Based on pioneering work at their school in Sheffield, the authors of this book explore the universal issues of access and inclusion in employment and education for children and young people with autism or Asperger's Syndrome. They describe the challenges they faced in establishing and running an Integrated Resource for these children within a mainstream secondary school. The twenty-four pupils at The Resource participate in the regular school curriculum, but also learn a wide range of additional life skills. These include road safety, work-place skills and using public transport as well as expressing feelings, making choices and learning from experience. One innovative area of work at The Resource is the work placement scheme which has given pupils the opportunity to work with local companies including a supermarket and an insurance firm. In addition to this, The Resource has established a partnership with a further education college to enable their pupils to gain further support after they leave school. These projects demonstrate the encouraging possibilities in employment and the wider world for young people on the autistic spectrum.
The experiences of these special pupils and their peers and teachers provide lessons as well as messages of hope and understanding for parents and professionals within the field of autism. The authors make useful, practical suggestions for access and inclusion, showing how those with autism or Asperger's Syndrome can participate fully in the world of work and the community.
Matthew Hesmondhalgh worked in three special schools in South Yorkshire, before becoming teacher in charge and project leader for The Resource at King Ecgbert School in 1994. He has a degree in Politics and Sociology, a PGCE in Special Needs and a Diploma in Special Needs. Christine Breakey qualified and worked for ten years as a Social Worker before studying for a degree in Communication Studies. She has worked as a Further Education lecturer and a Special Support Assistant and is now the Post Sixteen Support Co-ordinator for students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders at The Sheffield College. She has an MA in the Education of Children and Young People with Autism.
Foreword. Introduction. 1. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. 2. The key players. 3. Parents, paperwork and pressure. 4. Counselling. 5. The National Curriculum? Not quite. 6. Integration into work. 7. Our charity - the chase for cash. 8. Post-16 - the first year. 9. Andrew's story. 10. The final chapter? References.