Case studies

Pupil on the Autism Spectrum and with an EHCP not accepting of diagnosis

What was the challenge?

A year six pupil on the Autism Spectrum and with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) found it difficult to accept his diagnosis of Autism.


The pupil had recently moved to a special school having formally been at a mainstream primary school. The pupil had a sibling with a diagnosis of Autism who has significantly higher needs and the pupil found it difficult to accept that he was also on the spectrum due to the differences in presentation and previous understanding of Autism.

Approach taken by Education Services

A Specialist Practitioner from the Autism/ Complex Communications Needs Team was asked to support the pupil with an intervention to help him understand his diagnosis. The pupil was anxious about engaging with the intervention. The focus of the intervention was for the pupil to:

  • show willingness to engage with the practitioner and talk about the diagnosis
  • participate and share information about himself

The intervention was delivered over a number of visits. Initially the pupil was reticent and reluctant to engage in topics around difficulties but was open to talking about interests and strengths.

In the first visit the practitioner used a personalised interactive PowerPoint program to help explain what would happen during the intervention, build familiarity, reduce anxiety and gain information about the pupils likes and interests.

The program was heavily weighted to ascertain pupil interest in order to gain attention, strengths to promote confidence, before lightly touching on differences, which after time he became willing to talk about.

Improved outcome

As a result of the time spent with the specialist practitioner the pupil was able to see that he was different to his sibling and different to everyone else and that it was ok to be that way.

The pupil became more engaged as he moved through the program. Post intervention the school and the parents view was that he had made significant progress and showed a willingness to engage and talk about his diagnosis and share information about himself.

“(The pupil) has engaged well and participated in everything.” Teaching Assistant comment

“He wouldn’t see a professional at his previous school but was able to see you” Parent comment about the Specialist Practitioner.