Introduction to Autism Outreach
Who are Autism Outreach?
The Autism Outreach service is commissioned by Surrey and is based at four schools across the county; Linden Bridge and Freemantles visit primary schools, Limpsfield Grange and The Abbey visit secondary schools.
The outreach teams are made up of teachers and teaching assistants who have worked at our host schools. They have all had a range of training in autism-specific strategies and continue to access training and development opportunities, both with their host school and as a team. Many of our staff have experience working in both mainstream and special school settings.
The Autism Outreach teams support 325 schools (265 primary and 60 secondary) and around 2500 young people across the county. The service is highly thought of and 70% of our schools rated the service as 10/10 (July 2016)
What do Autism Outreach do?
We observe pupils in their classroom, keeping things as ‘normal’ as possible. For some pupils it is appropriate to have a chat with them directly. Afterwards, we meet with school staff and parents to discuss concerns and strategies to help. We write reports which outline our observations, form a record of discussions held and descriptions of the strategies we recommend. Following our visit, we arrange follow-up appointments, dependent on the level of need. These may be for individual pupils or part of a clinic-style visit to check up on how things are going and give general support to the school.
In addition to these visits, we;
* Give advice and information over the phone, or by email
* Support schools more generally with their ASD provision, through meetings and learning walks.
* Liaise with other surrey services such as the Specialist Teaching Teams, CAMHS and EPs
* Work with county teams such as the Joint Autism Strategy Group, to ensure there is a strong voice for autism in Surrey.
* Provide a range of resources and information sheets, along with up-to-date signposting to other sources.
How is the service accessed?
The Outreach service is free to all Surrey schools and academies. Independent schools and nurseries can pay per visit.
Referrals must come from the young person’s schools and the referral form can be found on each team’s website (click here).
An EHCP is not a requirement for referral.
A formal diagnosis of autism is not necessary; we can visit any young person with Social communication difficulties, who would benefit from autism related strategies.
Advice can be given over the phone or by email without a referral. Both schools and families are also welcome to access the resources and information on our websites.
As part of the Outreach service, we welcome visitors to our school and the team are often visitors in others settings. We will act to ensure that all settings we work in are safe places for pupils, staff and other members of our community. If a parent/carer, or professional has concerns we will always listen to them and seek to address them.
However, abusive, threatening or violent behaviour will not be tolerated. If such behaviour occurs we will follow the procedures outlined in the Surrey County Council guidance – ‘Keeping Schools Safe’.