For over 50 years, we’ve provided specialist autism education in schools across the country.
And every day, our team of teachers, learning support assistants, residential support workers and volunteers are helping young people aged 4 to 21 make a life changing breakthrough. We're pioneering new ways to educate children and young people on the autism spectrum and we continue to learn everyday from the childrein our schools.
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Pauline Findlay, senior practitioner at Daldorch House School
"I joined The National Autistic Society 14 years ago. My nephew has severe learning disabilities, and I wanted to give something back.
I just love this job; no two days are the same. I’ll never do anything else.
"I’ve supported so many children in my time here, but my best memory is of a young man called Andrew. When I first met him he tended to get into trouble if he was on his own, so he had to be accompanied everywhere. He was so frustrated, and craved independence.
"We did a lot of work together to get him to a stage where he was ready for an outing on his own. He loved reading the paper, and his ambition was to go and buy his copy by himself. We worked up to it, and finally, the big day arrived.
"The plan was for Andrew to leave the school and walk to the shop. It was a huge moment – I was so nervous!
"I’ll be honest: as he turned the corner, I jumped into my car and followed him at a distance! But he did it, and he arrived back absolutely triumphant. I was so proud.
"Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength. He lives semi-independently now, and attends college."
Hema Shridhar, teacher and fitness and wellbeing instructor, Sybil Elgar School
"I had no idea about this job when I started, and no clue about autism. I actually came in as a cook in one of the services. But I quickly became fascinated by autism.
"I got my City and Guilds Learning Support Qualification and I haven’t looked back. I’ve worked my way up over the years and in January, became a fully-fledged teacher, alongside my role as a fitness and wellbeing instructor.
"I’ve seen so many children progress, but a particularly amazing story is Paul. When I first met him, struggled to make eye contact and had behavioural issues that isolated him from the other children. I was determined to get through to him though.
"I realised that he was really into aerobics. So I asked him if he liked dancing. He did – and he loved Michael Jackson. So I started introducing some dancing into his routine. What a transformation – Paul completely came out his shell and started co-running the dance workshops with me. Through dance, he’s learned to express himself in a completely different way. Now, the boy who was completely locked away has his own friends, his own telephone and even travels to school by himself.
"I’ve been since 1992. 23 years! I’ll never do anything else though – never leave. I just love it. Every day is different. It might be challenging, but it’s also the most rewarding job."
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