7 helpful ways for your child with autism to get a good night’s sleep (guest post)


Guest blogger Sarah Cummings gives us some useful tips for helping autistic children to sleep well at night.


Getting children to sleep at night is a problem all parents face. For parents with children with autism however an already difficult task is often even more complicated.


It’s estimated that between 40-80% of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) suffer from sleep related problems. These include: waking frequently, problems dropping off, restlessness and waking early.


The exact reasons for sleeping problems in children with ASD aren’t completely understood. Some studies have established that children with autism don’t release the sleep hormone melatonin as efficiently as their non-ASD contemporaries. While an increased sensitivity to stimuli such as noise. light and touch may be another contributing factor.


A lack of sleep can obviously impact a child’s day, resulting in drowsiness, learning problems and behavioral issues such as anger and hyperactivity. It’s important then to do everything in your power as parent to ensure your child sleeps well.


Below we take a look a number of helpful ways to improve the chances a child with autism gets a better night’s sleep…

Keep it quiet

All children can be kept awake by bumps in the night, however as autistic children often suffer from increased sensitivity to noise, these bumps can play an even greater role in broken sleep.


It’s impossible to control all the noise your little one might be exposed to at night, the traffic outside is obviously no fault of yours, but if there is something that can be done, do it.


Do a regular sound audit of your home. Doors should be kept oiled. Creaky floorboards can be replaced. Wooden floors can be covered with thick carpet. Slippers can be worn inside instead of shoes. Even things like when the water heating is scheduled to come on (rumbling pipes) can be altered to better fit in with your child’s sleeping patterns.

2 Reduce pre-bed stimulation

By now we are all aware that screens before bed can have a huge detrimental impact on sleep. But it’s a point that bears repeating. The blue light emitted by tvs, tablets and smartphones impairs the body’s melatonin production.


In addition to the impact of the light, the content consumed by little ones on screens and the interactive nature of today’s devices all lead to one thing – overstimulation. Children with autism are more susceptible than others to the dangers of overstimulation.


It’s important then to build in some wind-down time into the evening schedule of your child. This means shutting off all screens at least an hour, ideally two, before bedtime. It also means avoiding any other activity that could lead to overstimulation, replace game playing with book reading and listening to music.

3 Invest in blackout curtains

As we mentioned above, children with autism are often more sensitive to outside stimuli – this includes light. Take this into account when preparing their sleep environment. Replace ineffective curtains and blinds with blackout curtains.


Light pollution from outside plays a similar role to screens in keeping the mind overstimulated. The impact of having a completely dark room can be a very big one when it comes to sleep.

4 Minimize distractions

Ensure that all toys and distractions are out of sight, if possible. Their bedroom at bedtime should be a place of rest not play. Minimizing what is within view will minimize overstimulation.

5 Engage in some colour therapy

The decor of a child’s room, especially a child with autism, should be designed to generate calm. Bright, bold colours will lead to overstimulation, rooms should be painted in muted tones. Blues, light greens and mellow yellows are all known to promote healthy sleep.

6 Get the bed right

This may seem like an obvious one but ensuring the surface your child is sleeping on is fit for purpose plays a very important role in how well they sleep. Children with autism are often more sensitive than their contemporaries, if their bed is uncomfortable, the wrong size etc, they will likely feel it more than most.


Choosing a good bed is hard, for some help take a look at this guide if you need a little help.

7 Exercise is essential

Nothing will help a child, any child (autism or not), sleep better than going to bed properly tired. This means you have you make sure your child gets sufficient daytime exercise. Go out, run around, jump about, do whatever it takes to ensure your little one gets out of breath at least once a day. Take a look here for some autism friendly activities.


Avoid however scheduling your exercise sessions too close to bedtime, too much adrenaline too close to sleep time can have the opposite effect than intended.


Well, there you have it  – 7 simple tips on how to help your autistic child get better sleep. With a better night’s rest under their belt your child will be in a better position to cope with whatever the day throws at them. And with your child sleeping better, so will you.


Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.


SEND news roundup from our partners

At Axcis, we are thrilled to be associated with the National Autistic Society and nasen. Each month, we bring you the latest news highlights from our partners, so if you’d like to know what’s been happening with these great organisations and in the world of SEND, read on.

NAS News

Below you’ll find a list of some of the latest autism news, compiled by our friends at Network Autism. Each title is clickable and the link will take you to their website where you can find the full story.

Get the latest SEND news here with Axcis

  1. Camouflaging may delay diagnosis for autistic girls
  2. Bilingual autistic people may have improved cognitive flexibility
  3. Edinburgh airport receives Autism Friendly Award
  4. Proposals to include autism in Blue Badge scheme
  5. Victory in Personal Independence Payment legal case
  6. Lack of support for autistic people in criminal justice system
  7. Glasgow Shopping Centre first to open quiet space for autistic people
  8. Lauri Love, the autistic man accused of hacking, wins US extradition appeal
  9. Calls for better autism support in France
  10. Caution suggested over new “autism blood test”

Nasen News

Below you’ll find a list of the latest SEND news from our friends at nasen. Each title is clickable and the link will take you to their website where you can find the full story.

  1. nasen’s response to consultation: Changes to the teaching of Sex & Relationship Education and PSHE
  2. Nadhim Zahawi is confirmed as being responsible for SEND
  3. nasen Members can claim complimentary places to The Special Education Needs event
  4. nasen launch new sponsorship with Nisai Group

Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.


Candidate of the Term – nominations now open

Do you have an Axcis contractor who is doing a great job this term? Do you want to nominate them for an award? Find out what’s on offer and how to nominate them here.

At Axcis, we are extremely proud of the fantastic work our SEND teachers and support staff do every day in the classroom. We know that being a supply worker isn’t easy; often you are thrown in the deep end with challenging classes and little time to read up on school policy or procedure and your work could end at any given moment. And yet, we hear so much fantastic feedback about our candidates that we feel it is only right to give a bit of recognition where we can. Read on to find out how to nominate your favourite Axcis contractor for our Spring 2018 award.

What are we looking for?

We want to hear from you if you have an Axcis contractor who you feel has done a fantastic job, or who has gone above and beyond the call of duty. We know that it’s not just classroom practice that makes for a good supply worker – it’s also reliability, punctuality and willingness to step out of their usual role and take on things like school productions, trips and other extra-curricular work. Or perhaps they’ve helped to support other members of the team, made awesome strides forward with the children they work with and helped to affect positive change in the school they’ve been placed in. Whatever your reason, we are open to hearing about it!

How do I nominate?

Simply email Emily@axcis.co.uk if you have an Axcis contractor you’d like to nominate for an award, or contact your consultant. There are two awards available for the term – one for London, and one for our Regional offices. The prizes are £75 in shopping vouchers – intended for the winners to treat themselves to something nice! The deadline for entries is Friday 16th March, with winners to be announced a few days later. When you contact us, you’ll need to state the name of the contractor, along with the name of the school they are working in. We’d also like a short statement on why they should be considered for the award – it doesn’t need to be an essay – just a sentence or two. All nominees will receive a certificate of appreciation, so even if your Axcis contractor doesn’t win, don’t worry – they’ll still know they are appreciated, and this is what it’s all about, after all!

Don’t delay – do it today!

So, if you have staff from Axcis and would like them to be recognised for the fantastic work they are doing, don’t put it off – drop us an email now and we will make sure they are in the running to be considered for an award. We know you value their hard work, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to make sure they know too.

Top SEND websites to bookmark

At Axcis, we have been busy scouring the internet for useful websites. From resources and training to news and blogs, our rundown is bound to yield some gems you can bookmark. So why not take a look this half term, and see what you can make use of?

National Autistic Society/Network Autism

Mark Lever, NAS CEO (right) with Catherine Friel, Senior Director of Axcis at a recent NAS Conference.

OK, so as their single biggest corporate sponsor, we are probably a bit biased, but given the number of children in our classrooms who are on the autism spectrum, we can all stand to enhance our knowledge and skills in this area. Browse the main National Autistic Society website for news and resources, or visit their hub intended for professionals, Network Autism – either way, you’ll find articles, training, resources and much more to get your teeth into!

Nasen/SEND Gateway

Another shameless plug! We also sponsor nasen – the National Association for Special Educational Needs and their website contains a wealth of information covering a range of different needs and conditions. Nasen also run the SEND Gateway, an online portal for professionals to share good practice, articles and news. It’s another top source of information for those working in the SEND sector, so if you haven’t looked before, it’s time to have a browse!

SEN Magazine

SEN Magazine is a publication you may have spotted in the SENCo’s office or school reception. It’s one of the leading SEND publications in the UK and regularly offers useful news, articles and information. But did you know that you don’t have to be a subscriber to benefit from what they offer? Their website is worth a read if you’re a professional working in SEND and it contains many of the articles you’ll also find in the paper version!

Humans, not Robots

Humans, not Robots is a charming resource website and blog written by Matt Grant, SEND teacher and SpLD specialist. There are lots of useful ideas and resources which you could use in a range of SEND settings. This site has been running since 2012 so has an established back catalogue of materials you can use, so take a look – there is sure to be something for everyone.

Special needs Jungle

This parent-led website is designed primarily to support parents and families who have children with SEND. There is a wealth of guidance on here for those going through the process of obtaining EHC Plans as well as news, resources and much more. It’s well worth having a browse of their pages.


The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has a wealth of resources and guides aimed predominantly at supporting child protection both at home and in school. So, if you need to plan any lessons about safer internet use, or how to teach children to avoid potentially abusive situations, their website is a must-look.

Special needs information press (SNIP)

Special Needs Information Press (SNIP) is a twelve page monthly newsletter produced by two SEND teachers. It supports staff in schools to identify and address the diverse needs of pupils in order to promote their learning and school success. We think it’s worth signing up and keeping an eye on their newsletter.

SEN Teacher

SEN Teacher is a specialist website which has printables, specialist links, free software downloads and search tools for all types and levels of special and remedial education. SEN Teacher is also used by many parents and teachers of younger students and children without special needs.

Complex Needs Training

http://www.complexneeds.org.uk/ is a website dedicated to training materials which cover multiple areas of SEND and are clustered into modules, each of which represents a specific topic. There are 16 modules in total, split across four broader subject groups. Once you have chosen a module, you can also select a study level to ensure that you are getting the information you need from each resource. Whether you’re an established SEND specialist or new to the area, this website offers an invaluable opportunity for FREE online training.

Time to Change

This website is dedicated to mental health and offers plenty of resources, training and information which you may find useful to support your professional practice.

Special needs UK

Special needs UK is a website which aims to provide parents and educational professionals with in-depth information on schools/colleges/education centres and support groups for children and young adults with special educational needs.

The learning spy

The Learning Spy is widely recognised as one of the most influential education blogs in the UK and has won a number of awards. In February 2017 alone, there were 2.5 million visitors to the site! So if you’re looking for an education blog to follow, check it out!

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

I hope you enjoyed our rundown of online resources and take the time to bookmark a few – there really are some gems in here! And don’t forget that if you’re seeking SEND work, or looking to recruit staff in this area, Axcis can help! So why not register for work or send us your SEND vacancy today?!


Is variety in the curriculum the prescription children with ADHD need? (Guest post)

Graham Chatterley

Graham Chatterley is an assistant head at a school in Warrington for pupils with a range of SEMH needs. He has 4 children, of which the youngest 2 have varying ASD needs. One is very high functioning with some social and understanding difficulties, however managing well in mainstream primary. The other having significant ASD, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder needs requiring an SLD setting. This has put Graham in an unusual position of experiencing both sides of SEND which has aided his understandings of both. He has kindly provided this guest post for the Axcis blog.


Is variety in the curriculum the prescription children with ADHD need?

Here’s the thing – I’ve got instant credibility when talking about ASD because I live it everyday. I can fall back on real life – every hour of the day, every day experiences which add to my professional experience and give my opinions added validity.


My experience of ADHD is different. Yes, I encounter it every day to varying degrees at school and I have years of experience in that respect but other than it being a side-dish to Daniel’s severe ASD and other needs I can’t claim the expertise of living with it at home.


I witness children struggling with ADHD at school, I see them with and without their medication and how they change. I see how they see themselves as different and what this does to their self- esteem and anxiety. They become shrouded in anger and negativity because they are different and misunderstood. So often it is believed they are doing things on purpose or just not listening. This is usually far from the truth.


I talked about High Functioning ASD being about trying to fit a square peg in to a round hole. ADHD is so similar in many respects. There are so many crossovers and the two go hand in hand in terms of sole focus and borderline obsession. The differences are also there if we are willing to see them. A child with High Functioning ASD may be super smart and when fixated on a topic will want to know everything there is to know about it. They will more than likely be happy with knowing and be more than happy talking about it endlessly. They are the great researchers of our society and if interest is peaked in a topic then there will be no end to their questions about it.


This is something I have experience of because Max is learning about the Romans. I have a little knowledge of the Romans from my days as a primary teacher – but a little knowledge isn’t enough for Max. He wants to know everything that happened in 500 years of the Roman Empire whilst he has me trapped for a short car journey across town! Thank goodness for Google and Siri who do have the answers to the barrage of questions being fired at me!


It is brilliant that Max is so interested in the Roman’s because in this topic, he will get a brilliant report. The problem is that the rest of the class have now moved on to maths or literacy and Max is still thinking about Rome’s failed invasion of Gaul! This will cause difficulty for Max getting on task for maths but he can usually be refocused and get back on track.

A step further

ADHD is similar but can be more intense. If this child is focussed on something, it is the only thing in the world and refocussing back onto the Maths lesson is very difficult. They are blinkered to everything else and similarly HAVE to know everything they can about that topic. The difference for the child with ADHD is that they also have to know why. If there is a problem then it has to be solved, if there is a mistake it has to be corrected and if something is incomplete it has to be completed!


As a teacher, you might spend hours trying to get a child with ADHD to write something in literacy, but then when they write about the Romans you can’t get them to stop!


This desire to finish, fix and solve means that if these children can be focussed on something practical, they will often achieve amazing things.


This desire to finish, fix and solve means that if these children can be focussed on something practical, they will often achieve amazing things. I’ve seen children who find classrooms impossible go on to become incredible mechanics or computer engineers because of their desire to take things apart, put back together and improve. The myth is that the need for them to be practical is to do with their physical hyperactivity. When in fact the need for them to be practical, is to challenge their mental hyperactivity with a problem solving task!

Positive or negative? Obsession or passion?

Some will see this desire to know, solve and develop as being obsessive, the child will be made to feel that obsession is a negative thing and therefore they will feel like they are different and doing something wrong. This contributes to the child’s self-esteem taking a knock and we end up left with an anxious and unhappy child.


In many adults with ADHD, when finally working in the “right” work field the same traits are seen as passion, the desire to know is seen as positive and the problem solving appreciated and nurtured. What was once a negative thing is lorded by bosses and recognised as a great thing. The adult can finally achieve, belong and that self-esteem gets a well deserved boost.


Unfortunately they have to find their way to the right work field. Often they have to do this with poor exam results because despite being really intelligent, their organisational ability sucked or they couldn’t focus themselves. They end up in jobs that they aren’t passionate about so bounce from job to job and experience failure after failure when in reality they have so much to offer the right person/organisation. If we can identify that that passion and see it for what it is rather than looking down on it as an obsession which must be eliminated, you end up with incredible achievements. Just think, what would have become of Jamie Oliver if his love of food had been seen as an obsession and a negative, rather than a passion…

Schools position

This is where we often go so wrong, and I don’t blame schools. Schools have to produce children who fit a type (children who have learned a balanced curriculum so that we may tick a variety of boxes). Education is a production line of round pegs who are intended to go about their lives with a steady job and for many this model works fine. However, for some children, this production line holds them back, it’s tells them they are different, it tells them they are doing it wrong and it tells them they are bad. So many children come to me seeing themselves this way and seeing school as negative. Every single one though can tell me a subject they like, every school report contains a mixture of bad behaviour and brilliance. For many by the time they get to me the damage is done, too much negativity is associated with school and we look for an alternative for them. These children are often completely different when they get to college and are doing an activity they are passionate about like joinery, landscaping etc. If we are lucky though, we get them early, we find a passion for music or art or sport and we can use that as a vehicle in school to drive them. We know what their outside passions are and use them as a go-to whenever that child is distressed. Whatever it is, we don’t make them feel like it’s obsessive or wrong because it is our tool to help their mental health and a way to ground them and prevent them from getting into trouble.


If I have a child who is distressed in class about writing about something he cannot (despite all his best efforts) focus on or interest himself in, what if we tweak the lesson and he writes about something he’s passionate about instead? Which will probably be good quality, is that the end of the world? Or should we force him do it the same as everyone else; disrupting and getting into negative behaviour, probably producing a much more mediocre piece of work, if any.

We also need to look at an alternative classroom

My opinion is that much more topic based learning has to be on offer for children with significant ADHD. Whether it’s about Roman’s, Dinosaurs or Volcanoes, it doesn’t matter! What does matter is that they all present an opportunity for literacy, history, geography etc. but they do it in a way that engages our harder to reach children. Being less prescriptive and allowing these children to do what they are exceptional at lets them problem solve, write with passion and research independently. Skills that many other children may not be capable of.


What you might find is that the child who is easily distracted and cannot focus on a task, now cannot be dragged away from their work. The pen will need to be wrestled from their hand and the sponge that has absorbed so much information has been rung out onto the page. Surely this is better than mediocre?


Why does being out of the classroom and outside help the child with ADHD so much? I struggled for years to understand why a child who could not sit still in a classroom for more than 2 minutes could sit fishing on a lake for hours on end, but when you live in a world with so much external stimulus attacking your senses, removing them and being able to focus on one thing is a welcome relief. It’s not about resting the body, it’s about resting the mind!



Therefore being outside, reducing the lights, the noises, the other children etc gives them a rare opportunity to focus and some relief from a school world where they are bombarded with over stimulus and expected to fit in a box. ADHD once served as an incredibly important tool that kept people alive. Whether it’s Spiderman’s ‘Spidey Sense’ or Daredevils heightened senses, these are seen as superpowers – but the child who notices every sound, change, smell and is hypervigilant is seen as troublesome because they can’t focus. In the past their ADHD would have been the difference between them having food and becoming food but now it’s seen as a disability. Skills like these on a sports field, or attention to detail in an art class cannot be taught.

Resilience and working out of their comfort zone

We have so many children who want us to prescribe them everything and because we are teaching to such a stringent curriculum this becomes the normal way of learning – and when it does come to being creative or having a debate, many children find this really challenging. They don’t like to come out of this comfort zone they are used to and many are faced with apprehension and anxiety. Now the child in class with ADHD lives in apprehension and anxiety all the time but given the right topic, the desire to pursue and explore gazumps those feelings every time. The thirst for knowledge and blinkered enthusiasm means that being out of the comfort zone is an adventure and they will be able to stay on task.

Brainstormers and team leaders

Given the right topic, a child with ADHD can excel in group activities, thinking outside the box and motivating the group


Given the right topic, a child with ADHD can excel in group activities, thinking outside the box and motivating the group. They can take an idea and run with it. Many classes have a child who is difficult to engage but the other children look up to. As staff if we can engage that child then the rest of the class will follow their lead, all too often though we take the easy option and withdraw this pupil.
If their confidence hasn’t been destroyed by the time they leave school and they can find the right work field, this child will be a brilliant brainstormer and an infectious team leader. It is one thing to be able to complete a task well, it is something else to motivate others with your enthusiasm.


We put emphasis on whether a child is a visual, audio or kinaesthetic learner. Surely we are missing a trick by not teaching these children in a way that gets the most from them. What if we pooled the skills of our children with high functioning ASD and ADHD to a research and development team in school and just allowed them to learn in a way that their brain is designed for rather than trying to prescribe the same stuff they struggle to focus on everyday and setting them up to fail. These children are labelled as ‘naughty’. Were they ever labelled as naughty when they were reading their favourite dinosaur book, searching the garden for minibeasts or trying to fix something?


They may have been labelled naughty for breaking it in the first place but is it still destructive if you break something just to learn how to fix it?


A final thought is that if your child with ASD has a thirst for knowledge that allows them to be an incredible researcher and your child with ADHD has the desire to be an incredible developer, then your child with a combination of both really is a 1 person research and development team who many employers dream of. So what do we do with these abilities? We train it out of them and try to make them a round peg! We give them their prescribed education programme. Then either; at best they manage it, supress their desires and we delay them reaching their potential. Or they fight the system, get labelled naughty and disruptive. They spend their days in education believing that there is something wrong with them and they are bad. The only question then is how much damage is done by the time they reach the right education and how long will it take to repair?



Graham Chatterley



Graham would like to invite ideas for contributions, so if you have any SEND issues you’d like to hear from him on, why not get in touch with Axcis today? And don’t forget to register or check out our jobs pages if you’re seeking SEND work or staff!

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Introducing our new Axcis London consultant…

Axcis is continuing to grow as more and more schools hear about us and start using our services. As a result, our London office has a new consultant – Blake Simpson, so if you’re seeking work (or staff) in the Wandsworth, Merton or Sutton areas, why not get in touch with Blake? Find out a bit more about him here.

We asked Blake to tell us about himself:

Blake Simpson

Prior to joining Axcis, I worked as a recruitment consultant for early years education. This gave me a fantastic grounding in recruitment but also sparked an interest in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).


I find it extremely rewarding knowing that I am making a difference to children who find learning and other activities difficult. I do this by finding them staff who can provide the exact support they need – not only academically but also emotionally. I think this is essential for the young people to reach their full potential.


I pride myself on my ability to form effective working relationships with candidates and clients alike. I have previous experience in hospitality which I feel really helps with this.


My hobbies are sport and music. In my spare time, I play 11-a-side football and also go to a lot of festivals and gigs. I love music and listen to lots of different genres.


Would you like to work with Blake?

Blake covers the Wandsworth, Merton and Sutton areas for Axcis. If you are seeking work (or staff) in those locations, then get in touch with Blake today to see how he can help. Or if you’re seeking work in any other area, register online and we will put you in touch with your personal consultant in your local office.


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5 reasons we can’t wait for the Autism Professionals Conference

As proud supporters of the National Autistic Society, Axcis are thrilled to sponsor both the Autism Professionals Conference and an Autism Professionals Award, as well as speaking and exhibiting at this event being held on the 7th and 8th March in Harrogate. Here are 5 reasons we can’t wait to go:

1. Great development opportunities

Expert speakers will present an overview of the changing environment and the latest developments in the field of autism. Hear key information and learn from case studies illustrating best practice. With four different seminar streams to choose from, delegates can select the options which are most relevant to their work.

2. Teddy bear’s picnic

picnic andy

Join us for a teddy bear’s picnic at the NAS Conference in March

Axcis are running a “teddy bear’s picnic” at the conference this year – come and collect an entry form from our stand, locate the 10 Axcis Andy bears hidden around the venue and make a note of all the food he’s bringing to the picnic for your chance to win a £50 shopping voucher.

3. SEND recruitment advice

We’re looking forward to speaking to school staff about their recruitment needs at this year’s conference. Whether you’re seeking specialist SEND staff for your provision, or looking for a new role yourself, why not come and have a chat to us on the Axcis stand? Our dedicated professionals will give you free, no obligation recruitment advice, so what do you have to lose?


4. Autism Professionals Awards

On the evening of the 7th March, the National Autistic Society will hold their annual Autism Professionals Awards. Axcis are again proud to sponsor an award for Achievement by an Individual Education Professional. Shortlisted for this award are:

Adele Beeson


Adele started her career as a primary teacher with an interest in special educational needs. With the diagnosis of her son she became interested in autism and retrained as an autism professional. She has since supported autistic people across the full age-range in a variety of settings.


Adele now works as a specialist study skills tutor for Spectrum First ltd.  supporting university students to achieve their full potential. Her special interest within the field is sensory processing and she has been working with her students to develop a sensory curriculum as an awareness-building tool. She has recently led staff training in sensory processing.


Adele was diagnosed with autism and ADHD while studying for the MA Autism Spectrum which she completed in 2017.

Joanna Hastwell, Disability Adviser (Autism), University Cambridge


From studying fine art and the representation of disability in art, Joanna began her career in education. Nearly 15 years later Joanna has gone on to work on inclusion in higher education and universal design for learning. Some time ago Joanna studied Autism at Sheffield Hallam University and has co-published participatorary research and delivered projects which have contributed to positive changes in higher education. Joanna worked for Autism Victoria in Melbourne gaining an international perspective and, back in the UK is a board member for the National Association of Disability Practitioners.


Joanna continues to support students with autism to develop their own voice on equality and diversity, and work collaboratively across disciplines to realise inclusive practice.

5. Fantastic Networking Opportunities

As always, the NAS Professional Conference will provide unparalleled networking opportunities. Whether it’s talking to peers about best practice, or hunting out speakers after their seminars for further advice or questions, you are sure to have many useful and productive conversations during your time at the conference!

How to book a place

If you’d like to book a place at this event, please visit the NAS webpage for further details.

This is how we do “service” at Axcis, we don’t just find staff, we train them too!

If we don’t have enough staff with specialist training for a client, we don’t turn them away, we find a solution! Read on for a case study in customer service, the Axcis way!

The problem

In September 2017, one of the colleges we work with opened the ‘Safe Zone’: a specialised, safe and secure provision for students with PMLD: Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. One of the key needs that staff need to support within the new provision is epilepsy, and the college asked in particular that all staff should have buccal training. Requests for teachers and teaching assistants with buccal training have more than trebled in the last academic year, so servicing the college’s ongoing needs as the unit continues to grow has been a real challenge.

The Axcis solution

At Axcis, we like to find solutions – that’s why we started to look into the possibility of running more regular training in this area for our staff, as part of our growing programme of CPD courses.


Then Sam joined the Axcis team, and her timing couldn’t have been better!


Sam ran an excellent training session

After consulting with the college, they were more than happy to have Sam come onsite to train their staff, permanent and Axcis alike, completely free of charge. If that’s not what service is, I don’t know what is…


Audery, who assisted on the course, said:

We had a great turn out, everyone in training got involved and asked detailed questions, I saw that many were inspired by her training and felt that now they are more prepared, to support the students that they work with.

Are you seeking SEND staff?

Does your SEND school or provision need well trained, specialist staff? if the answer is yes then why not get in touch with Axcis today? If we can’t find you the right people, we will do our best to train them up on your behalf. And you don’t pay a penny for our service until we find you someone you want to hire. So what is there to lose? Find out more on our website, or send us your SEND vacancy today!

Axcis February Giveaway: How to support ASC children in primary school (Lynn McCann Book)

The Axcis February Giveaway is to win this excellent book by well respected autism specialist Lynn McCann. Hear from Lynn about why she wrote the book and  enter our giveaway here.

About Lynn McCann

Lynn McCann

Lynn McCann is an independent Specialist Autism Teacher working with schools and services across Lancashire.  She is also and author, blogger, speaker, twitterer and trainer in autism related topics.

We asked Lynn why she wrote this book, here’s what she said:

Primary teachers are the most creative people I know. In just one day they explain, instruct, present, make, demonstrate, coach, advise, organise, design, guide, adapt, mentor, listen, comfort, laugh, cry and


…oh and of course…teach!


Each day there are around 30 individual human beings in our care and we want to nurture them, develop their talents, teach them the curriculum and see them make progress. We want to help them get along with others and contribute to the world. 


If one or more of those children have autism then primary teachers want the same things for those children. But a child with autism may need us to be more adaptable, do things in a different way and build a support structure around them that meets their individual needs.   Some teachers feel confident in doing this, especially if they have had some SEND training.  Others don’t.  And that’s okay… as long as the support for the teacher is available.  All teachers can earn and adapt what they do if given the right training and advice.


Having been a primary classroom teacher for fourteen years before becoming a teacher in a specialist autism school, I was always aware that busy primary classroom teachers were crying out for practical class-based ideas and resources when it came to supporting the autistic pupils in their class.   Now, as an independent specialist autism teacher working with schools all over Lancashire, I have been providing that support for teaching staff that has made a real difference for autistic pupils.  It’s a joy to see a child thrive and often, some consistent and simple adjustments can make all the difference.


The key is to understand that autism is a difference, and that the word ‘disorder’ does the child a disservice. That is why, in my book “How to support a child with autism spectrum condition in primary school”, I have used the term ‘condition’ which seems to help teachers understand that being autistic is part of the human spectrum and at the heart of it is a unique and individual child.   I’ve written the book to be a helpful guide for classroom teachers, teaching assistants and even parents who want to know what help could be given to their child in school.  The book begins by explaining what autism is, and how it might look in different children, including girls.  The following chapters give teachers practical advice about adapting the environment, supporting communication, using visuals, and accessing the curriculum.  There are chapters about sensory processing and behaviour support, social stories and developing independence.   I also share how to support social relationships in ways that build on the child’s strengths and helps them understand the world around them.  Finally, I give advice on how to support change and transition, particularly to the next stage of a child’s education.


Throughout the book, I have taken a developmental approach. Each chapter looks at how the strategies might look in the Early Years, then into KS1 and into KS2.  That way, SENCOs can support a child through the whole school and teachers can dip in and out of the book so that the strategies and support match the actual stage the child is at, rather than it being ‘you must do this or that at this age’.  It comes with a CD ROM with some helpful printable resources.  One of these is a handy social interaction tracking sheet so that you have a way of supporting the child’s development in this area and tracking their progress. It’s autism specific and covers aspects not usually covered in the curriculum tracking systems we use in schools.


I hope teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs, Head Teachers and parents might use this book as a handbook to dip in and out of as the autistic child goes through the primary school. Fill it with post-its, underline and highlight passages and write in the margins!  Have it with you as you plan and write IEPs or review targets.  And my greatest wish is that the autistic child in your class will be happy, feel accepted and given the support to thrive.


Lynn McCann 25.1.18


www.reachoutasc.com for even more resources, articles and advice.





How to enter the Axcis February Giveaway

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this great prize, why not enter our giveaway? all you need to do is follow THIS LINK and select how you’d like to enter. It takes just a few seconds and is entirely FREE of charge. So why not take a peek now and get yourself entered into this month’s Axcis Giveaway?

Register today and work for Axcis

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a SEND teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register with Axcis today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area, so if you need work, why not register now?


Terms and Conditions are applicable to all giveaway entrants.

It’s not too late to sign your school up for NSPCC Number Day 2018

“Take part and make maths count” on Friday 2nd Feb 2018 with the NSPCC Number Day. Find out how to sign up, and what resources are available here.

What is Number Day?

Andy is getting involved with Number Day – are you?

Number Day is a maths-inspired fundraising day organised and run by the NSPCC. Intended to help promote mathematics whilst at the same time raising money for a worthwhile children’s charity, it’s a great opportunity to help raise the profile of numeracy in your school!

Plan your Number Day

You’ll be provided with everything you need to make your Number Day a success. Activities and resources will be provided by the NSPCC which can be used in class or by the whole school.

You’ll get:
  • digital resources you can use in class
  • fundraising tips and ideas to help pupils and teachers raise money
  • maths activities for children of all ages
  • printed posters to promote your event
  • access to teacher resources to keep children safe from harm, supporting your school’s safeguarding

Why your support counts

The NSPCC work hard to protect every child from abuse. They do this via a broad range of initiatives and resources, and they rely on funding from amazing people across the country, who like you, believe that every childhood is worth fighting for. By getting your pupils involved in fundraising, you’re helping to keep children safe from abuse and joining the NSPCC’s fight for every childhood.

How to get involved

You can download sponsor forms or ask your pupils to bring in a donation to take part in the activities.

Examples of activities and FREE resources

Dress up for digits – Children in fancy dress

Simply ask your pupils and staff to wear an item of clothing with a number on it and bring in a suggested donation of £2.


This can be a sports shirt or cap, even a onesie. Or why not get more creative as a dice or calculator!


It’s a great opportunity to get your local press involved and to come along and take a photo of the whole school.

Downloadable activities and worksheets

There are loads of activities and resources on the NSPCC website,   these can all be found on this page. Some examples are:


KS1 – Musical Numbers

KS2 – Battle of the Robots

KS3 – Staying safe quiz

KS4 – How to be a Mathionaire Interactive Presentation/Game





There are also ideas from teachers who have joined in with number day before as well as suggestions for assemblies – so why not take a look and get involved? Even if it’s too late to organise a big event, you can still use these resources throughout the year to enhance your maths lessons and support the welfare of the children in your care.

Are you interested in working with vulnerable children?

The most important thing we can do for vulnerable children is offer them quality care and support. That’s why, at Axcis Education we strive to find only the very best teachers and support staff for the SEND schools and alternative provisions we work with. We have plenty of jobs available, and can offer training, development and support for those who lack qualifications or experience. It’s more about having a caring, supportive attitude than just what’s written on your CV – so why not register with us today? It is FREE, takes just 5 minutes and you could be starting your dream job before you know it!