ASD – Austism Spectrum Disorder

Vision Education Facilitators support schools and teachers by providing PLD that deliberately assists staff to adapt their practice to support the achievement of students with high needs.

Some of the characteristics of effective practice for students who require learning support are listed on the Inclusive Practice page.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) describes a range of conditions that includes autism and Asperger syndrome.

People with ASD have a delay or difficulty in three areas of development:

  • Language – they have difficulty understanding and using spoken language and non-verbal communication such as facial expressions and body language.
  • Social – they have difficulty understanding social interactions. which impacts on their relationships with others.
  • Thinking  – they have difficulty thinking and behaving flexibly.  They often engage in restricted, obsessive or repetitive behaviours.

A person with ASD will have a delay or difficulty in all three of these areas of development.

Every person with ASD is different as they have a range of difficulties to varying degrees in different areas.

They might have:

  • severe problems in each area
  • mild problems in each area
  • more difficulty in one or two areas.

These difficulties will vary as they age. They also depend on factors such as their gender, personality, family and cultural circumstances, and intellectual ability.

Many children with ASD under- or over-react to sensory information which is another reason for differences amongst people with ASD.  Some people can react in an over-responsive way while others react in an under-responsive way.  Those with ASD may also seek out a sensory sensation.

Responses to sensory input can be highly inconsistent and vary from day to day.  There are many factors that influence the way a person with ASD reacts to sensory information including time of day, energy levels, stress or a combination of factors.  The category of sensory information that is causing difficulty can also be different for each person. We smell, touch, hear, see and taste as our five senses respond and adapt to external stimuli.  We also respond to information received inside our bodies – from the tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive systems.


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Skillful and Strategic Professional Learning

“Our Vision facilitator (Justine) built positive relationships with everyone she worked alongside and skillfully aligned her sessions with what we needed to develop in our practice based on our strategic aims.  Her professional development with staff has grown teacher knowledge, improved practice and accelerated progress for our learners.”

Tracey Bennett
Hautapu School

Knowledgeable and Authentic Professional Development

Benneydale School has been working with Leitia for 2 years in a wide range of capacities. Leitia has run a number of Teacher Only Days focusing on effective literacy practice in the classroom and she has modelled and supported best practice related to differentiated learning programs that support accelerated learning. Leitia has worked alongside teachers in the classroom providing feedback and support on teacher effectiveness. She has supported planning meetings with teachers and worked with them to refine their programs through using a coaching model. Evidence of teacher growth due to these coaching sessions can be seen in class practice. We have found Leitia to be very knowledgeable, quick to understand our needs and work with us to create our own PLD journey. I would recommend Leitia as a facilitator for any school wanting to provide authentic opportunities for staff to challenge their thinking and work towards enhancing their practice for the benefit of all learners.

Vanessa Te Huia
Benneydale School