Making Reasonable Adjustments
Our neutral venue visits all take place at M6 Theatre. The theatre is such an integral place to Rochdale that many people just refer to it as ‘M6’. And this is fine. No problem… unless you are working with a child that takes things literally. After all, you might fancy a day at the theatre while a day spent on the motorway sounds a little more confusing.
Our starting point was to meet with the (award winning) LA lead for autism and social communication, Julie Dalton. Julie was great. She recognised our drive to improve provision and appreciated that we needed advice to get it right. She listened carefully to what is involved in Linking and helped to identify pressure points.
To meet the needs of children at these key points Julie suggested that we developed ‘social stories’.
Our social stories were written by Karen Riding, an ASD teacher from Julie’s team. Each social story describes a context or a concept involved in the Linking process. Each social story can also be adapted to suit an individual child, following consultation with the parent or caregiver.
We also produced a guided tour of M6 Theatre. It gives children a chance to see where the coach arrives, which doors they might come in through, what the toilets look like, where packed lunches are stored and much more. Julie helped us to identify what needed to be included. I guess it isn’t much like you would expect a guided tour to look like. It doesn’t sell the theatre. It sells reassurance.
This is our first year where we have put these reasonable adjustments in place. It is also the first year where no child has had to return to school part way through the neutral venue visit. As one child said, ‘I like the film Miss. I’m glad we aren’t on the motorway.’
You can find out more about social stories in general at https://carolgraysocialstories.com/social-stories/
To access downloadable Social Stories specifically written to support pupils on the Schools Linking Programme please click here https://thelinkingnetwork.org.uk/resources/autism-friendly-resources-for-linking/
Five Social Stories for available for Schools Linking
To help meet the needs of children and young people at different points during the Linking journey there are ‘social stories‘ provided. The stories are written by Karen Riding, an ASD teacher who specialises in autism and social communication.
Each social story describes a context or a concept involved in the Linking process-
· Introducing myself
· Sending my picture
· Meeting new children
· Visiting a different school
· Children from a different school coming to visit me