Mission Statement Overview
The Social and Communications Base was set up in 2008 to offer a positive, relaxed and safe learning environment, in which pupils who have ASC and other complex conditions are valued individually and are given learning opportunities centred upon them as individuals.
The ability to communicate is a key life skill for all people and underpins a pupil’s social, emotional and educational development. With this in mind, the Soc-Com Base will cater for autism and other social conditions of our pupils, whilst aiming to help them to develop individual strategies to participate in society more fully. Within the Base, staff will employ suitable autism-specific teaching methods to accommodate for the individual needs of our pupils. The basis of staff instruction remains positive and flexible, maintaining high expectations within a calm, respectful atmosphere.
We will seek to encourage independence in the pupils, encouraging opportunities for their integration within the wider community. The National Curriculum aims to foster successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. Social and Communicative skills underpin achievement in all of these areas
As staff working in the facility, we will endeavor professionally to help transform understanding of autism within the school and the wider community. We will disseminate information about theory, practice, and research on autism, so that our own practice might be continually informed and improved, as well as assisting understanding within the wider school environment.A secondary aim of such dissemination and pupil community-integration, is the goal that ASC pupils be further respected by a more knowledgeable and informed public.
We will consider each pupil individually, demonstrating an awareness of the autism spectrum (of Neuro-diversity) in identifying their social needs and strengths; this understanding informing the personalised learning plans, assessments and individual reviews.Our educational approach will be constantly informed and adapted byan understanding of ASC theories, such as the ‘Triad of Impairment’Social Skills groups should be a mix of AS and PNT- so that AS can learn on their own terms- the progress has to be meaningful and not false.
In line with the ‘European Charter for Persons with Autism’, (as presented at the 4th Autism-Europe Congress, The Hague, 10 May 1992), we desire to support the following key objectives stated therein-
“Point 1. The right of people with autism to live independent and full lives to the limit of their potential.
Point 6. The right of people with autism to the assistance, equipment and support services necessary to live a fully productive life with dignity and independence.
Point 11. The right of people with autism to accessible transport and freedom of movement.
Point 12. The right of people with autism to participate in and benefit from culture, entertainment, recreation and sport.
Point 13. The right of people with autism of equal access to and use of all facilities, services and activities in the community.”
The service offered by the Social & Communications Base will also seek to meet the overarching goal stated in the same charter-
“People with autism should share the same rights and privileges enjoyed by all of the European population where such are appropriate and in the best interests of the person with autism.”
Our aim is to also provide for students with social and emotional difficulties, giving them a strong sense of dignity, self-esteem, and respect, both for themselves and for others. We wish to help the students become aware of their own strengths and to provide them with strategies and support, to enable them to succeed and play a part in their community and wider society. We wish to help improve the communicative and practical social strengths of the pupils so that they might better perceive and positively affect the world around them.
AUTISM + ENVIRONMENT = PROBLEM’
(Luke Beardon N.A.S)
With this thought in mind, we try to create an environment that is flexible to the needs of the individual with autism.
On occasion within the small groups, key mentoring roles are assigned to older pupils, so that they can help support the younger pupils. They are encouraged to act as role models and guides. This program has been recently introduced and has already seen great success.
All of the pupils experience group work, as this is a natural context for social development. Roles and shared responsibilities are encouraged. being involved in deciding which activities are undertaken, finding out information the group activity and practising skills in the company of others, all help to encourage motivation and investment in the success of the group and may be a source of self-esteem.
Small, carefully chosen groups are arranged around our ASC pupils. The focus within each small group is on improving social and emotional understanding, conversation skills and friendship skills.
A wide range of activities is offered and experienced, examples being role play, craft activities, gardening, exploring the local area, making videos, joining the library and even discovering the delights of the Ikea and how to follow their picture assembly instructions! The ‘garden therapy’ project has been a great success, with some pupils growing, harvesting, cooking and selling their produce. The garden has proved to be another safe, calm, social place for our groups to enjoy .
A ‘ Life Skills ‘ package is in place for Year 11 pupils, where they can focus on their particular needs through a mini-program created for them. The year 11’s requests have been varied and often surprising; one example, which many of our ASC pupils struggle with, has been how to cope with a fast food outlet. These pupils said they found such places ‘too noisy, too busy and everything is too fast’! They wanted help with this, as their friends went to these places and they wanted to go too.