1st Edition

All About Autism: A Practical Guide for Secondary Teachers

By Lynn McCann Copyright 2023
    132 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    132 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    All About Autism is an accessible and informative guide for secondary school teachers, designed to increase their knowledge and understanding of autism and enhance their toolkit with practical, adaptable strategies to support autistic learners in their care.

    The book initially explores key traits and terminology, debunks myths and misconceptions, and shines a light on the strengths and abilities of autistic learners. It then introduces readers to a range of easy-to-implement ideas for practice and concrete solutions to provide further support, all with the child at the heart. All About Autism includes:

    • Practical strategies tailored to the secondary key stages with current research broken down into easily digestible chunks
    • A focus on adaptive teaching and how to implement key strategies in different subject areas
    • Guidance on a range of topics, from supporting students with mental health and anxiety to managing group work, class work, writing difficulties, homework and exams
    • Strategies to support an understanding of puberty, relationships and sex education
    • Approaches to foster autistic pride and to promote positive attitudes to diversity in all its forms
    • Easy to dip in and out of chapters with signposting to further research, resources and support

    Taking a celebratory approach, the guide focuses on difference rather than deficit and weaves together the voices of autistic learners and parents alongside practical examples of what high-quality and adapted teaching should look like. It will be essential reading for all secondary school educators, SENCOs and parents who are supporting autistic learners aged 11-16.





    What we know about autism

    Co-occurring conditions

    Language is important

    Part 1

    How I do things differently - The voice of autistic children

    • Communication 
    • Stimming
    • Social interaction
    • Masking and ‘spoon theory’
    • The autistic sensory experience

    Part 2

    Teaching autistic children: practical strategies

    • Getting it right from the start 
    • Year 7s (11-12 years old)
    • Rules, expectations and discipline
    • Working with parents
    • Quick wins for teaching autistic children
    • Communicate with your school SENCO
    • Using teaching assistants well
    • More about learning
    • Executive Functions and autism
    • Teaching vocabulary
    • Explaining concepts and links
    • Marking and feedback
    • Group work
    • Homework
    • Revision, tests and exams
    • Behaviour and mental health
    • Setting the scene
    • What is fair to allow
    • Honesty and arguments
    • Meltdowns and shutdowns
    • Managing spoons or energy levels
    • Teaching responsibility
    • Puberty and Identity
    • Relationships and Sex Education lessons
    • Misinterpretation, or literal interpretation
    • Sensory Changes
    • Personal Hygiene and appearance
    • Peer Pressure
    • Autistic Identity
    • Gender and sexuality
    • Risk taking and problem solving
    • Bullying and online activity
    • Transitions
    • Starting secondary school
    • Daily transitions
    • Post 16 transitions

    Part 3

    Further resources and links




    Lynn McCann has been a teacher for 32 years and in that time has worked as a mainstream teacher, SENCO and for eight years was a class and outreach teacher in an autism specialist school. She set up Reachout ASC in 2014 after realising that there was a great need for good, practical, specialist support in mainstream schools. It is an independent service that specialises in autism, ADHD and PDA support, with children’s voices at the heart of all they do.

    "In this book, Lynn really speaks to teachers, recognising the lack of initial training to support the positive teaching of autistic children, but also the crucial part teachers and para-professionals can play in supporting autistic children to thrive.

    The focus on ‘getting it right from the start’ in Year 7 acknowledges the transitional difficulties many autistic young people experience but offers practical guidance on how to make this successful.  What practitioners will particularly value is the contextual positioning alongside government policy which ensures practice is reflective of national priorities.  This is, quite simply, a ‘must read’ for all secondary subject teachers." – Nicola Crossley, CEO NAS Academies Trust and National SEND representative for ASCL

    "This is a book that any Secondary teacher or SENCO will find invaluable as a tool to support good inclusive practice. It relates to subject teachers and shows understanding of the pressures but gives easy to understand and implement solutions." – Sally Glossop, Lead for the Graduated Response Herts county council

    "I wish this book had been written in my own childhood, it would have saved me many years of misery, dread and at times fear of going to school. It would have stopped the teachers from writing on my reports, "Hilary is a below average pupil and must try harder" and "Hilary is very quiet and needs to contribute more to class discussions". This needs to be mandatory reading for everyone involved in secondary education, so that all autistic young people can have the support they need, so that they can enjoy learning, and to feel positive about their future." – Hilary Forbes, Mathematics tutor and specialist Autism consultant, Reachout ASC

    "If you are a secondary practitioner looking to better understand and support the needs of autistic learners, then look no further. Driven by the voices and experiences of autistic students, this book is brimming with practical advice for best practice. It also offers invaluable insights into what's needed to create accessible learning environments where autistic learners are not only understood and supported but also valued and celebrated." – Dean Beadle, autistic speaker, trainer and writer

    "Lynn's dedication to making the world a better place for autistic people shines through this book from every page. This, combined with her understanding of what it is like to be a teacher in a busy classroom with a million things on your to-do list already, makes this book a super practical guide. If you want to do better by the autistic children in your classroom then this is the book for you." – Joanna Grace, Sensory Engagement and Inclusion specialist and Founder of The Sensory Projects. 

    "Lynn’s research and work with autistic people has once again informed her excellent books. The work with autistic young people, doing ‘what’s right for me’ is outstanding in achieving best practice for those young people and beyond to their families and classmates. I would recommend both the primary and secondary editions to inform and enable all school staff to fully understand and support the young people in their care." – Dawn Brown, SEND Assistant Head, Hertfordshire

    "This is an excellent and timely book, that will be well received by new teachers, support staff, and more experienced professionals. Written in an easy-to-read format, and addressing many of the key areas of challenge autistic learners encounter in secondary schools every day, the book draws on the vast experiences of the author alongside those of autistic young people.

    The book is packed full of first-hand advice and lived experience, covering a vast range of topics with practical advice and solutions. I am certain that if you are a new professional or experienced colleague, this book will help improve the outcomes of the autistic young people you teach." – Gareth Morewood, Educational Advisor and former secondary SENCo

    "Lynn McCann gets it. I have always been struck by her insight into autistic experiences of school, and her ability to translate them into classroom strategies that teachers can easily pick up. Her commitment to listening to autistic people, and learning from us, shine through in her work and in the many quotes used for illumination. This book makes a clear, compelling and concise case for how to make schools truly inclusive for autistic learners." – Fergus Murray, Science Teacher and Chair, Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh (AMASE)

    "A much needed book that shares with secondary school teachers WHY autistic teens find a lot of school more difficult than their non-autistic peers in their own words. It is wise, kind, and deeply practical in its approach. It has quick wins for teaching autistic children and what things to avoid. The book includes vital areas that must be dealt with differently for autistic pupils such as sex and relationship education.  Lynn shares a range of helpful strategies from supporting children settle in Year 7’s, and classroom management, to how to help them to do their best in exams." – Sarah-Jane Critchley, Author, Speaker, Consultant and Coach, Different Joy Partnership