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Autism

As we have a number of children with autism in our school community, we thought it might be helpful for parents to learn a little more about what the diagnosis means.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person perceives the world and interacts with other people. It is a spectrum condition, so that although all autistic people will share certain difficulties, being autistic will affect them in different ways. Children with autism may find communicating with other adults or their peers difficult, and may struggle to make friendships. They may also suffer from sensory overload: schools are busy places and the noise and general bustle makes the school environment seem overwhelming for some children. However, as the saying goes, ‘once you have met one person with autism, you have met one person is autism’: everyone is different and has individual challenges to face.

Our autistic children will mostly learn alongside their classmates, sometimes with additional support in class. At other times, they will go out for small group work or 1:1 sessions. Most of them will not be aware of their diagnosis: this is a personal choice for parents and they will decide when the time is right to broach the subject. Likewise, classmates will mostly be unaware, although over the years, the children tend to have develop an understanding of difference among themselves, even without a specific label for it.

If you have any questions about autism, including about your own child or one of their classmates, please don’t hesitate to contact me: rlewis@highgate-pri.haringey.sch.uk.