I am a teacher
As a teacher, you can encourage the younger generation to celebrate diversity and really tackle disability hate crime at its roots.
We have developed free teaching materials and provide advice around how you can support your students who have autism or learning disabilities.
Autism and learning disability hate crime is distinct from bullying, and should be treated with more sensitivity to help make sure it doesn’t grow into a more serious crime.
Talking to students who have autism or a learning disability
You can raise a child’s confidence, prepare them for the world and help them enjoy their time at school. Children who have autism or a learning disability are more vulnerable to abuse from other people – this includes adults and strangers as well as their peers.
“My child was bullied at school and online. Both reported to the school. I had a gang of children wanting my son to go outside so they could hit him, because my son who is autistic. He’s been called a retard and someone tried to gouge his eyes out. My son was excluded for pushing the boy away.”
Sometimes, children with autism or a learning disability might find it difficult to communicate and engage with you.
There are steps you can take to help them and build up that crucial level of trust:
- Talk to them in a quiet and comfortable environment where you won’t be disturbed
- Ask if they would like to talk alone or have a parent present
- Don’t embellish, be clear with what you’re saying and avoid using metaphors
- Use visual cues to help them understand what you’re saying and so they can communicate too
- Give them extra time to process what you’re saying, think about what they want to say and communicate that with you
- Let them communicate in a way that makes them feel comfortable, their parent or carer will understand this best
- Give them clear, concise questions to answer
- Write a clear, simple plan about what you will do to help them and what they need to do
- Be aware that challenging behaviour [link] or meltdowns [link] are their way of expressing frustration at their environment and not being able to communicate. Give them time to calm down and don’t treat them as the perpetrator
- Ask them and talk to them regularly, not just about hate crime. Make sure they know they can trust you and can approach you to talk
It is important your pupils with autism and learning disabilities understand disability hate crime too.
Being aware is the first step to preventing a serious crime taking place and knowing there are people who can help provide comfort.
Download your free teaching resources and help tackle hate crime
Working with the P.S.H.E Association, Dimensions has developed free #ImWithSam learning materials to tackle autism and learning disability hate crime in the classroom.
These key stage 3 materials have been developed in partnership with the PSHE Association, the national body for Personal, Social, Health and Economic education.
Students will look at facts and myths about learning disability and autism, explore a day in Sam’s life, and look at men and women who have challenged stereotypes in the past and present.
The resources are accompanied by comprehensive teacher guidance and a full lesson plan.
All materials are quality assured by the PSHE Association and have been developed through consultation with Dimensions subject experts.
A day in Sam’s life – ImWithSam
Challenging language or behaviour – ImWithSam
Challenging Stereotypes – ImWithSam
Fact or Myth Answers – ImWithSam
Fact or Myth cards – ImWithSam
KS3 Lesson Plan – ImWithSam
Teacher Guidance – ImWithSam
Reporting a hate crime
Often, disability hate crimes committed in the school environment or surrounding areas are treated as bullying. This is potentially a pre-curser to more serious crimes and must be tackled before it escalates.
However, if the disability hate crimes are being committed on school property, it’s likely they are being committed in other environments too.
It’s important to report all instances of disability hate crime so there is an accurate report of crimes in the area and the police are aware of repeated incidences and problem areas.
If you suspect a hate crime has occurred, you can find out how to report it.
Sign up and support #ImWithSam
By signing up to support #ImWithSam and sharing our message and resources you are showing the world that autism and learning disability hate crime will not be tolerated.
Through our campaign against autism and learning disability hate crime, we are working with organisations, professionals and influencers to tackle hate crime at its roots and improve support for victims.
In the first year of #ImWithSam we worked with the Crown Prosecution Service, Police Force, Law Commission and PSHE Association. We drove changes to the criminal justice system, police training and school teaching.