We know there are a number of key barriers to inclusion in PE and sport for young people with autism that collectively our teachers and sports professionals should consider. These are addressed in an exciting new E-Learning ‘All about Autism, All about Me’ resource. Developed by the Youth Sport Trust, and endorsed by the National Autistic Society, this is a digital and practical toolkit, building upon knowledge of autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and some of the key considerations for making PE and sport inclusive to all. It is free for schools across England to access throughout 2020-21 and highlights;
Language and communication
How do professionals use pupils’ names to gain attention? The use of visual prompts can be a good way to support instruction for pupils with ASC in sport, as in other areas of school life. Teachers should also consider how they provide feedback on performance and reassurance to pupils.
Many young people, particularly girls with ASC find group/teamwork in sport to be challenging, so it’s important to evaluate friendships and group pupils accordingly. Specific instruction and practice around turn taking can also help.
People with autism generally experience difficulties with taking in and regulating sensory stimuli that others may find normal. Sensory overload can be a very big issue, so it’s important to consider how pupils with autism will respond to the often very noisy environment of a sports hall, as well as all the smells, bodily contact and rapidly changing visual information they have to deal with
We also have this guide to support practitioners develop an understanding of autism, including related social and communication difficulties, within the context of PE and sport.