The curriculum at Cumbria Academy for Autism is designed to deliver improved life outcomes for children and young people with Autism and thus create ‘life changing opportunity’, as set out in our vision for the school. It will prepare students for adulthood by offering them a learning experience which explicitly teaches valuable life skills alongside core academic elements of learning.
The curriculum will have a strong academic focus but will be supplemented by high levels of intervention and therapy. It will be teacher led with significant input and guidance on the delivery of learning for each child from inhouse professionals and therapists, who will continuously assess, monitor and evaluate the performance of every student ensuring that their Individual Education Plans (IEPs) reflect their individual requirements and are constantly relevant, effective and current.
Our ACADEMIC Curriculum
As appropriate for our students, CAA will offer a flexible, differentiated curriculum and range of qualifications to meet individual need e.g. ASDAN, GCSE’s, Vocational Qualifications and Apprenticeships through links with local employers and FE colleges. We will offer a core of 5 exam subjects plus optional choice groups. Typically, the Key Stage 5 provision will be for those pupils who are deemed not to be yet ready for a full-time course at a college of further education, or permanent employment or training placements. They will benefit from part-time attendance at further education provision or work experience placements, supported by CAA. Vocational Qualifications and Apprenticeships will be offered through links with local employers and FE colleges to provide a focused vocational/transitional programme of learning.
Our THERAPEUTIC Curriculum
Communication: For some of our students, although speech may appear well developed,
they will lack comprehension, have an inability to hold a meaningful conversation and struggle to process and follow instruction. Non-verbal clues such as facial expression, body language and gesture along with social timing are often misinterpreted or missed completely.
Other students may, however, present with limited language and verbal ability and will require significant input from our speech and language therapist. A varied approach to communication will be adopted with the aim of developing both non-verbal and verbal communication abilities as well as social interaction, attention and understanding.
Social & Emotional Wellbeing: CAA recognises that our learners need to learn how to socially interact, they need to be explicitly taught skills such as reading facial expressions, empathy and conversation. Students may have difficulty recognising or understanding other people's emotions and feelings, and expressing their own.
A variety of programmes, such as SULP, will be used on a 1-1 basis and in small groups. A sensory profile assessment of each student will be carried out to identify individual needs and where appropriate a bespoke sensory diet will be prescribed with the support of Occupational Therapy. Awareness and understanding of the sensory issues related to autism will enable staff to understand and manage difficulties faced by students.
Throughout the school, there will be a comprehensive programme of personal, social, health and citizenship education (PSHCE) which will have a strong focus on developing pupils’ social, emotional and personal skills.
Our LIFE SKILLS Curriculum
We aim to work intensively with our students to help them develop life skills and prepare them for life beyond education. Our dedicated life skills flat, comprised of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen will enable our students to explicitly learn basic living skills such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, dressing and personal hygiene. In addition essential skills for independent living, such as shopping, paying bills, exercise, making healthy choices and navigating their community, will be taught as part of the curriculum.
Intervention will focus on teaching missing skills and fading assistance until the tasks can be carried out independently, promoting independence that will support transitions into adulthood, helping our students prepare for their future.