Dear Children's Hearings Scotland,

1. Are children hearing members trained in autism?

2. If so what level of autism training are children hearing members given?

3. Which specialist providers are commissioned to provide autism training?

6. Some autistic children display challeging behaviour. It includes behaviours what would normally be considered physically aggressive are the children hearing members offered autism expert advice to understand these behaviours?

Yours faithfully,

Edward fowler

Children's Hearings Scotland

Dear Mr Fowler,

Thank you for submitting a request for information regarding training in autism for panel members. This request has been processed in line with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). An application for information held by public authorities under section 1 of FOISA requires that a public authority release all information held, subject to any applicable exemptions. Public authorities have twenty working days following the date of receipt of the request to respond to an applicant. The deadline for response is, therefore, 2nd December 2019.

Response

Please see our responses below.

1. Are children hearing members trained in autism?

We cover at pre service (our induction training for all PMs) key aspects of additional support needs (ASN), such as autism through good practice information from Mindroom; http://www.mindroom.org/, in addition we have a specific section in our new ‘child development’ online course around ASN accessible for the whole community.

2. If so what level of autism training are children hearing members given?

Introduction level.

3. Which specialist providers are commissioned to provide autism training?

We do not currently provided tailored training nationally, but do use Mindroom as a reference point.

6. Some autistic children display challenging behaviour. It includes behaviours what would normally be considered physically aggressive are the children hearing members offered autism expert advice to understand these behaviours?

Before the hearing
• Awareness raising video - We encourage our volunteers to watch the film made by SCRA in partnership with ‘Reach for autism’ regarding the experiences of someone on the autism spectrum who attends a hearing. This is so the volunteers have an awareness and understanding of some of the experiences those who have autism may go through
• Panel member profiles - Knowing what to expect can help to reduce anxiety for someone on the autistic spectrum attending a hearing. Knowing in advance who they are going to meet in their hearing can be helpful. Panel Member profiles are a positive tool for those who have an autism condition and have already helped children with autism attend hearings.
• Good practice guidance - in our procedure manual we recommend the following approaches to support someone on the autism spectrum; Invite the child, young person or adult with autism into the hearing room before other participants. This will allow them to familiarise themselves with the room a little, choose where they sit and help them feel calmer in a quieter hearing room before other people come in. Panel Members and/or the Children’s Reporter should check whether the participant could find some routine behaviours upsetting within the hearing. For example, does the person have a preference about where a person should look when speaking to them.

In the hearing
• Sensory kits – there are sensory toolkits available in hearing centres which contain sensory and fidget toys for use during hearings and panel members are encouraged and recommended to make sure these are available throughout the hearing
• Communication styles - Where possible, panel members are encouraged to explore other methods by which the participant with communication difficulties can share their views. Provide opportunities to show how they feel by using pictures, by enabling them to draw on white boards and flashcards.

Your right to request a review

You have a right under FOISA to request a review of this decision. If you wish to exercise this right, you must do so within forty working days following the date of receipt of this decision.

Your request for a review must be in writing and you must specify your name and address for correspondence. You must also identify the decision that you wish to be reviewed. Should you wish to request a review, please address your request to:

Depute Chief Executive
3rd Floor, Thistle House
91 Haymarket Terrace
Edinburgh
EH12 5HE

Your review will be undertaken by an individual not involved in the original decision making process.

Your right of appeal

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a review, you have a right under the FOISA to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner. If you wish to do so, you must appeal to the Commissioner within six months following the date of receipt of the review notice.

An appeal can be requested on the Scottish Information Commissioner’s website at: www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal

Or alternatively, you can make your appeal request in writing to:

The Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS
Email: [email address]
Tel: 01334 464610

Yours sincerely,

Sophie-Elise

Sophie-Elise Anker (she/her) | Information Governance Records Officer
Children's Hearings Scotland
3rd Floor, Thistle house, 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5HE
t: 0131 528 5502 e: [email address]  
Follow us    | www.chscotland.gov.uk

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