SPELL - The National Autistic Society’s Framework
The approaches used at Spring Common Academy draw on the understanding of autism described above. We also subscribe to the National Autistic Society (NAS) SPELL framework, which is designed to provide a mnemonic of five key areas of support that evidence shows are effective in scaffolding support for learning for children and young people with ASC.
SPELL is an acronym for:
S - STRUCTURE
Structure is fundamental in supporting our students with ASC to make sense of what can be a very confusing and potentially overwhelming world. Structure takes many different forms, including consistency of staffing, predictability of routines, a physical environment that can be relied upon not change unexpectedly and adapted teaching techniques that pay attention to individual learning styles.
P - POSITIVE ATTITUDES AND EXPECTATIONS
At Spring Common we have robust systems for monitoring the progress of our students in their academic and social development. We have high expectations of all of our students based on their current functioning and rates of progress in the past. We are a learning environment that continually evaluates new methodologies and implements those where we are able to evidence benefits for our students.
E - EMPATHY
Through careful observation of our young people, respectful discussions about them and liaison with parents and carers we seek to understand the experience of our students better and adapt ourselves to meet their needs.
L - LOW AROUSAL
At Spring Common we are fortunate in having a range of therapeutic base rooms and specialist classrooms in which we can provide our students with an environment that matches their sensory needs. We understand that for many young people with ASC this means a lower stimulation environment than is ideal for other learners. Many classrooms are zoned to provide lower stimulation areas for children with ASC. Our ASC bases in the upper and lower schools are designed to be distraction and clutter free environments conducive to learning for children with ASC who may, at times, find their class environment over-stimulating.
L - LINKS
We value enormously our links with parents, recognising that close communication is vital in ensuring consistency of approach for and understanding the daily experience of a young person who may not be able to communicate verbally. We are fortunate at Spring Common in having very close relationships with health and education support professionals. We try to make best use of these professionals in problem solving around individual pupil programmes as well as supporting the professional development of our staff.