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Access and Inclusion for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders 'Let Me In' Matthew Hesmondhalgh and Christine Breakey

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Price: $36.95

Based on pioneering work at their school in Sheffield, the authors of this book explore the universal issues of access and inclusion in employment and education for children and young people with autism or Asperger's Syndrome. They describe the challenges they faced in establishing and running an Integrated Resource for these children within a mainstream secondary school. The twenty-four pupils at The Resource participate in the regular school curriculum, but also learn a wide range of additional life skills. These include road safety, work-place skills and using public transport as well as expressing feelings, making choices and learning from experience. One innovative area of work at The Resource is the work placement scheme which has given pupils the opportunity to work with local companies including a supermarket and an insurance firm. In addition to this, The Resource has established a partnership with a further education college to enable their pupils to gain further support after they leave school. These projects demonstrate the encouraging possibilities in employment and the wider world for young people on the autistic spectrum.

The experiences of these special pupils and their peers and teachers provide lessons as well as messages of hope and understanding for parents and professionals within the field of autism. The authors make useful, practical suggestions for access and inclusion, showing how those with autism or Asperger's Syndrome can participate fully in the world of work and the community.

'The book is inspiring because it demonstrates what can be achieved by the sheer determination and spirit of a group of teachers and support teachers who realize that the young people with whom they work get a raw deal from life, in so far as their disabilities conceal their abilities.'

- Educational Research

'Throughout the book, there are many examples of humour and near tragedy, but the overall air is one of humility, a willingness to learn and to share that learning, whatever its source. This is a book to be read not only not its content, but also perhaps as a source of inspiration and hope, whenever things look bad and impossible'

- Rostrum

'This book is an easy and inspiring read, I can honestly say that it's the first book I've read since "Let Me Hear Your Voice" that filled me with hope and determination. It is highly recommended reading for anyone who has an interest in inclusion within the schooling system and should definitely be included on the LEA's reading list'

- Speach

'This remarkable book, of great interest to both parents and professionals, will move forward the national debate on social inclusion for people with autistic spectrum disorders. Its anecdotal and personal style, backed up by a thorough understanding of the psychology of autism, makes it compulsive reading. It is also a very practical guide to exactly how children with autism and Asperger syndrome can be enabled to participate as fully valued members of society from childhood onwards. Many books and articles have pointed out that the barriers to that participation are largely within school and society rather than the individual child. What makes this book different is that it draws on experience; trial and error to show how these barriers can be removed at a local level, while at the same time arguing incisively for specific initiatives to inform national policy. There is no doubt that this book authoritatively bridges the gap between theory and practice, and should be seen as essential reading for anyone concerned with access and inclusion for people with autistic spectrum disorders.'

- Communication

'This book is about forming and developing equal partnerships between individuals with autism, their families and teachers. It is about two-way traffic: listening to the individuals and responding to their individual needs. This book is inspiring because it is based on real people who have complex needs and experiences. It shows how an organisation can develop into an "autism friendly" service within a mainstream society which so often creates barriers to people with autism.'

- From the foreword by Richard Exley

Foreword. Introduction. 1. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. 2. The key players. 3. Parents, paperwork and pressure. 4. Counselling. 5. The National Curriculum? Not quite. 6. Integration into work. 7. Our charity - the chase for cash. 8. Post-16 - the first year. 9. Andrew's story. 10. The final chapter? References.

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