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Access and Inclusion for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders ‘Let Me In’

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Book - Access and Inclusion for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders ‘Let Me In’

by: Matthew Hesmondhalgh and Christine Breakey

About the author:

Matthew Hesmondhalgh is Teacher in Charge at The Integrated Resource, established in 1994 within a mainstream secondary school in Sheffield, UK, and offering secondary educational opportunities for pupils with ASDs. Matthew Hesmondhalgh has also managed a charity-funded, supported employment scheme for adults with ASDs since 1996.

Christine Breakey has worked with autistic people for over 20 years in the fields of social work and education and most recently in further education where she developed the Autism Specialist Support service at The Sheffield College. She now runs an independent support service which provides staff training, independent advocacy and social / life skills teaching. Christine is married with two grown-up daughters and is a qualified social worker and lecturer. She has a BA honours degree in Communication Studies and a Masters degree in Autism. Christine welcomes visits to her website ( where she can be contacted.

ISBN: 978-1-85302-986-8

Year: 2001

Publication Info: 256pp


Based on pioneering work at their school in Sheffield, the authors of this book explore the universal issues of access and inclusion in employment and education for children and young people with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. They describe the challenges they faced in establishing and running an Integrated Resource for these children within a mainstream secondary school. The twenty-four pupils at The Resource participate in the regular school curriculum, but also learn a wide range of additional life skills. These include road safety, work-place skills and using public transport as well as expressing feelings, making choices and learning from experience. One innovative area of work at The Resource is the work placement scheme which has given pupils the opportunity to work with local companies including a supermarket and an insurance firm. In addition to this, The Resource has established a partnership with a further education college to enable their pupils to gain further support after they leave school. These projects demonstrate the encouraging possibilities in employment and the wider world for young people on the autistic spectrum.

The experiences of these special pupils and their peers and teachers provide lessons as well as messages of hope and understanding for parents and professionals within the field of autism. The authors make useful, practical suggestions for access and inclusion, showing how those with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome can participate fully in the world of work and the community.



Foreword. Introduction. 1. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. 2. The key players. 3. Parents, paperwork and pressure. 4. Counselling. 5. The National Curriculum? Not quite. 6. Integration into work. 7. Our charity – the chase for cash. 8. Post-16 – the first year. 9. Andrew’s story. 10. The final chapter? References.



This remarkable book, of great interest to both parents and professionals, will move forward the national debate on social inclusion for people with autistic spectrum disorders. Its anecdotal and personal style, backed up by a thorough understanding of the psychology of autism, makes it compulsive reading. It is also a very practical guide to exactly how children with autism and Asperger syndrome can be enabled to participate as fully valued members of society from childhood onwards. Many books and articles have pointed out that the barriers to that participation are largely within school and society rather than the individual child. What makes this book different is that it draws on experience; trial and error to show how these barriers can be removed at a local level, while at the same time arguing incisively for specific initiatives to inform national policy. There is no doubt that this book authoritatively bridges the gap between theory and practice, and should be seen as essential reading for anyone concerned with access and inclusion for people with autistic spectrum disorders.


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