By Matthew Hesmondhalgh, Christine Breakey

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Extra info for Access and Inclusion for Children With Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Let Me in

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What makes road safety easier for our pupils is that, in addition to the lessons, they are crossing the road with support on a daily basis. However, no pupil is allowed to cross the road at the end of the school day. This is because there are three schools in the area and the road is extremely busy at the end of the school day. Risks can be taken so far, and then they become avoidable danger. Furniture had to be bought for The Resource base and Sheffield LEA gave me £1000. There was no building in which to put furniture, but that was a minor difficulty.

He was rarely on the winning team again, but this did not matter; in terms of PE, he had arrived. Not all accidents have such a favourable outcome. Sticking with the lesson from hell, which PE can be on occasions, there was a water fountain in one of the changing rooms. This was used by most pupils to quench their thirst after a tough PE lesson. Early on in the first term, one of our pupils mistook this drinks fountain for a urinal. You can probably imagine the look of horror on my face as I turned to see him relieving himself in there.

We certainly read as many books as we could find, especially those written by people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. However, we were faced with having to act, not debate: we had to change things by actions, not words. Some adults with autism have written about the terrible time they experienced at mainstream secondary schools. While being very aware of this, we had an opportunity to make the experience of a mainstream secondary school a positive experience for our students. Few people, if any, were going to tell us how to do things in Sheffield, because nobody had done this before.

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