Autism and Social Communication needs

The Specialist Teaching and Preschool Service hosts a team of Specialist Teachers and Autism Support Workers who provide specialist educational advice and support for children with autism or social communication needs. We offer advice, support, training and consultancy to primary schools, and to receiving secondary schools at the point of transfer from primary. The team may also work with other service colleagues, such as SEN Partnership workers, to create more holistic support when appropriate.  The model of support adheres to the national Autism Education Trust framework.

We liaise with a range of professionals including

  • school staff
  • speech and language therapists
  • other health and social care professionals
  • educational psychologists
  • other specialist teachers

Prior to starting primary school, your child may have been receiving support from our Preschool service (Good Beginnings programme), and liaison will take place to ensure a smooth, supported transition to school-based support.

Once your child is at school, support may include:

  • Advising schools on the effective use of support staff to promote inclusion and independence
  • Providing guidance regarding monitoring your child’s progress in relation to individual targets and learning intentions (Autism Progression Framework)
  • Raising staff awareness of the strengths and needs of children with ASC needs
  • Signposting to other support agencies or sources of useful information and support
  • Liaising closely with therapists/other professionals to ensure that your child’s needs are being met
  • Providing advice and guidance to teachers and support staff on differentiating the curriculum and modification of tasks/resources
  • Providing training to schools’ staff and signposting to other relevant training
  • Helping with preparation and planning for your child’s transition between key stages

The team contributes to a number of parent support groups, and facilitates Good Futures workshops for schools and parents together, where those schools identify families who might benefit.

The team shares ideas and resources via the Pinterest website. The team’s Pinterest boards are designed to support school staff who are working with pupils who have social communication needs and/or autism spectrum conditions.

Lead Specialist Teacher (Autism and Social Communication needs): Maggie Butler

Feedback, compliments and complaints

Feedback on the service can be submitted directly to the service management team on:

If you have a concern about the service you have received please discuss directly with the member of staff who has been working with you in the first instance. If this does not resolve the issue please contact the area management team (as below) and your concern will be directed to the appropriate person for a response.





If you still have concerns then please use the Essex County Council formal complaints procedure.

Who the service provides for

Specialist Teachers for pupils with Autism and Social Communication (ASC) needs provide advice and support to schools in meeting the needs of pupils who attend an Essex mainstream school, from transition into the Reception Class to their transfer to secondary school.

Schools can access support from this team if your child has a diagnosis of autism or social communication needs that significantly affect his or her ability to access the school curriculum.

Hours of operation

Specialist Teachers (Autism and Social Communication Difficulties) and Autism Support Workers provide a service during term-time only. Home-School Partnership Workers provide a service all year round.

How the service is accessed

Specialist Teachers (ASC) provide a service for schools, directly accessed by school staff. Typically, requests for service involvement in relation to individual children and young people are made by class teachers, Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) or headteachers.

Operational locations

  • Essex


County Hall
Market Road