The Education Authority (EA) has a dedicated Autism Advisory and Intervention Service (AAIS) which provides advice, guidance and support to educational settings, parents and carers in order to promote best practice for children and young people on the autistic spectrum. The AAIS consists of a large team of educational professionals who have specific autism training, knowledge and experience in supporting such children and young people.
At the core of the AAIS is an understanding that autism occurs across a spectrum. Therefore, the needs of each child and young person will be unique depending on their specific presentation of autism. Hence any support provided should not only embrace these wide ranging needs but also employ a variety of interventions, approaches and models to best address those needs.
The AAIS is committed to delivering high levels of quality support for children and young people referred by the Educational Psychology Service at Stages 3 or 5 of the SEN Code of Practice.
Elements of support may include:
- School consultations with staff and parents
- Individual pupil or group intervention
- Capacity building programmes
Importantly the AAIS offers a range of training programmes to promote capacity building among Learning Support Co-ordinators, teachers, classroom assistants, parents and carers. It aims to help schools identify specific professional development requirements and also to enhance all participants’ ability to support their children and young people more proactively. A core feature of this provision is the development of collaborative working practices between schools, other EA services, Health and Social Care Trust personnel and parents and carers.
Schools should also observe Department of Education recommendations such as the ‘Good Practice Guidelines’ documentation (DE 2009) and the ‘Resource file for children with special educational needs’ (DE 2011).
EA Regional Manager for Autism Advisory and Intervention Service (AAIS) - To be appointed.
AAIS Office Contact Details
Useful Website Links
- Department of Education Resource File – ASD
- Middletown Centre for Autism resources for professionals and parents
- AutismNI autism awareness information
- National Autistic Society resources
- NHS Choices information sheets
- Family Support NI Website provides details of a wide range of services provided by statutory, voluntary and community organisations to support families.