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Contact: Specialist Teaching Service
Telephone: 0116 3059400

Autism Outreach Service (AOS)

What we do?

The Autism Outreach Service (AOS) is part of Leicestershire CYPS's Specialist Teaching Services. The Service offers advice and support to early years settings, schools and families in relation to meeting the special educational needs of children on the autism spectrum.
It operates in three sectors:
  • ·Early Years
  • ·School
  • ·Intensive Support
The AOS works in an advisory role and seeks to support school improvement in the area of autism. It does this through the provision of training, consultation and advice to the adults working directly with children on the autism spectrum.
The AOS may sometimes undertake direct work with children, but this will always be with a view towards informing planning or modelling practical approaches that the school or setting can adopt.

Who is it for?

The AOS works with children who have been identified as having an autistic spectrum disorder by suitably qualified professionals. A diagnosis of an autistic spectrum difficulty does not lead to the automatic involvement of the AOS.
The AOS works right across the ability range, supporting children in mainstream and special education placements with some consultative work to autism specific settings.
The Service undertakes work with children of all ages and abilities:
·Early years work is undertaken by two full time teachers with the support of three practitioners.
·LA maintained schools are supported by 6.2 FTE teachers and a practitioner.
·One teacher co-ordinates Intensive Support programmes for children who find attendance at school too challenging, with a view to returning them to full time school attendance. This work is supported by 2 practitioners.
·Three teachers are deployed at the Newbold Verdon Primary School Autism Classes.

How do I access this?

In response to an increase in the number of children identified as being on the autism spectrum careful consideration has been given to the way in which the Service works and how, working within allocated resources, the most effective input and assistance may be provided to children, families and schools.
The Psychology Service makes recommendations for involvement, but schools can also request short-term work to clarify the educational needs of children identified as being on the autism spectrum.

How do I get an assessment for my child?

Identifying children on the autism spectrum can be a challenging task for parents and professionals. This is because autism is a developmental disorder and sometimes only becomes evident as a child gets older.
In Leicestershire a Diagnostic Pathway has been agreed between health and education professionals and parent-group representatives:
Diagnosis and Identification of ASD - A Guide for Parents and Carers (PDF, 0.1MB)
This document notes that parents may have concerns about a child’s development themselves, or they may be raised by a health visitor, speech and language therapist or a member of staff in the early years setting or school that the child attends. Professionals will not share concerns without parental permission.
If parents have concerns and need advice they can approach their GP or, if the child is at school, discuss matters with the class teacher and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). With permission, GPs and schools can share concerns with health professionals or the Psychology Service to start the assessment, if appropriate.
The pathway indicates that at least two appropriate professionals have to be involved in reaching a decision about whether a child is on the autism spectrum and that they should draw on information from parents and from other professionals involved with the child.


What schooling arrangements are in place for children on the autism spectrum in Leicestershire?
Please see our guide:
Children on the Autism Spectrum: Meeting their needs in Leicestershire Schools - A Guide for Parents and Carers (PDF, 0.2MB)
Which school should I choose for my child?
When choosing a school for your child it is important to visit and to talk to the staff about your child. It is most probable that your local mainstream school will be the best option. This will give your child the opportunity to learn and develop in your locality and to meet the children who live around and about your home. All Leicestershire schools are expected to have an understanding of the needs of children on the autism spectrum and have the opportunity to call on the advice and support of expertise within the Local Authority.
To help you remember the things you want to know it is a good idea to write a few notes. How many children in each class? How are children with special educational needs, such as autism, are supported in school?
Has the school had any experience or training of working with children with similar needs to your child? What arrangements could be put in place to support lunch and break times, if necessary? How might the school support a transition plan from home, a current school or an early years setting so that your child can be as prepared as possible from the start? Describe your child and be open about his or her difficulties.
When speaking to staff and looking around the school, have in mind how you think your child will manage the everyday routines, the expectations that staff may have and how they would be able to offer support if things go wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is a good idea, to take notes, particularly if you intend to visit more than one school. This will help you to think about the pros and cons after your visit.
At the end of the day it is important that parents and school are able to work together in an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation to support a child’s social and educational development.
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  • ·Specialist Teaching Service
  • ·Telephone: 0116 305 9400
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Page Last Updated: 21 July 2014