Enhanced Support Area
The Enhanced Support Area of the school consists of 10 classes which cater for the needs of pupils with Social and Communication Disorders / Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The classrooms have structured settings which provide pupils with visual clues to enable their understanding and to help them make sense of their environment.
Each classroom has designated areas for specific tasks with clear boundaries, and materials are easily accessible to encourage independence.
The ESA curriculum has a specific focus on personal and social skills, communication skills, skills for independent living, self care skills, leisure skills and integrative activities.
There are two main recommended approaches through which the curriculum is delivered:
1. TEACCH – (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children)
This approach is based on the principle that the needs of children within the Autistic Spectrum with associated learning difficulties are, in most cases, diametrically opposed to similar non-autistic children, particularly with regard to having a calm and low stimulation environment which they need if they are to extract value from learning.
2. PECS – (Picture Exchange Communication System)
This is a clearly structured approach to teaching functional communication skills to children within the Autistic Spectrum. It simply teaches them to initiate communication by showing how to exchange a picture of a desired item with an adult who immediately honours the request. The important aspect of this is that if the classroom staff can find out which things the child is attracted to or wants, the child will become the initiator of the communication. The system goes on to teach the discrimination of symbols, how to make choices, the matching of symbols to words, through to early reading activities.
The Enhanced Support Area is inspected annually by the National Autistic Society and again has successfully achieved its Accreditation Certificate for this session