I have an autistic student in one of my classes who has been assigned a LSA. He has said that he doesnt want to be singled out in the classroom as 'the kid who needs help' which is fair enough, so the LSA tends to take a step back but then he easily gets distracted and doesnt do any work, when really he needs somebody next to him to motivate him.

I feel that this may be a peer pressure thing and there are a group of lads in this class that may comment on it if he is given extra help. Obviously I think he needs extra assistance but also dont want to instigate any negative or teasing comments which would then have to be dealt with.

Any thoughts?

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So "help" everybody.  Instead of going directly to this young man for help, go over to several of his classmates around him, offering suggestions, giving feedback, and assistance...then go to him.  That way he isn"t singled out and he---and other classmates who probably also need help---get it!

Hello Alex, I used to work in a challenging behaviour unit for adults with Autism so I hope I can help.

Learners who have an Autism Spectrum condition require support from as early as possible and need the time to build a trusting relationship with their LSA. It is rare that an individual on the Spectrum doesn’t also experience a learning difficulty, or mental or physical disabilities that they may also require assistance with. A responsible adult that the learner can trust may be required in situations where challenging behaviour has arisen due to teaching professionals or fellow class mates interacting in a way that confuses or agitates the learner. Social situations and other people’s emotions can be confusing to individuals with this condition and often prefer their own company.

Individuals on the Autistic Spectrum are at particular risk of being bullied or succumb to peer pressure to ‘fit in’. Sometimes awareness is needed to help understand an individual’s circumstances and to aid further support, however I’m not sure if the student you are referring to would wish to raise awareness of his Autistic Spectrum condition...and there is every possibility that other individuals may turn it around to further discriminate him.

The Autistic ‘Spectrum’ is referred to in such a way because each individual experiences different symptoms at varying degrees. It is difficult to talk about Autism without generalising symptoms and behaviours, so you may find it helps to talk to the learner’s LSA and find out what his strengths and difficulties are in order to understand how to help him as an individual. If the LSA doesn't know how to further support this learner, is there someone in student support who has experience with Autistic Spectrum learners? It may be worth approaching the learner and try to motivate him, and possibly give him some incentives. He may need gentle regular reminding what the benefits of engaging in class are to him.

The National Autistic Society is a great place to start and they do deal with education amongst other topics


Agreeing with both Marie and Hannah here!


The help still has to be given otherwise this lad is going to fall through the cracks. The fact that you've already recognised it happening is a step in a positive direction.


Sounds like this LSA is shying away from duty a little. Thinking on what Hannah is saying, a bond is crucial between this kid and the LSA and it's the assistant's job to instigate it! If they don't form even a strand of a bond, this will keep happening time and time again.


But, like Marie says, if this LSA is proving to be more of a hinderance than a help, perhaps you should step in, offerning help to say a small group of students within the vacinity and work your way in that way maybe?


Gina :-)



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