There are many changes that children must negotiate when transitioning between primary and secondary school. These include dealing with new, much larger and busier environments, meeting raised expectations of autonomy and planning, and managing different expectations from up to seven different teachers each day. While some primary to secondary transitions are planned well, many are poorly managed and can lead to anxiety and resistance to school which can result in poor attendance or school refusal.
While the primary to secondary transition for autistic children has been the focus of research, much of this focuses on the views of teachers and parents. Opportunities for autistic young people to share their stories in a meaningful way are rare. Even more rare are the voices of autistic girls who are less likely than boys to have been identified as autistic by the time they transition to secondary school.
This research, therefore, prioritises the voices of autistic girls as central to our learning about transitions. Read on to find out more about us and what we have been doing.
Who are we?
We are a research group made up of six autistic girls and one researcher/ex-teacher. Click on our biographies to find out more about us.
Our name – Fizzacc – is made up of our initials. We particularly like it because if you google it, it autocorrects to pizza!
What do we do?
We have been considering how we can use our experiences of education and of transitions to support other children. One of the ways in which we have been doing this is by using body mapping. This has involved making life-sized representations of ourselves and drawing, writing and collaging images that represent our feelings and experiences. Here are some images from our body maps.
What did we do next with our body maps?
We chose some of the stories from our body maps and turned them into ‘Perspective Narratives’. These show the story from two different perspectives to encourage the reader to think more deeply about our experiences. We also added some questions and talking points to each story. We hope that these stories might make the readers understand our experiences in school a bit better. Click on the titles below to read our narratives.
How can you get involved?
We have created some resources which aim to raise awareness of autistic girls’ experiences in schools. The resources are very flexible and you can choose to use all or part of them as you wish. They were designed for year 7 pupils but would be suitable for KS2 or KS3. The resources include a 6 minute video presentation alongside a number of individual and group activities. They could be delivered as a one off lesson as part of a PSHE or Citizenship curriculum or could be divided up and completed during tutor periods.
These resources are free to use. Just click on the headings to open in a new window. If you like them – please share!