Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the Secondary School


Lynn Plimley & Maggie Bowen

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    About the Authors

    Lynn Plimley

    Lynn Plimley originally trained to teach children with Special Educational Needs in the mid-70s, and since 1979 has worked with children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). She has worked in generic special schools for primary aged children, residential schools for those with SLD and been part of a multi-disciplinary team supporting inclusion. She was the first Principal of Coddington Court School in Herefordshire, a provision for children aged 8-19 with ASD.

    She works part-time as a Lecturer in ASD at the University of Birmingham on their web-based course ( She also tutors M.Ed dissertation students for the Course in ASD (Distance Learning), and is a member of the internationally respected Autism team, based at the University of Birmingham's School of Education, led by Professor Rita Jordan.

    Lynn also works for Autism Cymru, establishing a mechanism for mainstream Secondary, Primary and Special school teachers, to share good practice. She offers consultancy as a trainer for any kind of provision for people with ASD, and has built up a national profile of training in the importance of understanding the condition of autistic spectrum disorders for schools and care establishments. Lynn is the Book Editor, and an Editorial Board member, of the Good Autism Practice Journal.

    Maggie Bowen

    Maggie gained her academic and professional qualifications at universities in Aberystwyth, Leeds and Bangor. She began her teaching career in a school for children with severe learning difficulties (SLD), and went on to work as a Community Liaison Teacher for individuals with SLD. She has been a Team Inspector of secondary and special schools and a Threshold Assessor, and has worked as part of a multi-agency team responsible for developing a range of new services for individuals of all ages with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD).

    She was Programme Leader for Special Educational Needs courses and the MA in Education at the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI). She has worked for the Welsh Assembly Government as Development Officer for Inclusion in Wales with a specific responsibility for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Able and Talented and SEN Training in Wales.

    She joined the team at Autism Cymru as Head of Public and Voluntary Sector Partnerships/Deputy CEO in January 2005. She has published on a range of SEN issues in books and journals, and is still committed to training and consultancy work with a range of practitioners from health, social services, education, the criminal justice system and the emergency services.


    Our sincere thanks go to a range of people who have helped us gather evidence for this book, in particular members of the Autism Cymru Secondary School Forum, Dr Verity Donnelly, Dr Patrick Loughran, SNAP Cymru, Play Radnor, Ray Dickson, Jude Bowen and NoMAD.

    How to use this Book

    This book has been designed as a resource that readers will want to dip into when they are working with pupils with ASD in the secondary school or secondary special school. Many examples are given that address issues arising from setting up specific bases or resources within the secondary school, but the authors also recognise that these ideas and strategies can be used in whole school planning. The authors have drawn upon the current state of knowledge and legislation and the good practice of many secondary school teachers to cover issues and strategies that are not necessarily available elsewhere.

    The book assumes a working knowledge and understanding of the condition of ASD and covers in further depth the impact of sensory differences. Practical ideas and strategies are given to address typical secondary school issues, and key times during the pupil's life in a secondary school, adolescence and their routes post school are dealt with.

    The authors know from their strong links with secondary school teachers that many of the chapters deal with situations and issues that can occur from time to time in their work with pupils with ASD. They hope that this resource goes some way to expanding on information and knowledge that is currently available.

  • References

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    ADHDAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
    Aetiologythe root cause of a condition or disease
    ACCACQualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales
    ASAsperger syndrome
    Autism CymruWales’ national charity for ASD
    CAMHSChild and Adolescent Mental Health Services
    CJSCriminal justice system
    DfESDepartment for Education and Skills (England)
    DoHDepartment of Health (England)
    DSM IVDiagnostic and Statistical Manual (Edition 4)
    GAPGood Autism Practice - a journal published by the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD)
    GCSEGeneral Certificate of Secondary Education
    GCEGeneral Certificate in Education
    HMIHer Majesty's Inspectors of Schools
    IEPindividual education programme
    ICD 10International Classification of Diseases
    INSETin-service training
    LEAlocal education authority
    NAP-CNational Autism Plan for Children
    NASNational Autistic Society
    NVQNational Vocational Qualification
    NQFNational Qualification Framework
    OfstedOffice for Standards in Education: a non-ministerial government body in England responsible for the inspection of schools, LEAs, teacher-training institutions, youth work, colleges and early years provision
    PECSPicture Exchange Communication System
    PHSEpersonal, social and health education
    PPSParent Partnership Services
    SATsStandardised Assessment Tasks
    Secondarydeveloped by Autism Cymru to give teachers working
    Schoolwith ASD in secondary schools across Wales the
    Forumopportunity to meet and exchange information
    SENCospecial educational needs co-ordinator
    SENDAThe Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001)
    SMTsenior management team
    SNAP CymruThe Special Needs Advisory Project in Wales
    Social Storiesa strategy developed by Carol Gray to teach individuals with ASD appropriate social skills
    SULPSocial Use of Language Programme
    TAteaching assistant
    TEACCHTreatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children
    Triad of impairmentsdifficulties encountered by individuals with ASD in social understanding, social communication and rigidity of thought noted by Lorna Wing
    WAGWelsh Assembly Government

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