SRP level 1 needs Autism / speech language and communication needs

Cognition and Learning

  • Are likely to have a specific diagnosis of Autism. Some will not have a diagnosis as yet, but may be on a diagnosis pathway and / or have a social communication need or a Speech, Language and Communication Need (SLCN) that presents in a similar way and requires a similar approach to the curriculum, teaching and learning.
  • Their needs will have a significant impact on their learning and their ability to access mainstream education without intensive specialist support.
  • At primary age will be learning at over 2 years below age-related expectations due to the impact of their specific needs, but with the right specialist support will make progress.
  • At secondary age will be learning at around 3 years below age related expectations due to the impact of their specific needs, but with the right specialist support will make progress.
  • Will have significantly greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills.
  • With the right support in place, will demonstrate learning potential.
  • Will have communication and/or processing difficulties which may lead to anxiety and impact on their confidence to engage in learning and class discussions.
  • May have an uneven profile, with higher achievement in some areas of the curriculum.
  • Will have difficulties with generalising learning and applying it in different contexts / settings.
  • May be able to maintain attention on suitable differentiated activities for at least 10 minutes in a supportive environment (relevant to age and interest).
  • With the support provided by the specialist staff will make steady progress in small steps and increasingly access more time in mainstream classes.
  • At secondary can achieve accredited / vocational learning in a supportive / smaller environment.
  • Will be learning to or can independently manage their personal care routines (dressing / undressing, toilet)
  • Will have potential to integrate into mainstream activities for over 50% of the day, which may be on a phased basis, starting with small amounts of time and building up when they are ready.

Communication and Interaction

  • Can independently communicate to make basic requests (for example, for their interests), make comments and ask simple wh- questions.
  • May have difficulties communicating to problem solve, to make jokes, ask questions, share feelings.
  • Can engage in short interactions with others around their interests or here and now events.
  • May engage in more complex conversations.
  • Will struggle to follow complex instructions (of more than 3 parts). This may lead to reduced engagement in learning or masking.
  • Their communication difficulties will be impacting on their ability to build relationships.
  • Their communication difficulties may be impacting on their wellbeing and self-esteem.
  • Some may have a tendency to talk about a ‘safe’ topic of personal interest.
  • May have difficulties with their social understanding, for example identifying the thoughts, feelings and intentions of others.
  • May have accompanying language difficulties including understanding non-literal language.

Social, emotional and mental health

  • Will need support to identify, manage and regulate their emotions.
  • Will have significant difficulties in forming and maintaining friendships with their peers and will need reasonable adjustments to behaviour expectations within a mainstream setting.
  • May have developed behaviours as a result of their learning / disability needs not being met, and in a specialist setting it may take time for them to access learning to the level of their ability.
  • May have self-esteem significantly affected by their awareness of differences between themselves and their peers.
  • Will have significant difficulties in identifying and applying strategies to avoid dangers, manage risks and keep safe.
  • Are often influenced by external factors, including current fads on the internet and through social media which can make them vulnerable to external influences.
  • At secondary may develop mental health difficulties as a consequence of their view on how others perceive them and will need support to help them to manage this.

Sensory, Physical and Medical

  • Are likely to have sensory needs, including sensory processing needs, and difficulties with coordination and motor skills that impact on their access to the curriculum.
  • Will need a low arousal environment to support readiness to learn.
  • May have a visual and / or hearing difficulty.
  • May have additional medical needs that require some medical intervention / support.
  • Will require input from a range of agencies, including specific therapies. This will be identified in their EHCP.

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

  • Will have a personalised timetable with time within the base class and time within mainstream lessons.
  • Will have access to mainstream lessons for increasing amounts of the day with decreasing amounts of support.
  • Will need a key skills approach to teaching the curriculum, emphasising literacy, numeracy and learning and social skills.
  • Will need tasks to be broken down into concrete steps, with visual prompts, and regularly revisited.
  • Concepts and abstract ideas will need to be taught repeatedly and rehearsed in other contexts.
  • Will need access to small group as well as whole class learning.
  • There will be a strong emphasis on pastoral support and the development of independence and life skills throughout their schooling.
  • May need visual reminders / social stories to learn how to navigate social situations.
  • Staffing levels will support the balance of in class support and inclusion into mainstream classes.
  • Core teaching will be mainly in the class base.
  • Some may need a fully personalised curriculum and therapy input to support successful accredited learning at secondary and preparation for adulthood.


  • Will need a specialist teaching and learning base facilities with fewer distractions and access to whole class, small group and access to proximal external space that can be used for play, to support regulation and to meet sensory needs.
  • Can integrate increasingly into the main school with decreasing adult support.
  • Will benefit from access to a low arousal environment to support with sensory and emotional regulation.

Behaviour support

  • Support in using strategies to manage their emotions and behaviour.
  • De-escalation strategies may be required to support regulation.
  • Implementation of the Ealing Therapeutic Thinking Schools approach or a similar evidence-based approach.
  • Regular support and guidance on keeping themselves safe.
  • Guidance and support on staying safe on line and not engaging in risky behaviours. Children and young people will require opportunities for overlearning.
  • Extra support and guidance in applying PSHE/RSE lessons learned in the classroom to real world applications to minimise their vulnerability.
Was this page useful? 
Last updated: 24 Jun 2024

Services for children