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Understanding difficulties at breaktime and lunchtime for pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder

Author: Patricia Thorpe


    Out of stock    
Format: A5 Booklet
Availability: New PDF version available to download below
Product number
Understanding difficulties at breaktime and lunchtime for pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder
Patricia Thorpe
Published by
The National Autistic Society

Free time such as lunchtime and break time may be difficult for pupils with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In our short guide, which you can download below, we explain why and suggest some ways in which school staff and other pupils can help. Parents and carers may also find this information useful.

The guide includes information about lunchtime clubs, buddy systems, social skills classes, bullying, and creating a safe place for pupils with an ASD to go to if they feel especially anxious or need some time out. We hope that some of the suggestions and ideas will help you to support pupils with an ASD in your school.

"A useful perspective on break time with lots of great suggestions. Easy to read and grounded in common sense. I wouldn't change a thing." Matthew Hesmondhalgh, The Resource, Sheffield
Print format
A NAS Autism Helpline booklet
Number of pages
First publication
Last revisited
ISBN / supplier product code
Dispatch partner
Primary distribution partner
Typical delivery
7 working days
Subject Bullying at school Caring for a child Education and training Environment Leisure Participation
Edited reviews

This is an excellent and precise guide for all school staff to read and particularly important for lunch time support staff who may not have met children with autistic spectrum disorders.

Parents reading this booklet will, I feel, be confident that everything that can be put into place for their child is being done!

The guide is clearly written, and in a fashion which is easily understood. The content is excellent and provides ideas which are guidelines, but can easily be tailored to suit the needs of specific children.

The writer obviously knows these children well. I particularly liked the lunch time club item. The fact that she understood that not all children will want to do drama but might love the idea of being involved behind the scenes shows great understanding.

At my own school we already use the suggestions set out in the booklet, with the exception of the social skills/self-esteem classes. The idea of collecting pictures showing emotions is something we can try in the future! In addition to the card system showing details of where to go, etc we issue an 'early lunch' pass, which allows our children with special needs to jump the queue, and makes time for them to attend other activities such as choir.

The booklet is excellent value for money and is the first time I have ever seen ideas set down in writing about how to support children during their free time. Lunch times are something we take for granted and yet this unstructured time is torture for some of our children, who miss the rules of the classroom.

I am sure this booklet will be of great value to both teaching and non-teaching staff in schools. New members of staff will feel more confident and aware of where problems can occur. If we can pre-empt problems, it makes life easier all round for these complex but very rewarding children.

Judith Colley
SEN Teaching Assistant

Judith is the author of Working with an Asperger pupil in secondary schools and Going on trips with an Asperger pupil, both also available through NAS Publications 

Autism Helpline Number: 0808 800 4104
Last updated: 09/12/2016 21:19:34