Adjustments and support in school
A while ago, we asked parents and carers in the group to share details of some of the reasonable adjustments in school that had helped their Daisies feel supported. Here are some of the responses:
Support during the mornings
Transitions can often be difficult for neurodivergent people. This can be especially noticeable in the mornings, when our Daisies have to put on particular (often less comfortable) clothing than they would choose for themselves, and be at school for a specific time, as well as going from a quieter environment at home to a bustling, busy one at school.
What you can do to help
Get clothes ready the night before, and reduce negative sensory input by warming the uniform on the radiator before she puts it on. Having things ready the night before reduces demands and the need to make any decisions in the morning when she may be tired or not feeling able to decide anything.
“[Difficulties in the mornings] … can also be a sleep issue, which is really common in autistic people, so if she’s not had a good night’s sleep then getting up early in the morning can be incredibly hard.”
Be prepared to stick around at drop off until she is familiar with the setting. Also allowing her to have some control over it can reduce her anxiety.
What school can do to help
Being in school early, either for breakfast club or simply arriving early, has been helpful for a number of our families. This helps to avoid the bustle and noise of everyone arriving at once, as well as making the transition from home to school easier. Some Daisies have also been allowed to enter the school via a quieter route such as the main entrance and then be met by a dedicated member of staff.
Having a named member of school staff to go to when she is feeling worried has made a big difference to some of the Daisies:
“… on the days when the nurture teacher is in school she is allowed to go straight to them. This enables her to share any particular worries for the day and get her mask on ready for lessons.”
“What works with my Eldest is a TA for 95% of her two week timetable, going early for everything (starting, lessons, end of day) going in and out through the office met and dropped off by a TA and a room that’s staffed by TAs for breaks, she even eats her lunch in there.”
“Her teacher … tries to give her a little classroom job to do [in the mornings] which helps.”
“The only thing which has worked for us has been to do our best to modify what she finds too challenging at school. We're about to start flexi-schooling, with 1 day a week at an alternative provision and 1 day at home so only 3 days to struggle in the mornings before having to tolerate school.”
Support in the classroom
There are a number of small changes which schools can make to enable our Daisies to thrive in the classroom. Here are some which have been made for families in our community:
Sensory accommodations in school
A pass or way to indicate to the teacher that she needs to leave the classroom or go to the toilet or for a sensory break (and being allowed to use it). Being allowed to use the toilet at a different time to others so it is quieter.
Ear defenders or headphones (possibly including music)
Fidget toys or other sensory items
Careful consideration of where she sits in class – either in front of the teacher to enable a quick exit if needed, or at the back to reduce the volume of the classroom, or in a quiet corner of the room which has her sensory aids in it.
“If she struggles wearing uniform some days they are fine with her wearing an alternative (I try to make it as close to uniform colour/style as possible).”
“..they moved her lesson to the Senco class so it’s quieter and smaller and have adapted the lesson plan to her ability, so she isn’t missing out! They have adapted really well so she now stays in school which she wasn’t before - she either would not go in or had a reduced timetable !”
“Mine has a wobble cushion, sloped writing desk and pencil grips. I provided them and informed the school that they had been recommended by OT… The wobble cushion has made a huge difference.”
"Mine is allowed to … hold a favourite soft toy. Attached to her toy is a fidget popper which also helps."
Emotional support in school
Our families reported that having lots of communication about planned activities can help.
"She has always been sat next to friends …even though we have never needed to ask for this. Teacher isn't worried if she isn't able to complete homework or read after school."
"During transition periods, she has had weekly sessions with the school's pastoral mentor which she found very useful.... All of this has been discussed with our (excellent) SENCO AND regular conversations with her teacher."
“[to enable my daughter to access PE] they have arranged a private room for her to get changed.”
Lunchtime can be a real struggle for many Daisies, with the combination of noisy lunch halls, smells of food, and crowds of people. Having eaten, many then also struggle with the social aspect of unstructured time with their peers. Here are some of the adjustments our families have told us about:
Eating or spending break time in a quieter location
Several of our members mentioned their Daisy using ear defenders or noise cancelling headphones in the lunch hall.
“Mine has a pass so she can go to lunch 5 mins early… She can take her lunch with one friend to the refocus room to eat so it’s quiet. The dinner ladies know her well now and have what she wants ready.”
“My eldest attends a room called the Hub for lunch and break, it’s staffed by 2 TAs and she can eat in there. My youngest eats her lunch in a side room from the hall with her friends and then goes to a thrive club which is staffed.
“Having a quiet place to go (the library)”
“My daughter is allowed to … choose one friend she can definitely sit by.”
“My daisy has to eat and spend her lunch separately to the main lunch hall and other children. She tends to have lunch in the Senco's office.
“…she’s first in the queue for lunch so she has time to let her food cool before she eats it (otherwise she doesn’t have enough time to eat)”
“She goes to dinners with the younger children so it’s less noisy … Her 1:1 also organises activities at lunchtime to help engage her with other children, it’s all led by my child so if she wants to sit and talk that’s fine too.”
Reasonable adjustments relating to food
“Since [my Daisy] moving schools, I have learned about ARFID and realised that she has some traits (very limited diet, anxiety around new foods, aversion to strong smells of other people's food). I have made her school aware, and they give her an adapted lunch with foods she will comfortably eat. (They don't allow packed lunches, so we have had to work with them to figure out what she can have)... I make sure she has a big dinner in the evening too, so even if she has picked at her food during the day, she has eaten a decent amount of food overall. “
“School also don’t stipulate what [my Daisies] can and can’t have in their lunch boxes because their diets are so restrictive.”
Organisations or other sources of information you might find helpful
Autability Facebook page
Missing the Mark Facebook page
Not Fine in School Facebook group
IPSEA information on EHCPs
Bristol Autism Support – support in schools
Autistic Girls Network - list of reasonable adjustments for the school environment.
Bristol and surrounding local authorities EHCP experiences Facebook group
EHC information on Local Authority websites:
A big thankyou to all our parent/carer community for all your contributions!
Join our community: Our private Facebook group is for sharing tips and to connect – it’s for parents or carers of neurodivergent girls or gender diverse young people in south west England.
Do you have any comments or suggestions to add? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll keep updating this page!
These organisations are recommended by our community, but are not affiliated with or recommended by NeonDaisy at all. Please see our disclaimer here.