Specialist Autism Support Service

What is SASS?

The Specialist Autism Support Service has been commissioned by Bath and North East Somerset Local Authority to support autistic children and young adults up to the age of 25. The young people we support must have a diagnosis of Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorder and have a B&NES home address.

Within the Specialist Autism Support Service, we take account of the following themes; not only in how we support children and young people on the autism spectrum, their families and educational settings, but also in how we work with other professionals, organisations and the wider community:

  • Providing earlier support for children and young people, particularly following new diagnosis and when supporting schools to put in autism strategies, make reasonable adjustments and seek specialist advice
  • Improving access to information and resources for all families in B&NES
  • Increasing availability of specialist services provided by health, such as Occupational Therapy, for children and young people who have autism experiencing challenges due to sensory issues and anxiety
  • Developing consistency across educational settings in their ability to meet the needs of children and young people with autism
  • Providing specialist support for complex cases and at points of high needs, for example to prevent placement breakdown
  • Ensuring greater coordination between services to reduce duplication and make the best use of valuable but finite resources
  • To develop understanding in school staff of autism and how to take a more personalised approach

 

Please see our video in support of World Autism Acceptance Week with Becca Tranter, Lead for SASS

Click here to access our padlet.

This is full of information and resources, including a link to this video on youtube.

News and Recent Updates

We would like to keep you updated with our service news and developments throughout the year, including current projects and collaborations. You can find recent information about our service here, including our termly newsletters.

SASS Information

View and Download a PDF file containing SASS Information

Universal Support

We provide a range of support at Universal Level to ensure that the needs of our autistic young people are met by all providers and families.

  • The service is available all year round, excluding Bank Holidays, with a telephone helpline available on Wednesday mornings throughout the year:

A member of the team will always be available to provide support to professionals, parents, carers and families.

  • We provide support for parents and families, which includes coffee mornings, regular access to information and opportunities to access training and advice.

Please see our ‘Support for Families’ section for further information, including our training courses for parents.

  • We provide advice and support for providers and professionals, including practical strategies and resources, alongside collaborating with other agencies and providing signposting where required.
  • We have written a ‘Specialist Autism Support Service Guide for Education Settings  which is designed to support practitioners to implement effective autism strategies and develop a graduated approach.
  • We have also written a  SASS Strategies for supporting children on the Autism Spectrum in the Early Years Guide which contains strategies for supporting very young autistic children in the early years.
  • We lead and develop the ‘Autism Champion’ networks across B&NES for key staff in B&NES Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Post 16/Further Education settings. These networks are for professionals within the settings above who would like to become an advocate for their young people on the autism spectrum. We are aiming for all schools and education settings within B&NES to have an identified Autism Champion, who can support our autistic young people and their families.
  • We work closely with other services and organisations across B&NES, such as Health incorporating Speech and Language Therapists, Health Visitors, School Nurses and Paediatricians. We will also be continuing to work with the Local Authority, Social Care and parents/carers. This is a key outcome for our service and an active contribution to the multi-agency, B&NES-wide autism strategy.
  • We also contribute to the dedicated autism pages within the Live Well B&NES Site/Rainbow Resource, which is the Local Offer in B&NES. Please see the website for further information: https://livewell.bathnes.gov.uk/special-educational-need-or-disability-send/autism
  • We promote the use of the AET Progression Framework and provide support where required to implement this within education settings to better meet the needs of all learners on the autism spectrum. For more information and to download this free resource, please visit: https://www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk/framework-documents
  • We offer training and continuing professional development for professionals, including using the AET; Autism Education Trust training modules.  Please see our ‘Training for Professionals’ section for further information.
  • We provide transition advice and support where requested, to support young people to transition successfully to their next setting.

Targeted and Specialist Support

We work closely with B&NES settings to provide support at SEN/Targeted support level where needed, which includes assessing needs and providing recommendations, support with understanding diagnosis, contributing to the EHCP process and attendance at subsequent annual reviews and multi-agency meetings. 

  • We contribute to the EHCP Needs Assessment process as requested by the SEND Team in the Local Authority.

 

  • We provide support around key transitions in some cases where a young person requires additional, specialist support, alongside attending key Annual Reviews and multi agency meetings to support our young people.

 

  • We provide bespoke training and support to professionals and parents/carers to meet the needs of specific young people where required, which includes working in partnership with specialist colleagues, assessing needs and providing recommendations and working with individual students and their families to support them in understanding their diagnosis.

 

The SASS team also provides direct, time limited support for some autistic individuals at specialist level where there is a significantly increased need for intensive support. The need for this will be assessed on an individual basis and specific support may be provided.

Referral Process

Education settings are able to refer young people to our service if they meet our referral criteria, which includes ensuring that all strategies have been implemented at Universal Level and that settings have received the AET: Making Sense of Autism Training.

Our referral form can be downloaded here, alongside in the Professionals section on the Rainbow Resource website.

Once we receive a referral, a member of our team will be allocated to the young person’s case and will make a school visit. This will involve meeting with and/or observing the young person as appropriate, meeting with key adults who know them well such as teachers, teaching assistants and SENCOs, alongside having a discussion or meeting with the young person’s parents/carers. Once we have been able to build a more accurate picture of the young person’s needs, we will offer strategies and advice to support them within their educational setting.

This will involve the modelling and use of the AET; Autism Education Trust Progression Framework, to set priorities that are important to the learner and reflect their needs, which we will review during a follow up visit or discussion 6 weeks later.

The young person will always be invited to give their thoughts and perspective on their provision and how they are feeling, which will form a significant part of their support plan and recommendations. We recognise the importance of the young person’s voice and how they can communicate their individual needs.

 

Who is in the team?

The Lead for the Specialist Autism Support Service is Rebecca Tranter, who leads the following:

  • Specialist teachers, who all have mainstream and special school experience including working with autistic children and young people.
  • Specialist autism advisors, who all have considerable experience of working with autistic children and young people and are also trained as parent support workers.
  • 1 service administrator, who is also involved with developing our training offer.
  • 1 part time occupational therapist, who supports schools to develop enabling environments for their autistic students, alongside providing sensory processing assessments, specialist advice and support, and training events.
  • 1 part time autism and anxiety practitioner who, when appointed, will work directly with a caseload of autistic children and young people using evidenced based approaches on a lime limited basis. They will also contribute to the CPD offer and in particular liaise with Child Health and CAMHS.

Training and Support for Families

The Specialist Autism Support Service provides support and advice for families, including training for parents/carers. This training is delivered by members of the SASS team, who all have experience in understanding the needs of children and young people living with a diagnosis of autism and recognise the impact this can have on family life.

Here are our upcoming training opportunities for parents, which include the following courses:

  • Autism strategies in the home for younger children
  • Autism strategies in the home for teenagers and young adults
  • Understanding girls on the autism spectrum
  • Sensory processing: how autistic children view the world
  • Sensory processing: how autistic teenagers view the world
  • How to write social scripts at home
  • Sensory processing: strategies for real life for autistic children
  • Sensory processing: strategies for real life for autistic teenagers

 

We also deliver the following training programmes for parents, which are delivered over a number of weeks (face to face and online):

  • Barnados Cygnet programme (Core) – For parents of children aged 4 – 18
  • Barnados Cygnet programme – Siblings
  • Barnados Cygnet programme – Sex, Relationships and Puberty
  • Barnados Cygnet programme – Sleep
  • SPACE programme – For parents of very young children

Parent courses 

For more information or to speak to a team member about any of these courses, please contact sass@fossewayschool.com or phone 01761 412198 Ext 2.

All of our training for families is also detailed on the Rainbow Resource autism pages (https://livewell.bathnes.gov.uk/special-educational-need-or-disability-send/autism)

For more information or to speak to a team member about any of these courses, please contact sass@fossewayschool.com or phone 01761 412198 Ext 2.

All of our training for families is also detailed on the Rainbow Resource autism pages (https://livewell.bathnes.gov.uk/special-educational-need-or-disability-send/autism)

We also recognise that young people and their families may require some immediate support following their diagnosis. Please see our leaflet, which is shared with families during the post-diagnosis interview: SASS Diagnosis Support Leaflet

We also provide support for parents through our coffee mornings, where parents can come to Longfellows Café and gain informal advice and support from our team members, alongside having the opportunity to meet with other parents. We have developed positive relationships with other agencies such as SEND Partnership and the Children’s Centre, who will be joining us on certain dates throughout the year to provide additional advice and support.

Coffee mornings  at Longfellows  with Hannah and Hayley

Coffee morning- at Twerton

We have also designed a ‘Padlet’ for parents, which we keep updated with relevant resources, news and opportunities for families. If your family is part of the autistic community in B&NES, then please join our padlet  from the button below.

This is very easy to use – It is like a fridge door with lots of sticky notes on it!

Training for Professionals

Autism Champions

We have developed a comprehensive training offer for professionals to ensure all practitioners are well equipped to meet the needs of their learners on the autism spectrum. We also host our Autism Champions networks throughout the year.

Our Autism Champions network provides a valuable opportunity for professionals in schools to work together to support their autistic young people and their families. Our Autism Champions are skilled practitioners, who are often the first point of contact for young people and are committed to enhancing autism provision within their settings. They do a fantastic job and I would like to thank all of our champions for their commitment to their roles and ‘making a difference’ every day.

Becca Tranter

Lead for Specialist Autism Support Service

The network of Autism Champions always shows to us at the service what a wealth of interesting, hard-working and curious staff there are out there in B&NES and beyond. They are committed to making their settings inclusive and happy places in which autistic young people are valued and able to thrive.

 The champions meet three times a year, with a focus to each training session informed by the groups areas of need, but sharing of resources happens throughout the school year. It can be difficult sometimes to advocate for the autistic learners in your setting, when there are so many competing pressures and targets. Champions gives you that boost of knowledge and support giving you the confidence to spread awareness of the experiences of autistic young people and the steps your setting can take to be truly accepting of neurodiversity’

Sarah Keelty

Teacher – Specialist Autism Support Service

We are aiming for all schools and education settings in B&NES to have an identified Autism Champion, who can support autistic pupils and their families. Autism champions can be any professional from the settings above who would like to become an advocate for their children and young adults on the autism spectrum. Autism champions will have an existing awareness of autism, compassion for the children and young people they work with and a desire to further their professional development and nurture the understanding of others. If you would like to become an Autism Champion for your setting, please contact the SASS team for more information and to join our growing network.

We offer training and continuing professional development for professionals using the AET Professional Development Programme, which includes the Early Years Programme, Schools Programme and Post 16 Programme. For more information about the AET programme and training options, please see the Autism Education Trust website: www.autismeducationtrust.org

Please see the ‘News’ section of the AET website for most recent developments and updates from the Autism Education Trust: https://www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk/news

We also offer training and continuing professional development for professionals using open or bespoke training options, which include courses such as:

  • Universal Classroom Strategies in the Early Years/Primary
  • Universal Classroom Strategies for Secondary/Post 16
  • Developing Social and Friendship Skills
  • Sensory processing: Understanding the basics
  • Understanding girls on the autism spectrum
  • Sensory processing: Universal strategies to support autistic children and young people
  • Sensory interaction
  • How to write social scripts

Please see our list of training courses for professionals below and for more information or to book a place on one of our courses, please visit https://thepartnershiptrustcpd.co.uk/ or email training@thepartnershiptrustcpd.com

Meet the SASS Team

Becca Tranter

Becca Tranter

Lead for Specialist Autism Support Service

‘’Hi, I’m Becca. As the lead for the Specialist Autism Support Service, I am proud to be part of a team that puts the wellbeing and education of our autistic young people at the heart of what we do. All of our team members share a passion for developing good autism practice and work hard to ensure that all of our young people are well supported both in their educational settings and at home. Within the SASS team, we are always looking for new ways to support our young people and to ensure they have every opportunity to learn, develop and achieve their full potential.’

Sarah Keelty

Sarah Keelty

Specialist Teacher

‘Hi, I’m Sarah. As a specialist teacher within SASS I love being able to support professionals and families with strategies and resources tailored to a specific context and situation. Every autistic young person is individual and unique, so I really enjoy working with a team around the young person to discover what will work for them. I feel very proud to be working for SASS, raising the profile of autism and its positive differences. I am passionate about maintaining the self-esteem of autistic individuals and safeguarding their mental health.’

 

Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Specialist Teacher

‘Hi, I’m Carol. I had been a classroom teacher in large secondary schools for over twenty years before working in special schools and am well aware of the pressures faced by my mainstream colleagues. Working for the SASS has allowed me to support my mainstream colleagues to better understand students with autism and what that means for student learning through delivering CPD and supporting 1:1 in the classroom. I am always inspired by the way, when colleagues make often small changes, daily life for students and teachers is more productive, calmer and happy.’

Paul Ford

Paul Ford

Specialist Teacher

‘Hi, I’m Paul and I’m a teacher in the SASS team. I love my role, particularly as I meet so many children and young people who show great resilience, individuality and creativity. I enjoy working alongside young people and their families to provide them with strategies to help them to flourish and reach their full potential. My background includes child care social work and education. I have worked in both mainstream and special needs education and this experience helps me to support the children and young people to reach their full potential.’

Hayley Brimble

Hayley Brimble

Specialist Curriculum Support Technician

’Hi, I’m Hayley. I have worked at Fosse Way School for 20 years in different age groups from 4 to 19-year olds including working in Fosse Way House which is an onsite residential at Fosse Way School. I have worked for the Specialist Autism Support Service for 6 years. My area of expertise is helping with is with Early years, Nurseries, and KS1 children. Alongside this I work with parents, nursery and school staff to help with strategies to make the children happy in their surroundings and to deal with day-to-day situations.’

Hannah Hobbs

Hannah Hobbs

Lead for Specialist Autism Support Service

‘Hi, I’m Hannah and I have been part of the SASS service for 8 years. A particular part of my role that I enjoy and feel passionate about is supporting families and professionals to understand and adapt their thinking to benefit the lives of the young Autistic person. Over the years I have seen the positive impact for many families and lives/outcomes for the children.’

Emma Bailey

Emma Bailey

Specialist Occupational Therapist

‘Hi, I’m Emma and I’m an Occupational Therapist in the SASS team. I have worked with autistic young people for over 20 years and am enjoying the opportunity to deliver training and support to parents and professionals. Within the team my specialty is sensory processing and integration differences, I am also interested in the interaction of sensory differences with anxiety and executive function skills. I am constantly amazed by young people’s lived experience of autism and sensory differences and the unique perspective and challenges that this can present them with.’

 

Ken Edmonds

Ken Edmonds

Service Administrator

‘Hello. As administrator for the Specialist Autism Support Service my role is very varied and no two days are quite the same. I work closely with the professionals on the SASS team to ensure we are doing all we can to support autistic children and young people and their parents and carers. We are a very friendly and professional service.’

Ian McPherson

Ian McPherson

SASS Advisor (Adoloescents)

Hi, I’m Ian and I’m delighted to be the newest member of the SASS team! In my 19 years experience I have supported and worked with young people and adults with a broad range of additional needs and differences. My primary experience has been in residential care, supporting young people on the autism spectrum.

I have always enjoyed supporting the people in my care to thrive and flourish, to challenge themselves to take on new experiences, and to improve their own quality of life. I look forward to being part of a team that continues to have a positive impact on autistic young people and their families. 

Who is in the team?

The Lead for the Specialist Autism Support Service is Rebecca Tranter, who leads the following:

  • Specialist teachers, who all have mainstream and special school experience including working with autistic children and young people.
  • Specialist autism advisors, who all have considerable experience of working with autistic children and young people and are also trained as parent support workers.
  • 1 service administrator, who is also involved with developing our training offer.
  • 1 part time occupational therapist, who supports schools to develop enabling environments for their autistic students, alongside providing sensory processing assessments, specialist advice and support, and training events.
  • 1 part time autism and anxiety practitioner who, when appointed, will work directly with a caseload of autistic children and young people using evidenced based approaches on a lime limited basis. They will also contribute to the CPD offer and in particular liaise with Child Health and CAMHS.

SASS team January 2022

How can we access the team?

The service is based at Fosse Way School:

Email: sass@fossewayschool.com

Postal address: Fosse Way School, Longfellow Road, Radstock, BA3 3AL

Tel: 01761 412198 Ext 2