Social and Emotional Wellbeing
In this section of the Toolbox we consider the how understanding and responding to the needs of autistic learners can support their social and emotional wellbeing.
Everyone working in an education setting should have a shared understanding of health and wellbeing as the responsibility of everyone.
For autistic learners it is important to remember that emotional health and emotional wellbeing is often best supported through the physical and social environment.
For example, when a child is distressed about noisy corridors, instead of talking to them about their emotional wellbeing a better approach would be to plan for them to use the corridor at a quieter time.
Talking therapies can require a level of metacognition that even many teenagers have not reached.
Some might require a level of support to begin to talk about likes, dislikes and to grade whether something is a small, medium or big problem before they are ready to spend time learning emotion vocabulary.
Where a child and family raise a discussion point around the individual’s understanding of their own diagnosis, seek support from the team around the child and those with the right experience to meet this need. It is not recommended that children share personal diagnosis publicly for eaxmple to the class or at an assembly. This is something they can never un-tell and can have unforeseen consequences in future.
Self and mutual regulation are really important for emotional wellbeing.
Learners may need support with relationships in and out of school, perspectives, and issues relating to bullying.
Social interaction and emotional wellbeing
An autistic learner may be less comfortable than peers to engage in shared experiences which may impact on their motivation to join in group activities, such as social games and sports. Misunderstandings may arise with the social use of language and in interpersonal engagement and unspoken aspects of communication.
A lack of understanding of social interaction skills and missing the social contexts of situations often leaves the autistic child or young person on the periphery and can cause isolation and loneliness; for some autistic learners this may contribute towards a mental health difficulty.