The SPELL framework
What is SPELL?
The SPELL Framework was originally developed by the National Autistic Society. It is an approach designed to support people with autism.
The five aspects of SPELL are:
People with autism can find the world confusing and stressful. Providing structure and and helping people to develop structure can ease anxiety and increase confidence and independence.
At SAFE we provide structure with clear lesson expectations and visual timetables.
Positive approaches and expectations
This part of the framework is about supporting people to achieve their full potential by providing holistic support. It is about focusing on strengths and abilities, and working with the person to enhance their quality of life. At SAFE our expectations are high but realistic. We include students’ special interests wherever we can, and we have sensory input and mental health support built into our curriculum.
Empathy is vital. Understanding what excites, pleases and distresses another person is key to being able to support and educate them. We make an effort to get to know each of our students. We understand that behaviour is a form of communication, so will always try to unpick what a child is feeling when, for example, they are not able to engage with classwork.
People with neurodivergences can find too much sensory input distracting, overwhelming or distressing. Keeping a plain, calm environment mitigates this. At SAFE our classrooms are very plain. There are no displays on the walls. We try to keep everything as clear and tidy as possible, and we try to keep noise to a minimum too. Sensory equipment and toys are freely available.
It is important that good communication and positive connections are established between people with autism, their families and others working with them. We develop close relationships with our families, so that we can give the best support possible to our students.