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A council-run service to support autistic children/young people (or those with significant social communication barriers) thrive within Mainstream Education.

Supports children and young people: 0-25 years

Referral reason: Concern for a child with significant social communication needs with and without a diagnosis of autism.

All referral requests discussed with the team.

People involved: Autism Social Communication team – the team may also involve educational psychology.

Offer: Advice, assessment and support is given where appropriate.  Provide training, coaching and support to education settings.  We are an Autism Education Trust Training Partner and currently offering Train the Trainer to schools and settings across the city.  We have been recognised as leading trainers within Autism Education Trust.  

In education, we see transition as small changes and big changes.  Small changes could be things such as moving groups, rooms or between other pupils. Big or major changes would be moving from one education setting to another.  For neuro-divergent learners, transition can be stressful and upsetting without the right support and planning in place.

As part of our service offer, we believe in being proactive. We have conversations with key staff in advance of the transition.  We always start with what the pupils strengths and interests are. We also work closely with other services.  This is to make sure that useful planning and preparation is in place for when the pupil arrives.  We use documents such as the AET (Autism Education Trust) Transition Guide, if needed.

Preparation is the key for success.  Understanding individual learners’ perspectives and feelings helps staff personalise support to meet needs. With transition plans personal to the learners they will have the support they need to settle in the new setting.  This will help them enjoy the opportunities ahead.   

Once September arrives, our teachers focus on those pupils in key transition years.  These are years such as Reception or Year 7. This way we can attend meetings, support schools and share guidance on transition at very short notice.  We can make sure the right support is available in schools for our pupils.

Useful links

Transition to Employment Toolkit

AET Transition Guide

Year 6 to Year 7 Transition Packs

How to refer

Schools and other education settings can refer to this service – usually done by SENCOs. In order for a child to be seen in school, parents must have signed the referral form (example of a referral form). All referrals must be discussed with the school SENCO and their Link Teacher.  This will be done once the Graduated Approach has been followed.

Schools and families can also call the Sheffield Autism and Social Communication Team Support Line and speak directly to a specialist teacher from the team:

Monday to Thursday
1pm till 4pm
0114 250 6800

E-mail: autism.educationteam@sheffield.gov.uk

Available under the Links and documents section on this page

  • Graduated response information and flow charts
  • Quality First Teaching strategies
  • Autism Social Communication Service training offer
  • Neuro-affirmative Language Guide (to help with meetings, report writing and talking with families and young people)
  • Autism Social Communication Service Offer 2024
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