To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase understanding among teachers and support staff of the pathological demand avoidance behaviour profile of students with autism spectrum disorders.
Schools are responsible for the continuing professional development of staff who support children and young people with special educational needs or a disability, including those who are on the autism spectrum and/or exhibit a pathological demand avoidance behaviour profile.
The department has funded the Autism Education Trust (AET) since 2011 to deliver autism awareness training to education staff in early years, schools and further education settings. So far it has reached more than 207,000 people – not just teachers and teaching assistants, but also support staff such as receptionists, dining hall staff and caretakers, encouraging a ‘whole school’ approach to supporting pupils with autism. The AET also provides resources for teachers, including a competency framework, a progression framework for assessing children and young people with autism, and a set of standards to help them evaluate their practice in addressing the needs of children and young people with autism.
In addition, the framework for Initial Teacher Training content (published in July 2016), includes specific content on special educational need and autism and the National Association for Special Educational Needs ‘SEND Gateway’ provides access to a range of free, quality assured resources and training materials for schools, including on autism. The SEND Gateway is available here: https://www.sendgateway.org.uk/.