Being placed on the Autistic Spectrum can be a very vague term, as so many different diagnoses fall within the term. Gaining an understanding of the many different tenets of autism is an essential developmental requirement for educators, who encounter such a heterogeneous mix of individuals on a daily basis. To be able to support pupils who are within the autistic spectrum, it is beneficial to try to see the world from their viewpoint, and this Little Book of the Autistic Spectrum helps you develop a lens, understanding social interactions; communication; thoughts and feelings; routines and special interests; change; sensory experiences; and seeing the bigger picture.
The author of the book, Dr Samantha Todd, defines the autistic spectrum for individuals who display significant difficulties in two areas: social interaction and communication; and social imagination, along with restricted, repetitive behaviour and interests. This has been broadened in modern times to include Asperger syndrome and various other developmental disorders. Dr Todd points out that autism affects more boys than girls, and there is no evidence relating autism to poor parenting or the MMR vaccination which caused a media hype in the 1990s. The book explores the stages of diagnosis of autism, but also offers a different perspective on autism – Neurodiversity. This perspective encourages a more positive self-image or identity for the individual, embracing the differences of autism, whilst providing advice and support for managing the challenges of a largely neurotypical world.
Beneficially, this book shares tips on adapting teaching to suit pupils on the autistic spectrum; talking to other pupils about the challenges faced; considering progress monitoring; as well as understanding trigger points which can cause anxiety or distress to individuals as they travel through the challenges the school day throws up.
This is a vital book for all trainee teachers, NQT’s, teaching assistants, teachers SENCO’s and school leaders in helping develop an autistic lens, helping to support and understand life from the perspective of individuals who continue to live with the challenge of this label, and the implications this has on them. Easily accessible, the considerations within this book should be a focused requirement during teacher training, helping teachers develop an understanding of individuals they are likely to encounter whilst teaching.