Monday, 5 February 2018

Moving up in education for my autistic kids

Boy in library

We are in the midst of school visits.  Anthony will soon be leaving primary school and heading to secondary school.  Through school, as a child with autism and ADHD, Anthony has had some support to help him.

He's just going through a process to continue his support through a document called an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).  The great thing about this is that, it may support him all the way up to 25, if he needs it.   Because who knows what options he may take when he makes his next move up in education.

We live in England, so like all other kids, Anthony will have to stay in education or training until he is 18. However, he won't need to spend all his time learning - he could combine it with training or with paid or unpaid voluntary work.  So he might move to another school, go to a further education mainstream or specialist college, do an internship or apprenticeship or some other kind of work experience.

Support in Further Education

Further Education (FE) is every kind of education after 16 except for going to university, which is called Higher Education (HE). Most FE colleges have lots of different things to study but some may be more focused on one area of study than another, for example health & beauty, art, business or mechanics. Some colleges can even give a start via professional qualifications. Many courses are also full-time or part-time .

Local authority's website and school SENCO's can help find colleges local college. And just like in school, all colleges will have a SENCO, though they may also be be called disability coordinator or learning support. These people should be able to help in similar ways to the SENCO we already know. And if an EHCP is in place then the college will work to this too.

Support in Higher Education

In HE things are quite as straight forward as universities aren't covered by the same SEND Code of Practice that FE colleges are. However, some universities organise summer schools for people on the autism spectrum giving young people the chance to try out university before deciding to apply - you can find out more of these and some other great information this from Ambitious About Autism.


Anthony can sometimes simply be overwhelmed by the amount of people and input he's getting. Sometimes it's better to look at something that means a child can work at their own pace. Here's where the internet may help.  An online or home study course may be a good idea and having an area to support this will help him with his organisation.  Udemy has many practical courses but you could also look at things like Open University which covers many topics or more specialised organisations that focus on topics like business management online degrees.

Whatever Anthony decides to wants to do then he could also get help from the National Autistic Society Further and Higher Education support service too.

This student support service is usually funded by Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) but could also be funded by any other means.

It seems like a long way off as we approach just getting Anthony into secondary school, but in many ways it's reassuring to know that wherever his paths goes and whatever he chooses - he may have options available to him to do what he wants.

This post also supports the Makaton Charity #wetalkmakaton sign of the week - 'internet'!  
We love Makaton ;-)


  1. A great post, being ten steps ahead is something that is so important to our children. I hope the EHCP switch over goes well x

  2. It seems like a long way to think ahead, but it will be here in a flash I know! x

  3. I have thought quite a lot recently about FE, GCSEs and whether it’s going to be within Joseph’s reach. It’s interesting that a lot of children with LD are also academically a few years behind yet still there is a focus for GCSEs at 16.


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  8. Interesting post - I hadn't heard about summer schools for autistic pupils thinking of going to university so will definitely have a look in to that - thanks. #neurodiversitynotions

  9. Such a useful post.
    I wish EHCPs were used by universities, but we still used Nathan's as a base point for his needs at uni & it was useful when we applied for disabled student's allowance and for his needs assessment.

  10. Hope the EHCP goes through straightforwardly!
    This is a really helpful post and great to know what options lie ahead! The summer school idea for university sounds like a great idea!
    Thank you so much for joining #accesslinky

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