This page will outline AsIAm’s Autism Friendly School Programme, which seeks to enact autism-friendly practices on a school-wide level. The programme is not to be confused with our school talks, which can be accessed here.
AsIAm, in cooperation with the Joint Managerial Body and Irish Primary Principal’s Network, began conducting an Autism-Friendly Schools Pilot with 118 National and Secondary Schools across Ireland. Participating schools were supported in reflecting on their practise, identifying challenges and solutions, creating an inclusive culture and building knowledge and understanding of autism amongst staff and students.
The project aims to support schools in the provision of inclusive educational placements for autistic children and young people alongside specialist provision. It is designed to reaffirm good practice and support those wishing to foster a school culture that is inclusive of autistic students. The project will cover the following areas:
- Teaching and learning
- Inclusive school culture
- Leadership and management
- Staff professional development
Online application forms are available on the AsIAm website in September of each year. Once a school has applied and been accepted onto the Autism Friendly Schools Project, they will complete the following steps:
- Release two staff members (preferably one mainstream class teacher and one special education/learning support teacher) to
attend 3 inservice days over the course of the academic year.
- Set up a school profile on the Autism Friendly Schools online toolkit and use this for in-school assessments and the development of strategic planning for inclusion.
- Promote the AsIAm Autism Friendly Schools CPD course and make this available to all staff / colleagues.
- Actively promote the school’s participation in the Autism Friendly Schools Project among the wider school community, via social media, BOM meetings, PTA meetings, autism awareness events / activities etc.
Please note – there will be no provision for travel expenses/sub-cover. As we are a charity, the pilot project is dependent on an investment of €250 per school to cover the cost of the three training days. The data compiled from the online toolkit will be anonymized and no school or individual will be identifiable. The purpose of this is to form a national perspective on how primary and post-primary schools are engaging in autism friendly practice.
Pilot schools can access our portal here