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What reasonable adjustments can I ask for an autistic child?

What reasonable adjustments can I ask for an autistic child?

Knowing your rights and your child’s rights, particularly when they have special educational support needs (SEND), is important to ensure that they have all the necessary support to help them at school. Reasonable adjustments are changes that are made for children with SEND to ensure that they are supported and not disadvantaged at all compared to other children. The Equality Act (2010) supports this.

Where to begin in asking for support with adjustments?

A good place to begin is meeting with all of the professionals involved in your child’s education and healthcare to discuss the support that your child may need. An Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) or Coordinated Support Plan (CSP - Scotland) is a legal document that plans to identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs. It is useful to have a plan in place so that everyone working with your child fully understands their needs and what adjustments they need to make school life easier for them.

If you do not have an EHCP or CSP in place, or require help and advice to ensure that your child is getting the right support at school the following organisations can help:

● England: IPSEA
● Scotland: Enquire
● Wales: SNAP Cymru
● Northern Ireland: SENAC


Reasonable adjustment examples

There are lots of reasonable adjustments that you can ask for. For example:

1. A Learning Support Assistant (LSA)

Your child might benefit from one-to-one support from a learning support assistant. This could be full-time or even just a few hours a week. An LSA can help to adapt work according to your child’s needs and look after their physical, social, and emotional welfare.

2. Communication Aids

Communication aids are essential for children with autism who struggle with speech, language and understanding. From Picture Exchange Boards (PECS) to visual aids to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, these tools are adjustments that should be made to support your child’s well-being and learning.

3. A quiet space

Some children with autism need a safe, quiet space when they feel overwhelmed or overstimulated. A quiet space could be a sensory room, a quiet space in the school or even a sensory tent in the classroom.

4. Sensory support aids

Depending on your child’s sensory needs, they might benefit from certain sensory aids to help them to feel less anxious and overwhelmed. For example, ear defenders if your child finds classrooms too noisy or a wobble cushion if they struggle to stay focused and comfortable sitting down.

5. Adjusting school policies

School policies should be flexible to support your child’s needs. For example, if they find the uniform uncomfortable because of sensory needs, there should be some flexibility in what they can wear, at SpecialKids.Company we also have a wide range of sensory clothing that may be suitable. Or perhaps they find starting and finishing school at the same time as everyone else overwhelming because of the busy nature of these times of day. Your school could offer a flexible start and finish time to prevent this, perhaps them starting and finishing school 10 minutes earlier or later than others.

6. Reading and writing aids

If your child requires reading or writing aids, for example pencil and pen grips, then these are a reasonable adjustment. An Occupational Therapist can help to determine which aids might work best for your child.

Above are just some reasonable adjustments and aren't an extensive list, the adjustments available to you will be dependent on your child's needs.

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