Joint statement regarding the education of our son

We the parents of xxxxxxxxxxx, subscribe to the following philosophy regarding autism and the education of our son.

We seek to provide xxxxxxx with an education that will prepare and enable him to take his place in society when he is an adult. We believe that we live in a lifelong learning environment and we hope to encourage xxxxxxx to take every opportunity to learn that presents itself to him. This must however be in a way that is meaningful to him.

xxxxxxx has a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. We believe that we can help xxxxxxx to reach his full potential by using a style of education that fits in with his specific and complex needs. Autism effects every one of the senses and we can help to meet his sensory needs at home in a way that is simply not possible within a school setting.

Autism creates a literal reality, which brings its own set of literal rules. This happens because the autistic mind absorbs information in a literal way. At times, the absorbed literal information is misinterpreted. As a consequence the individual behaves and/or talks in an inappropriate way. We have noted that during the times when xxxxxxx experiences reality in a literal way he has no means to judge his behaviour or language as appropriate or inappropriate. Also, during early years of development the literal mind encounters great difficulties regarding the development of reasoning skills. xxxxxxxx current reasoning skills are, we consider, to be about 80% literal. Lack of effective reasoning skills prevents the development of flexibility. Without flexibility of action and thought meaningful social interaction is difficult and at times impossible. A literal mind learns effortlessly when taught in a literal way. An individual who experiences a literal reality can learn to develop flexibility of action and thought after his comprehension of language and body language is in line with those who are not affected by a literal processing style.


Our aim is to teach xxxxxxx shared meanings to the literal language and the literal social behaviours, which he has learned and continues to learn unaided.

We would like him to be able to live independently at home and in society at large. Independence and social inclusion can only happen for xxxxxxx after he:

· Masters a large vocabulary of meaningful language - comprehension;
· Social behaviour - comprehension;
· Reasoning skills - cognition and
· Flexibility of thought and action - cognition.

Although we cannot change xxxxxxxx sensory system, in our home environment we can make allowances for his sensitivity to loud sounds and visual stimuli. A school environment cannot. It is simply not possible for a class of 30 children to be quiet while Matthew processes his thoughts, makes sense of them, and then feeds back his interpretation to his teacher in a way that is meaningful to both of them.

* We are well aware that we cannot cure xxxxxxxx autism and we are equally aware that xxxxxxx can learn to adapt to our non-literal world if he receives appropriate education designed to meet his individual educational and sensory needs.


We are addressing xxxxxxxxx educational needs during socially interactive, one-on-one sessions, when we have his undivided attention.

Taking into account xxxxxxxxx literal and visual learning style we are interacting with him in a literal way. By this we mean: We talk and behave in a literal way. We are giving him the one on one attention that he needs. We are giving him extended explanations when he needs them. We are allowing him to process new information at his own pace. We then encourage xxxxxxx to feed back his newly learnt information, so that we can be sure we have achieved a shared meaning and understanding of what we are teaching him. xxxxxxx also learns better by experience so we spend much of our time using a ' visual and hands on style of learning', which both suits and satisfies xxxxxxx and meets his need to experience or see something before he is able to fully understand it.

Social Inclusion

1. We believe that inclusion is an emotional process. By this we mean that an individual feels included. Inclusion is not a physical act that we can do to someone/ enforce upon someone. 2. Equally we are providing xxxxxxx with ample opportunities to practice his newly developing social skills. This happens at the Areodyne Trampoline Club - where he now competes and as a member of the Not Quite Famous Theatre Group where he is learning the importance of being a team player. xxxxxxx also attends our local Community Centre where he joins in many and various activities with other children including those in his peer group.

Under our supervision he can interact with others and we can intervene when the social interaction moves towards an 'unsafe' direction that xxxxxxx is unable to cope with any longer.

The role of an educator is, we feel, to facilitate a child's own learning process, to provide resources and opportunities and to gradually lead the child to a fuller and meaningful understanding of the world and society around them. This can only be achieved for xxxxxxx in a learning environment that is continually geared to meet his needs therefore enabling him to expand on his learning abilities. It is our intention to provide xxxxxxx with such an environment.