At Oakfield Park School we endeavour to ensure the following key principles underpin our practice, enabling us to provide the best possible education for our students with autism.
The Learning Environment
Research and experience show us that having autism has a profound effect on a student’s ability to learn. Sensory difficulties can result in unusual or uncomfortable perception of sound, sight, smell, touch and taste, and make it difficult for students to focus on the learning priorities as other stimuli pose a considerable distraction. Therefore, we aim to provide an environment which reflects the SPELL framework (Structure, Positive approaches and expectations, Empathy Low arousal and Links) is quiet, calm and has a low level of distracting visual, auditory or sensory stimuli. Students have access to separate working areas within their classroom environment. Read more by clicking the link below:
In order to ensure that students with autism can access the curriculum, the school uses a variety of approaches and resources. Monitoring and evaluation of approaches is continuous and the school favours an ‘eclectic’ model which draws on best practice from a range of interventions.
Our staff are trained in the TEACCH. TEACCH stands for 'Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-Handicapped Children.' TEACCH approach benefit of: use of symbols and visual references to help students understand what is happening and what is going to happen next through a non-auditory means of communication; use of social stories to help students understand social expectations, conventions, and the thoughts and feelings of others. All of these, supported by an appreciation of the need for a highly structured daily routine which the students can predict, help to alleviate anxiety and enable our students to both enjoy and learn. Read more about TEACCH approach by clicking link below:
We also run daily morning SPARC (Sustained Physical Activity for Relaxation and Calmness) which supports the successful transition from school to home. We believe the exercise reduces anxiety and stress which can reduce challenging behaviour and create feelings of well-being. SPARC also focuses on communicative interactions. Supports the understanding that they can influence the behaviour of others and develops social rapport and a sense of mutual enjoyment.
The aspirational goal for all students is to become confident and competent communicators so that they are able to actively participate in social activities. Students who are able to communicate effectively are have access to increased opportunities for play and learning and are able to participate more fully in enjoyable social relationships. We have a bespoke Curriculum Strand SEB (Social, Emotional & Behaviour) which teaches the following;
• Understanding intentions
• Expressing preferences, needs and emotions
• Sharing ideas and playing with others
• Communicating for a variety of purposes
• Initiating interactions
• Imaginative play
• Relating to peers
• Understanding routines and expectations