Section 3Strategies and Support – Developing a ‘Triple-A Toolbox’

Section 3 - Strategies and Support : Developing a ‘Triple-A Toolbox’

This section was designed through a collaboration between the research team at the Centre for Neurodiversity and Development and the Communication and Interaction team at Durham County Council

Logo for The Centre for Neurodiversity and Development, based at Durham UniversityLogo for Durham County Council

Section 3 : Overview

Strategies

The strategies put forward in this section have been developed with the Communication and Interaction Team from Durham County Council. Further information on sources for specific strategies can be found in the toolkit PDFs that you will be able to download on slide 12 in this section. This section should take approximately 10-20 minutes to complete.

Many of the strategies will be more suitable to primary school, but some will suit older children with more insight (e.g. those strategies that rely on involving the child or young person themselves). Many of these strategies can be adapted to suit the needs of the particular child or young person you are supporting, regardless of age.

The strategies and support suggestions we put forward here are based on both research and evidence from practice. They are simple and non-costly strategies that map on to the Triple-A issues discussed throughout this resource. Which strategies will be effective will vary considerably for each person and in different situations.

Triple-A Toolbox

You will have the option to produce your own ‘Triple-A Toolbox’. This is a downloadable set of PDFs which contain details of particular strategies and examples for how to implement them. You will be able to select which strategies to add to your toolbox, and on slide 12 you will be able to download the full toolbox.

You can do this with having a particular child in mind, or with the idea of creating a collection of strategies that you can use with different children across time.

A Triple-A Toolbox should not be a static thing, as children change and develop all the time, so too do the issues that present challenges. Hopefully these ideas will give you the beginnings of a toolbox that you can take forward and add to, armed with your understanding of Triple-A difficulties.

Strategies to support Attention

The list below provides a range of strategies to support attention (with brief descriptions). Please indicate in the boxes before each, whether these are new strategies that you haven’t tried before and that you might use in the future. You can add these to your toolbox on the next page.

Strategies to support Attention

The image on the left shows an example of how the strategies would look if added to your toolbox. Please select which strategies from the list below to add to your ‘Triple-A toolbox’. You can download the full ‘Triple-A toolbox’ later.

Strategies to support Arousal

The list below provides a range of strategies to support arousal (with brief descriptions). Please indicate in the boxes before each, whether these are new strategies that you haven’t tried before and that you might use in the future. You can add these to your toolbox on the next page.

Strategies to support Arousal

The image on the left shows an example of how the strategies would look if added to your toolbox. Please select which strategies from the list below to add to your ‘Triple-A toolbox’. You can download the full ‘Triple-A toolbox’ later.

Strategies to support Anxiety

The list below provides a range of strategies to support anxiety (with brief descriptions). Please indicate in the boxes before each, whether these are new strategies that you haven’t tried before and that you might use in the future. You can add these to your toolbox on the next page.

Strategies to support Anxiety

The image on the left shows an example of how the strategies would look if added to your toolbox. Please select which strategies from the list below to add to your ‘Triple-A toolbox’. You can download the full ‘Triple-A toolbox’ later.

Download your Triple-A Toolbox

Click on the link below to download the full Triple-A Toolbox.

View/download the full Toolbox (PDF)

Download Toolbox (PDF)

 

Further support guidance: Using visual models

Iceberg Model

Stress Bucket

Arousal Curve

Planning for Success

Summary Visual Models

All of these models can be filled out alongside the child, if they are capable of doing so, to give them some autonomy around what help and support they need.

Please click here to download examples

 

 

Small adjustments can have a big impact!

Mollie shares her experience of what helps her at school.

Your Suggestions

We have provided you with a range of suggestions for support strategies mapping on to Triple-A issues. This list is not exhaustive, and you may have tried other strategies successfully that we have not listed. If there are any strategies that you feel it would be helpful for people interested in supporting Triple-A to know about, please share them in the box below. We will compile all of these and add them to this resource over time.

Section 3: Summary

In this section, we have provided suggestions for strategies that you can try when supporting a child or young person with Triple-A difficulties in school.

This is a list of suggestions to get you started in developing your own ‘Triple-A Toolbox’, and this is certainly something you will add to in the future as the children you are supporting develop and change.

Crucial to developing strategies is the evidence to support your understanding of Triple-A, as covered in Section 2, and how this relates to the individual child and their unique profile of strengths and difficulties.

Well Done!

Continue on to the next slide

Key Take Home Messages

Well done!! You have completed the content for this training resource.

Here, we mostly focussed on the relevance of Triple-A for autistic pupils, but in reality, Triple-A are experienced by many pupils who are neurodivergent (e.g. have ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Williams syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome as just some examples).

Many behaviours which might be difficult to manage in school, like outbursts, anger or distress, could be cause by Triple-A difficulties.

These are internal experiences which children and young people can find hard to articulate – hence why we really need to understand them better in order to make school life a more enjoyable experience and to promote engagement.

We hope you have found this training resource helpful. On the next page, we ask for your evaluation of it. Please do take the time to give us your feedback – we will use it to continue to develop and improve this resource, and thus, your input is really important.

Evaluation Questionnaire

Now that you have finished the Triple-A course, what would you say your current knowledge of attention, arousal and anxiety in autism is

Now that you have finished the Triple-A course, how would you rate your confidence level in supporting autistic and neurodivergent children and young people with attention, arousal and anxiety needs

Was this training resource useful?

Did it provide you with new information on Triple-A?

What was the most valuable thing that you learned?

What was the least useful aspect of this training resource?

Will this training resource help you to support children and young people with Triple-A difficulties?

Would you recommend this resource to others?

Will you change anything you do, as a result of completing this training resource?

If so, what?

Although we estimated that the training would take 1-2 hours to complete, based on our trial runs, this is the first release of the Triple-A training, and so we would be grateful if you could indicate roughly how long the resource took you to complete, so we can validate these timings for future users.

We would really like to be able to follow-up with you in the future (approx.. 6-12 month’s time) in order to be able to see if this training has had a lasting impact. Please provide your email address here if you would be happy for us to contact you to complete a brief questionnaire in 6-12 months time

Download Your Certificate

Please enter the name as you would like it to be displayed on your certificate.


Contributors

Centre for Neurodiversity and Development Research Team

  • Dr Mary Hanley
  • Prof Debbie Riby
  • Ms Jessica Hirst
  • Dr Emily McDougal
  • Ms Rosie Johnson
Communication & Interaction Team, Durham County Council

  • Dr Janet Crawford
  • Ms Liz Mulholland
  • Ms Helen Sellars
  • Ms Alex Otty
Advisory Group 

  • Ms Jayne Sayers
  • Ms Amanda Hookway
  • Mr Charlie Hookway
  • Emily @21andsensory
  • Ms Sharon Minikin
  • Ms Marie Preece
  • Ms Mollie Preece
  • Professor Sue Leekam
Curious 12

  • Gary Robson
  • Sam Raper

Department of Psychology, Durham University

  • Mr Simon Thurlbeck
  • Ms Elaine Stanton
  • Ms Sarah Stansfield

All parents, teachers, Educational Psychologists who took part in the focus groups and workshops

Most importantly, all of the autistic young people who contributed their voice to this resource by way of interviews with Jess.

THANK YOU

Well Done!

Continue on to the next slide

Section 3

Section
Complete

Jayne Sayers

Advisory team member

Jayne is the parent of an autistic 8 yr old son, and has 22 years experience in the NHS as a nuclear medicine technologist, working with patients of all ages and capabilities.

Mollie Preece

Advisory team member

In her own words, Mollie describes herself as “12 years old and I’m different in a good way. Change is difficult but with the right support I can manage it. If I feel people understand me, I can work well with them and not shut down. A loud noisy environment is just not helpful. It really helps me to learn when I have a calm and productive environment in the classroom.”

Marie Preece

Advisory team member

Marie is the parent of an autistic daughter and was diagnosed as autistic herself at the age of 45. She runs a successful business and in her spare time she is involved in various projects which aim to bring awareness and understanding of the challenges of autism in girls and women.

Sharon Minikin

Advisory team member

Sharon has taught children with Autism for 18 years and is currently SENDCO and Provision Manager of a Local Authority commissioned Resource Base for children with social communication needs.

Prof Sue Leekam

Advisory team member

Sue is an Emeritus Professor in psychology at Cardiff University and holds a Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellowship. She is an expert in neurodevelopment and especially in the areas of attention, anxiety, sensory and social differences.She is also passionate about building strong research-community relations in areas of health and education. She serves on the NHS Wales Steering Committee for Neurodevelopmental Service Improvement, and was also an advisor to the Welsh Government’s Autism Strategy.  She has been invovled in the development of training tools to improve public and professional understanding of autism [See here for free training film for front line professions on the signs of autism: see https://autismwales.org/en/community-services/i-work-with-children-in-health-social-care/the-birthday-party/ ]

Charlie Hookway

Advisory team member

Charlie was diagnosed with autism in year 4 and he is now in his final couple of weeks of A levels. He loves photography and is due to start a degree at university in September

Amanda Hookway

Advisory team member

Amanda is a mum to 3 boys. Her eldest son is on the autistic spectrum. She has worked in schools supporting students who have additional needs and learning difficulties for many years. 

Emily @21andsensory

Advisory team member

Emily has Sensory Processing Disorder (diagnosed aged 8) and is Autistic (diagnosed aged 25). She is an Illustrator, Graphic Designer and Podcaster. She enjoys discussing and drawing about her life as a sensory-being across social media at @21andsensory. Emily hosts and runs the 21andsensory Podcast where she chats to neurodiverse people from all walks of life

Helen Sellars

Advisory Teacher, Commuication & Interactin Team

Helen is an Advisory Inclusion Teacher from the Communication and Interaction Team which is part of Specialist Inclusion Services at Durham County Council. Prior to working in SEND and Inclusion, Helen was an Assistant Head Teacher and SENDCo.

Elizabeth Mulholland

Team Leader, Communication & Interaction Team

Liz is the Team Leader for the Communication and Interaction Team which is part of the SEND and Inclusion Service at Durham County Council. Prior to this Liz worked as an Advisory Inclusion Teacher within the same service having spent several years previously as a senior leader and SENDCo in a primary school.

Dr Janet Crawford

Principal Educational Psychologist

Janet is the Strategic Manager for Specialist Inclusion Support and Principal Educational Psychologist in Durham with a long standing interest in autism and neurodiversity. Janet is the current Chair of County Durham Think Autism Strategy Steering group

Rosie Johnson

Research Assistant

Rosie is a Research Assistant on this Triple-A project. Prior to this Rosie has worked as an Assistant Psychologist, including previously working in CAMHS with children and young people who are neurodivergent.

Dr Liz Jones

Project Collaborator

Liz is a mixed-method researcher with an interest in understanding the experiences of children and young people with sensory differences at school. During her PhD she explored the impact of sensory processing differences on learning and school life for autistic pupils.

Dr Emily McDougal

Project Collaborator

Emily is a researcher with an interest in understanding neurodivergent children in the context of the primary school classroom. During her PhD, she investigated the role of attention in learning for autistic pupils.

Jessica Hirst

Lead Research Assistant

Jess is the lead research assistant on this Triple-A project, having worked on it from the beginning. Indeed, some of the research Jess completed for her Masters in Developmental Psychopathology has contributed to the evidence for this training. Jess is really interested in understanding and supporting engagement and learning at school for autistic and neurodivergent pupils, and having now begun a PhD, she is focusing on developing a holistic model for learning and engagement at school for autistic and neurodivegent pupils.