The child’s name has been changed for identification purposes


Sophie has complex ASD and severe learning difficulties.

With limited experience of school prior to arrival at Kingfisher School, Sophie exhibited extremely challenging behaviour on arrival. 

During the first few weeks of school, Sophie struggled to attend school safely and was not ready for learning. Her anxiety levels were extremely high, and she was regularly reaching a crisis point of significantly challenging behaviour.

Action taken

A detailed Anxiety Response plan was formulated, then constantly reviewed and developed as staff became more familiar with Sophie’s triggers.

She was only able to safely attend activities involving the iPad, computer or water play.

A sensory profile was completed through Occupational Therapy and TEACCH approaches introduced.

Sophie began by completing simple tasks (posting, matching etc.) at the work station with 1:1 support from an adult before accessing a choosing box of her favourite things.

At the beginning of the term Sophie began to use single words to make requests for motivating objects and activities such as “Ipad” and “biscuit”. A referral was made to Speech and Language Therapy for further advice to support Sophie’s communication.

Sophie was referred for Special Play and began to work alongside the Play Therapist and a familiar member of the class team in the Play Room once a week. Sophie developed her social interaction skills during these sessions as well as her vocabulary and pretend play skills.


Emphasis on Getting Ready for Learning strategies has been key in enabling Sophie to access learning and make progress.

Sophie began her latest school term significantly calmer and more ready to learn than the previous term. She was comfortable with coming into the classroom and was now familiar with her daily routine.   

Sophie grew in confidence and became more trusting of the staff that she worked with she began to be engaged by a variety of tasks – enjoying school more.

Her teacher said: “She is able to calmly attend to a range of different activities and has accepted being drawn into new and unfamiliar tasks (now that she has developed confidence as a learner and good relationships with class staff.”

Sophie has since been able to attend to the school day alongside her peers with minimal support. Class staff have a greater understanding of the activities that engaged her and were able to identify times that she was not feeling ready to learn and support her to reduce her anxiety levels at these times.

Play Therapy has helped support and develop Mum’s relationship with Sophie at home in better understanding her communication.