Bridgend County Borough Council is continuing to provide extensive support for children and young people during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, including support for vulnerable pupils with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

Pupils with ASD are continuing to receive daily contact from staff and are in receipt of work packs which have been sent to their homes.

Featuring the involvement of speech and language therapists, the work packs have been specifically compiled to meet the individual needs of each learner, and the council is liaising closely with parents to ensure that these and other resources can be allocated and distributed appropriately.

Secure video links and other technology is enabling teachers and other staff to keep in touch with the pupils and ensure that a consistency of learning can be maintained.

Counselling and sessions with a play therapist continue to be available, while learners at Heronsbridge and Ysgol Castell special schools can also attend the hub if required.

The council’s Inclusion Service is in close contact with schools with learning resource centres (LRCs) for pupils with ASD. With regular family contact in place, staff at the LRCs have provided advice, support and guidance for individual pupils, and have received ‘social stories’ resources to distribute according to need.

In addition, ASD-specific support materials have been distributed by the Communications and Relationship Team and Educational Psychology Service (EPS). This has enabled the provision of EPS resource packs to schools and early years’ settings, all of which are ASD-friendly and feature additional social stories.

For early years and school-age pupils, Panel Autistic Diagnosis has continued, and parents have been contacted about offers of specialist placements in for September 2020.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has posed a number of significant problems for the council regarding how we support children and young people who have additional learning needs such as autism.

“I am really pleased at how school staff and officers have adapted and responded to ensure that this can be maintained despite the difficult circumstances we all face.”