A free online resource developed to support the inclusion of autistic learners in Scottish Early Learning and Childcare settings, Primary and Secondary schools.

Inclusion and Supporting Learners

Scottish education is based on the belief that education is a human right and that all children and young people should be supported to reach their fullest potential. Scotland’s education system is designed to be an inclusive one for all children and young people in Scottish schools, with or without additional support needs.

This inclusive approach not only allows children and young people to thrive in their community but also contributes to all children and young people’s understanding and appreciation of diversity and helps to build a more just society.

Scotland's needs-led system places the learner at the centre and the provision of support is not dependent upon a formal label or identification of need. 

Our school education system, and the policies and legislation which support it, is designed to be inclusive and one which is based on the needs a child or young person experiences. Further information on the policies and legislation can be found here.

Supporting children and young people

Teachers have to support children and young people with a range of additional support needs and many difficulties overlap with other areas of need.This requires effective partnership with parents and other professionals, including the full range of allied health professionals, to ensure that children's needs are appropriately identified and met.  

The information in this resource focus specifically on autism, but many of the approaches and resources are inclusive by design and will help a range of different needs. The issues and barriers children and young people may face do not always fit neatly into categories and it is likely that there are overlapping barriers which are experienced. 

An image detailing co-occurrence and neurodiversity

Approaches to learning and teaching

For many pupils with autism they may only require minimal levels of support in class. Others may need additional input to recognise and support their anxieties and deal with situations which can cause this – e.g. changes to routine. A few pupils may need a more personalised approach for part or all of the school day.

Staff may need to consider their own approaches and style of learning and teaching to ensure they provide an inclusive classroom environment which allows pupils with autism to feel safe, healthy and happy, active, nurtured, achieving, respected, responsible, and included.

Responding to the need for a social curriculum for autistic learners is an essential component of successful inclusion in any setting. By recognising the value of meaningful social learning, teachers will be enabling autistic learners to function in and contribute more effectively in their own communities. This will help them to develop the competencies that are central to Curriculum for Excellence - successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.