecutive Syndrome (planning, organising, memory, self-management)
 Spatial awareness

The parents of children who have participated in the supported programme have spoken of the child’s:

 Increased independence
 Heightened skill levels
 Enthusiasm for outdoor activities
 Improvements in willingness and ability to work with others
 Greater resilience and determination to overcome adversity

 (Interview)

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