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Autism in Schools Team

Our team works with children and young people aged 4 to 16 with a diagnosis of autism who are on roll at a school in Cornwall.

Our vision is that: 

  • Cornwall supports autistic children and young people to achieve positive outcomes.
  • We inspire, challenge and advise our partners to find shared solutions.
  • Children, young people and their families can access services which meet their needs.

Most of our work promotes the inclusion of autistic young people in an educational setting. This is done through work in both the home and at school. Professionals within the Autism Team will:

  • Support multi-agency working
  • Promote a joint problem-solving approach
  • Promote interventions that are evidence-based

The Autism in Schools Team (AST) consists of:

  • Five Autism Advisors
  • A highly-specialist Speech and Language Therapist
  • Eight autism workers and senior autism workers

The team is line-managed by a Senior Educational Psychologist. 

We are a neurodiverse team with a mixture of professional experience, academic experience and lived experience. We are all passionate about supporting autistic children in Cornwall’s schools. We will always try to work in a neuro-affirming way – this means we will support and champion autistic strengths and differences, rather than trying to change autistic ways of being. This often involves recommendations about changes to the environment, teaching styles and strategies, behaviour policies, etc. We strongly believe these wider changes have a positive impact on our autistic children and others.

Goals should always be child-centred and linked to things that are important to the child. We will not set goals that encourage masking (trying to appear ‘less autistic’ in order to fit in) as there is growing evidence that masking has significant long-term negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing.

We use identity-first language as standard (‘autistic person’ rather than ‘person with autism’) as research shows this is preferred by the majority of autistic people. If we are writing about you (e.g. in a report) and you would prefer something different, just let us know and we will happily use your preferences.

As well as casework to support individual children, we also work across whole schools, MATs and other non-school-based teams in Cornwall. This includes:

  • Annual Autism Champions training, with follow-up mentoring sessions and a new Community of Practice for existing Autism Champions – this empowers schools to support autistic and neurodivergent children in their school community.
  • Training for schools and for other teams (including free Autism Awareness training for primary schools) – please contact us to discuss your training needs. We offer training on a wide range of topics and can create bespoke training to suit your needs.
  • Parent cafes – working alongside school staff to support parents and carers.
  • Teacher surgeries – discussing tricky situations anonymously without the need for a full referral.
  • Group work with groups of children or young people on a range of topics e.g. preparing for secondary school, developing independence skills / preparing for adulthood, exploring autistic identity.
  • The ‘Overcoming your child’s fears and worries’ intervention – this is a CBT-based programme for parents and carers. Our highly skilled workers will adapt this to your individual circumstances and your child’s specific needs. Please see the additional leaflet for more information
  • Autism information sessions for parents and carers – please see the section below for more information and a sign-up form to express your interest in attending.

Please note, because of the way the team is funded, we can only accept casework requests from schools in Cornwall. If you are a professional in another service, e.g. a social worker, youth worker, etc. and you would like to commission some traded work, please contact us on . If you are a parent, please talk to your child’s SENCO about making a referral to the team. We can work with children who are on roll at a school but not attending (e.g. due to anxiety) if they would like support to return to school.

Children being referred for casework must have a diagnosis of autism. Depending on team capacity, we may be able to offer some limited casework with children who are felt to be autistic but do not yet have a diagnosis as traded work. Please contact us on to discuss this.

If your schools is part of a MAT which has an SLA with the team (currently Kernow Learning and Aspire) you may have a different referral process – please talk to your MAT SEN lead if you are unsure.

Download the Request for Involvement Form

These sessions are for parents and carers of autistic children and young people. They are group-based and offer plenty of opportunity for discussion with other parents. We are not here to tell you how to parent your child – we acknowledge that you are the expert on your child, however raising an autistic child in a neurotypical world can be challenging and we would like to help you to navigate this. We always aim to work in a neuroaffirming way, viewing autism as a different way of experiencing and processing the world rather than a disorder or a problem that needs fixing.

We run some specific sessions for parents of autistic children who also have significant communication and learning needs. If you feel these sessions would be more appropriate for you, please highlight this in the application form below.

If you have any access requirements, please let us know and we will do what we can to make the sessions accessible for you.

Please note these sessions are for parents/carers and are not designed for children or young people to attend. Please make alternative arrangements for your children during the sessions if they are not in school.

The sessions are delivered in 3 sections:

  1. An introduction to autism
  2. Workshops about different aspects of autistic life, for example:
    • Puberty and adolescence
    • Masking
    • Sleep
    • Challenges with eating
    • Anxiety and emotional wellbeing
    • Sensory processing
    • Communication and visuals
    • Executive functioning
    • Friendships and relationships
  3. Individualised support – this might be further small-group workshops, or one-to-one consultation sessions with a member of the autism team to discuss any specific questions or challenges you may be experiencing.

Register your interest in attending our information sessions

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