Triple-A In the Classroom
An online learning resource for
teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs,
and school leaders for supporting autistic and neurodivergent pupils
Designed to help you understand the difficulties that impact autistic and neurodivergent pupils in schools
The resource is intended primarily for educational professionals, for example teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs, and school leaders. It may also be useful for the broader school staff (administrative, lunchtime supervisors, caretakers).
Get started with our training
The resource is free and accessible to anyone who wishes to use it. To access it, you simply need to register.
The term ‘Triple-A’ represents a set of difficulties commonly experienced by autistic and neurodivergent pupils at school, namely with attention, arousal and anxiety. In this resource, we share research from the Centre for Neurodiversity and Development at Durham University that shows why Triple-A difficulties have an impact at school. We also share practical strategies that can be put in place to support Triple-A needs (developed in collaboration with the Communication and Interaction Team at Durham County Council).
Yes – this resource is free and accessible to anyone who wishes to use it. While the resource was primarily designed for educational professionals (teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs and school leaders), it will be relevant to a wide range of people such as broader school staff (e.g. administrative staff, lunchtime supervisors), families who have neurodivergent children, and people who work to support neurodiverse groups.
We estimate that it will take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete this resource. You do not have to complete it in one go, you can do it at your own pace, and you can return to complete sections of the resource when it suits you. You will receive a certificate of completion once you have finished.
The aim of this resource is to raise awareness and understanding among educational professionals of Triple-A issues at school for autistic and neurodivergent pupils. It will benefit educational professionals by providing up-to-date research and training on these issues. Most importantly, the ultimate aim of this resource is to benefit autistic and neurodivergent pupils at school who require understanding and support with Triple-A issues.
In this resource, we will be using predominantly identity-first language, as this reflects the broad preference of the autism community. However, as there is no overall consensus around identity-first/person-first language usage in the autism community (Kenny et al., 2016), we will sometimes vary the language we use to reflect this. To reflect other language preferences from the autism community, we will not use ‘autism spectrum disorder’, but other terms; such as autistic and autism spectrum condition (ASC).
Please see here for further reading on this issue:
Kenny, L., Hattersley, C., Molins, B., Buckley, C., Povey, C. & Pellicano, E. (2016). Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community. Autism, 20(4), 442-462. Doi: 10.1177/1362361315588200
The approach behind this training tool is underpinned by the neurodiversity paradigm. The concept of neurodiversity reflects the fact that all of our brains work differently, and as such, we all think and behave differently. Neurodivergence refers to differences (e.g. in thinking and behaviour) that diverge from what is ‘neurotypical’. For example, people who are autistic or who have ADHD, could be considered as being neurodivergent. Sometimes neurodivergent people can experience challenges in some situations. In this training tool, we look at the issues that can arise for autistic and neurodivergent pupils at school, because the school environment can provide lots of challenges for neurodivergent pupils.
For academic reading on neurodiversity, see here: Pellicano, E., & den Houting, J. (2021). Annual Research Review: Shifting from ‘normal science’ to neurodiversity in autism science. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
For an accessible talk on neurodiversity and school, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iUHHmHftQs