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 individuals 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 example to the class or at an assembly. This is something they can never un-tell and can have unforeseen consequences in future.

It is important to take a holistic view of areas potentially impacting an autistic individual’s sense of wellbeing when considering how to support positive engagement, participation and learning across all areas of life.  This section considers how the wellbeing of all involved in the network of support surrounding an autistic individual can be supported.  Sections 5 and 6 also provide information and signposting to areas of support for parents/carers, families, and staff who are supporting autistic individuals.  

Learners may need support with relationships in and out of school, perspectives, and issues relating to bullying.

Further Professional Development

Select here to access the Professional Reflection and Planning Tool on this section.

Further resources can be found in the Professional Development section of the Toolbox.