Working together to ensure good outcomes for our pupils.
At The Garden we have a large multi-disciplinary team with specialist skills and expertise who work in collaboration with class teams to support pupils’ development.
- Speech and language therapists who support communication;
- Occupational therapists who support sensory processing and emotional regulation;
- Educational psychologists, clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists from CAMHS who advise on learning and behaviour.
Professional development and training of staff is a key component of the success of our school. Our teachers are all trained in specialist, evidence-based approaches to teaching children and young people with autism including TEACCH, SCERTS, PECS and Intensive Interaction.
Each class team is led by a teacher with several dedicated support staff, many of whom are highly qualified and experienced in working with pupils with ASD. All new support staff undergo induction training each week of the first term to equip them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to work in a specialised setting. There is ongoing training throughout the year on different aspects of autism and methods to develop communication such as makaton. Classrooms are low arousal, highly organised, structured, total communication learning environments.
There are a very effective teams of adults. Support staff have been very well trained and provide high quality teaching, under the teacher’s direction, for individual pupils. All the pupils receive a very substantial amount of individual tuition and support.
There is something quite unique about the Garden School. There is a common understanding amongst the teachers and staff that their role is to create a learning environment focused on supporting their students’ social and emotional competence. Garden School teachers have created classrooms that invite the children to engage, explore and grow while at the same time ensuring that they feel safe, cared for, and truly understand.
As a co-author of the SCERTS Model, I have had the good fortune to be able to provide professional learning and advisory for the Garden School staff. One of the key priorities of SCERTS is fostering a child’s sense of competence as a communicator. At the Garden School, the respect for each child’s preferences and viewpoints is evident even when the child is not yet using speech. Staff recognize signals of communication through body language, facial expressions, gestures and are able to promote a wide range of communication modes. When students communicate that they need help or comfort, the staff collaborate to discuss “next steps.” This often involves listening to the child and learning how to support the child even better by inviting a greater connection and a creating a more positive learning climate.
Emily Rubin, MS, CCC-SLP, Co-Author, The SCERTS Model
Director, Educational Outreach Program,
Marcus Autism Center of Emory University
An NIH Autism Center for Excellence