Autism Spectrum Team

Autism Spectrum Team


 Hello everyone!

The Autism Spectrum team now have a facebook page! The team will be posting details of support and training as well as other information which would be interesting for professionals working alongside children and young people with a diagnosis of autism. 


How the Autism Team becomes involved with children and settings


Who do we work with?

We work with pupils and staff in local mainstream settings and schools.

In order to access the service children must have a formal diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.  If you need clarification on this then please contact a member of the team on: 01274 439500.

Please note:-

We offer advice and support for other children who have communication and interaction difficulties via our Early Years and Primary drop-in sessions which are in our Hub schools (see below).  Secondary school pupils can be referred to the member of staff from the team who works with your school following consultation with your link teacher.

How do we work with settings?

A copy of the child’s diagnosis will be copied into the AS Team (subject to parental consent to share the information).  The child’s name will then be entered onto the Team’s allocation list for discussion at our monthly allocation meeting.

A member of the team will contact the child’s school or setting following this meeting and will ask that the documents listed below are completed.  It is important that these are completed by someone who knows the child well and who is responsible for planning the child’s provision

Wellbeing profile

The Wellbeing profile has been designed to look carefully at the skills that a young person needs to promote good mental health and wellbeing. There are 3 versions of the profile, early years, primary and secondary which are broadly similar in terms of assessment questions but which have different examples.

  There is also a version for young people (Upper Key Stage Two and Secondary pupils) to complete themselves with explanatory notes. It is designed to be used by the young person but supported by a trusted adult.

Please read the advice document before completing the Wellbeing Profile

Please return these documents to the member of staff that visits your setting or

Sarah Gates, Autism Spectrum Team,

Floor 7, Margaret  McMillan Towers,

Princes Way.  BD1 1NN.




Thanks to the continuing support of our wonderful Hub schools, we will continue to run our Hub sessions on a regular basis throughout the city. We are always happy to meet friends, old and new, at these sessions.

The Hubs run on an appointment basis. To make an appointment please phone 01274 439500 or email:

Following your visit to a Hub you may be asked to make a re-referral to the team.  To do this please complete this spotlight referral and return to the address above.

We look forward to seeing you. 

Autism Hub dates 2016/17. Please click on the link.

The Hub dates are as follows:

Hubs – 1.30pm – 4pm (by appointment)


*Peel Park Early Year hubs check times specifically. Nov, March and July are 3-5.30pm


Contact AS Team on 01274 439500

email – to book an appointment




Like the page to stay informed.

Click on the headings below to start viewing the materials.



Supporting children on the Autism Spectrum to achieve



Key Information for SENCOs 

This section is under construction, please check back later for information                      


Ten top tips for Quality First Teaching


 Early Years/Primary checklist

Secondary checklist


Supporting students in Mainstream Schools




Creating a positive learning environment

Individuals who are on the autism spectrum are particularly in need of sympathetic learning environments.  Too much information and sensory overload are very real problems and each person will have their own set of particular needs, which will become clearer as adults become more familiar with the child. 

A structured room should have clear boundaries and individuals should be taught that certain activities occur in certain places, and what is expected of them in those places.  Expectations should be made clear and should be consistent. 

The following resources can be used to create an ordered primary or secondary school learning environment.

 Read more about the learning environment

The TEACCH approach (The Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication handicapped Children.)

The Autism Spectrum Team promotes using certain principles of TEACCH to structure teaching activities.  The main purpose of Structured Teaching is to increase the independence and manage the anxieties of people with an ASC through teaching that the environment has meaning.

There are 3 main components to the TEACCH approach.
* Physical Structure.
* The use of schedules or timetables.
* The use of work systems.

Underpinning all of the above is the consideration where possible of visual information over verbal.



Early Years and Primary

Physical Structure


Physical Structure
* Makes the area clear, manageable and constant.
* Once familiar with layout, independence increases.
* Amount of physical structure can vary depending on the child’s needs

Physical structure includes:
* Marking boundaries.
* Highlighting specific areas of classroom
* Having specific areas to sit at table, on carpet etc
* Tables defined for activities.
* Label areas, resources, functions.
* Use of ‘office’ desk or screens.
* Finished work trays.



The Use of Schedules
* Increase understanding.
* Provide concrete information about what is going to happen.
* Increase independence and helps manage transitions.
* Helps develop choice making.

Schedules include:
* First… Then…
* Object of reference timetables
* Visual  timetables
* Steps within a skill
* 'What am I doing?' list
* Written timetable

* Using Schedules

Work Systems


Work Systems
* Help the pupil carry out their work in an organised and sequential way.
* Communicate to the pupil
1. What work do I have to do?
2. How much work is there?
3. How do I know I have finished?
4. What do I do next?
* All follow a TOP to BOTTOM and/or a LEFT to RIGHT systematic approach and include the concept of ‘finished’.

Work systems include:
* Left to Right task completion
* Colour coding
* Collecting equipment.

* Task list and motivators
* Using Motivators


The following are suggestions for using visual information to support verbal requests.

Visual timetables and schedules will form the core support for many children but they may need additional visual support to explain abstract ideas such as time, emotions, recalling events and preparing for what is about to happen.

Visual prompts can also help pupils express when they are experiencing sensory overload or assist them to modify their behaviour



* How to help me learn
* Time
* Noise
* Emotions and feelings
* People 
* Food
* Journeys and visits
* Recalling Information 

*Mind maps

Social Narrative.

Social Narrative helps to describe what people do and why they do it. Theydescribe what common responses are expected in a given certain situation

* Social Narrative

* Comic Strip Narrative

De-escalation, relaxation and Mindful excercises.


* De- escalation

* De-escalation

* Relaxation and Mindful

* Fidget toys

 Extra Material

The Symbols Inclusion Project (SIP) is a collaboration between Widgit Software and Warwickshire IDS (Integrated Disability Service) on the use of symbols to support inclusion and curriculum access.

Click on the document, right, to view a free to download booklet produced by the project.

For more information about the project, click on the link below:






Physical Structure


Physical Structure
* Makes the area clear, manageable and constant.
* Once familiar with layout, independence increases.
* Amount of physical structure can vary depending on the student’s needs

Physical structure includes:
* Classroom Seating - social
* Classroom Seating - environmental
* Transitions around the school
* Chill out zones
* Lunchtime routine
* Break time
* Transport and Travel



The Use of Schedules
* Increase understanding.
* Provide concrete information about what is going to happen.
* Increase independence and helps manage transitions.
* Helps develop choice making.

Schedules include:
* Timetables and planners
* 'What am I doing?' list
Preparing students to work with different people
* Ways to help students manage journeys and visits
* Home school communication systems

Work Systems


Work Systems
* Help the pupil carry out their work in an organised and sequential way.
* Communicate four pieces of information:
     - What work do I have to do?
     - How much work do I have to do?
     - How do I know I am making progress/have                        finished?
     - What do I do next?

Work systems help students to engage with tasks. They may include:
* Using colour coding to promote independent working.
* Using Microsoft Word to record and express ideas.
* Breaking tasks down using lists and charts.
* Adapting lessons - 8 ways to change what you do. For subject specific advice see: Strategies for accessing the curriculum KS3 & 4
* Supporting students to recall information
* Explaining time limits for tasks
* Coping with noise
* Managing emotions and feelings in lessons
* Motivating appropriate behaviour







Transition is the process of changing from one place or activity, to another.




Transition can produce feelings of anxiety within any pupil, but for the pupil on the autism spectrum they are particularly significant and often result in feelings of uncertainty, confusion and even fear. The following primary and secondary resources are intended to reduce anxiety and make transitions between settings smooth. For more information about transition between activities and learning areas within the school environment, see the sections on Creating a Positive Learning Environment and Communication. These sections are under construction at present.


Read more about transition


For additional information or guidance on how to use the following resources, please contact a member of the Autism Spectrum Team at Bradford Children's Services.




Resources and Guidance

Early Years and Primary

This Is Me 

A booklet using pictures or photographs to help staff learn about a child on the autism spectrum who is coming in to an Early Years or Key Stage 1 setting.


My New Class

A booklet using pictures or photographs taken during transition visits, to help the child learn about the new Early Years or Key Stage 1 setting they are going to.


Powerpoint Passport

An example of a powerpoint presentation which shows how staff can work with a child on the autism spectrum to prepare for transition to, or within, a primary setting.

Click here for the powerpoint template

Matthew’s Passport

A powerpoint example of a pupil passport useful for Key Stage 2 pupils moving to a new class.

Download from Autism Inclusion Development Programme

Pupil Passport

A web link to free, downloadable, gender specific ‘communication passports’ from ISPEEK.






1 Page Profile

An at a glance A4 information template to use for transferring information about a pupil within primary school








Arfur Moe

A transition booklet to help support the move from primary to secondary school. Reproduced with kind permission from OSSME autism initiative UK. For further details contact OSSME: 01519245656

Transition Checklist

A checklist to enable staff who work with Year 6 students to plan a schedule for successful transition to secondary school. To be completed in collaboration with the receiving school.

Planning for Transition

Information pages from the National Autistic Society website giving guidance for parents on the process of transition from primary to secondary school


Transition Toolkit

A link to a free to download 30 page guide from the Autism Education Trust summarising common issues relating to transition, as well as offering guidance, practical strategies and checklists across all ages.

This document includes a comprehensive checklist for parents on page 24.

Breaking Down Barriers to Learning

A link to a free to download booklet which gives practical strategies for achieving successful transition from primary to secondary school for students with Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Foundation Stage / Key Stage 1 Video Clip

How staff in one primary school managed transition for a child from Nursery into Reception



Secondary and Post 16


1 Sheet Passport

A template to help staff and students share information and agree and record successful strategies for learning. It can be used both on entry to secondary school and within school between year groups.

Transition Checklist

A checklist to enable staff to who will be working with Year 7 students to plan a schedule for successful transition in to secondary school. To be completed in collaboration with primary staff

Post 16 Transition

A document produced by the Autism Spectrum Team providing guidance to support the process of transition for students post 16

University and College links

A list of links to the student support and guidance pages from the websites of local universities and colleges. Useful for students, staff and parents.

Listen to Me

A document produced by Pauline Dempsey from the Autism Spectrum Team, which records pupils’ views about changes and transition in Bradford secondary schools

Transition Toolkit

A 30 page guide from the Autism Education Trust summarising common issues as well as offering guidance, practical strategies and checklists across all ages

We Can Dream

 A free to download document from the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities outlining ways of planning for the future for young people on the autism spectrum post 16

My Kind of a Future

A free to download workbook from the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities to help young people with learning disabilities prepare for the future






Who we are and how to access our service. 


Head, CCIL Service (Autism Spectrum Team):


 Carol Shiret


Early Years Lead:


Sarah Gates

Specialist Teachers:  



Jacqui Ballard


Mo Collins


Debbie Harris


Joanne Evans


Lucy Stead



Specialist Practitioners:



Pauline Dempsey


Shelley Donnison


Nigel Hunter


Sarah Jamieson


Mollie Shutt






Department of Children's Services
Autism Spectrum Team 
Margaret McMilan Tower

Tel: 01274 439500



Client Group

The AS Team provides support, advice and training to staff in mainstream schools and Pre-5 settings, to meet the needs of pupils who are on the autism spectrum. They provide support via a key worker system within secondary schools. This aims to upskill key staff in the school to meet the needs of children with social communication difficulties/autism. The AS Team also provides primary professional 'drop ins' at hub schools across Bradford and Airedale where staff working with young people with social communication difficulties/autism are able to get advice and support. 


Range of Services

Staff working with children referred to the AS Team will receive advice, support and training. Information showing how support is provided in  Pre-5, primary and secondary settings is available. .


The AS Team can accept referrals if the child has a medical diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition and:

Is resident in the Bradford District

Attends a mainsteam school/early years setting in the Bradford District. Children of statutory school age attending an independant school will need to have a statement of Special Educational Needs/EHCP.


The AS Team provides a service to children, schools and settings and provides information and support to parents and carers via telephone advice, website and the co-delivery of parent training programmes

        Services include:

Guidance relating to an individual child following observation and assessment of the child and how they are functioning within their setting

Liaison with other agencies involved with the child

Advice on strategies which promote the inclusion of children with an ASC

Support and training for individuals and for groups of staff

Specialist skills teaching appropriate to the needs of the individual child

Involvement in meetings, assessment, planning and review, in line with the SEN Code of Practice

Assessment and advice regarding access technology as appropriate

Advice regarding specialist resources

Opportunities for the individual child to meet and talk with a Specialist Teacher or Practitioner.


Access to Services

Following a medical diagnosis, individuals are referred to the AS Team in one of the following ways:


  • From a Joint Assessment Team who provide information showing a medical diagnosis after agreement is given by the parents/carers.
  • Schools via the Teaching Support Service Referral Form (TSSR).
  • Parents via a letter to the team which includes a copy of the medical diagnosis.
  • For Pre-5 children referrals may come from anyone involved with the child e.g. parent/carer, setting, clinician, health visitor etc. and must be accompanied by a copy of the medical diagnosis.
  • Children without a diagnosis can be discussed with the AS Team. This happens when staff from the setting attend a professional drop in at a hub school or via the key worker system in secondary school.


On acceptance of a referral the AS Team Leader will write to the parents/carers and the school. Parents/carers and schools will be told the name of the link specialist teacher who they can contact for information and advice. There will also be an opportunity for parents to meet and discuss results of any assessment. Every locality or group of schools have one or two named AS Specialist Teachers who will be available for support and training. The school will have the contact details for the teacher or parents can contact SEN Teaching Support Services directly on (01274) 439500


The SCERTS framework


The SCERTS framework for supporting the assessment and planning for children and young people with social communication needs/ autism

From September 2013 professionals and families living and working with children and young people with Autism (C&YP) have something new to add to their toolkit.

Professionals in Bradford have been researching for some years to find an autism specific assessment and planning tool that supports the National Curriculum and also provides assessment to support planning in areas C&YP with autism find difficult.

SCERTS looks at these areas, including specific learning and social skills. Autism professionals within Bradford felt that SCERTS would provide the additional information needed to be able to plan targets effectively and increase progress.

A number of schools and settings across the country are beginning to use SCERTS to support accurate assessment and effective progress.

Bradford launched this framework in the Autumn Term 2013 with a keynote conference from one of the founders of SCERTS, Emily Rubin, MS, CCC-SLP. Initially the focus was on specialist educational settings and advisory staff working in these settings, although interest did occur from some mainstream settings. Work to date has included setting up a SCERTS focus group for professionals intending to use this framework. Also attending are services supporting them, such as speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, teaching support services and early years advisory staff. Another conference is planned for Autumn 2014 where the focus will be to extend awareness of this framework into mainstream settings and into social care settings as well as services supporting these settings

What is SCERTS?

SCERTS is a framework to support assessment and planning for C&YP with autism. It targets key areas to be developed in order for C&YP to participate effectively in school, community and home life. There are 3 main components to the SCERTS framework

Social Communication is a key area to focus on in order to develop functional language and communication skills and support the building of relationships with others. Children are assessed as being at a social partner, language partner or conversational partner stage. Targets are then planned for development of skills to support progress and movement through the stages.

This is the SC of the SCERTS framework.

Emotional Regulation. C&YP with autism often have difficulties in recognising and coping with emotions, moving through changes and hence being ready to learn at home and at school.

Accurately assessing this area of emotional regulation is vital in order to understand where C&YP are in terms of coping with change, managing their sensory responses, being able to focus in class and other situations at home and at school.

Targets are then planned to support the development of skills in self-regulation as well as in understanding other people can be useful in coping with emotions and change (mutual regulation).

This is the ER of the SCERTS framework.

Transactional Supports are the ways in which we can structure the classroom, or other places where the child or young person learns and plays in order to support progress. It also supports the adults to know what they can do to support such as reducing language or allowing time to process information. Focusing on transactional supports creates a highly skilled workforce.

This is the TS of the SCERTS framework


How should it be implemented?

SCERTS will complement National Curriculum assessments and help children make progress in learning. SCERTS is best implemented as a joint plan with frontline professionals, advisory staff and the family all working together. Parents/carers are encouraged to express their views of the functional skills they feel their child needs in the various contexts in which they live and learn. Any challenging behaviours observed in the C&YP are seen as communication attempts and if needed plans are made to support a change to more appropriate methods of communication.


Future Plans

Our aim within Bradford is to have an expectation that, where children with autism are in educational settings, the SCERTS framework is used as part of the assessment and planning tools school and settings have available. SCERTS is still only in the early stages of development within Bradford but already we have had staff reporting good progress as a result of using this alongside the National Curriculum assessments.


Please contact Carol Shiret at:  if you need any further information or access the SCERTS website


Page owned by Carol Shiret, last updated on 27/04/2017. This page has been viewed 44,054 times.