Anxiety is now a well-recognised problem for children and adolescents with autism. Anxiety disorders can be differentiated from ‘normal’ fears and worry on the basis of severity of symptoms, persistence and impact on functioning. Anxiety encompasses feelings of fear, worry, dread or irritability.
Trinity has achieved the AcSEED Advanced Award (www.acseed.org). A scheme founded by young people with direct experience of mental illness. The AcSEED quality assurance mark is presented to schools that have made a substantial effort to support the mental health of their students.
At Trinity the physical, social and emotional environment in which staff and students spend a high proportion of every week day has been shown to positively impact on learners mental health and emotional wellbeing improving their engagement and attendance at school and college.
Learners have access to the Emotional Wellbeing Team who work with them one to one, in small groups and supporting them to maintain their engagement and attendance in lessons. We also have a range of other qualified staff:
Trinity specialist teachers have been able to support new learners within taster days, reintegration with education, transition through phases of education and into college and even returning to mainstream education where appropriate. As young learners improve their emotional intelligence and thereby become more self-aware, they are able to make better decisions about their own education (particularly in relation to academic choices). The school uses the 5 point scale to teach social and emotional concepts to individual who have difficulty in expressing anxiety. The stress scale indicator provides students with a support to report anxiety which was known and understood.
“The staff have been wonderful at supporting (our son) with his learning and managing his anxiety.
He is starting to increase his independence, something which has been a long time coming, Trinity is
helping him to overcome his fears and unlock his potential.” Parent 2017
Vertical transition (transition through the various phases e.g. Key Stage 2 to 3), although predictable, developmental and experienced by all in education, would have a major effect on ASC learners. At these pivotal points, Trinity works with parents, carers, internal therapy, support and intervention teams and external agencies including other schools and colleges in order to support the transition programme.
Trinity provides a transitional programme which supports skills with independent travel and safety on the roadside (Roadwise Programme) and with supporting choices for the future through the careers guidance programme (ASDAN Careers Short Course). The school has a social use of language programme which supports the development of social interaction skills for life. Trinity has introduced peer mentoring and tutoring which supports life and social skills particularly friendship making skills. The mentoring programme within the school supports reintegration to learning and enables young people to have a voice in expressing their concerns
Having good friendships can buffer the impact of stressful life events and correlates positively with self-esteem and negatively with anxious and depressive symptoms, therefore Trinity believes that the development of friendship making skills will enable young learners to learn social rules through specialist teaching processes. Learning to make and keep friends may be especially difficult for some of our learners and this is supported through the House Communication programme, the Social Use of Language programme, the PHSMSC curriculum and the extensive life and social skills learning opportunities within the school. The skills necessary for making friends are highly promoted within our curriculum as it has been shown that these skills have a significant lifelong impact for young learners and can have the effect of reducing anxiety throughout their life.
The Autism, Anxiety and Transition Specialist works with the Counselling, Mentoring and Coaching team to ensure that the social and emotional wellbeing of young learners are met. The Dyslexia Team ensures that assessments are provided twice a year to inform the teachers, parents and carers on progression with literacy and numeracy skills.
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