Autism Expertise Shared At Oxfordshire Safeguarding Workshop
GPs, social workers, nurses, educators and representatives from the justice system gathered at LVS Oxford school on Friday 11 October for a crucial workshop, supported by the Association of Child Protection Professionals (AoCPP), at which they shared knowledge and gained advice for improving safeguarding strategies in the future. The school, for young people on the autism spectrum, also led a section of the workshop specifically about children with special educational needs, which proved a valuable addition to the day.
Delegates from as far away as Yorkshire were present as Alison Chapman, Designated Nurse Safeguarding for Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, introduced the topic of affluence and safeguarding children. She was followed by Dr Joy Shacklock from the Royal College of General Practitioners, who spoke about affluence and neglect and what signs to look out for.
Expert comment on the effects of affluence on safeguarding from an autism education perspective was then delivered by LVS Oxford’s school nurse Andrea West and Head of School Louisa Allison-Bergin. Their interactive case study discussed the type of issues that can be faced by a school for children with autism, and allowed them to pose many questions to delegates on what concerns they could see and what issues they should consider as being a safeguarding risk. The shared reflections and joint discussions were rich and promoted some active learning for all participants.
It is hoped that the findings from the workshop, including the specialist autism input from LVS Oxford, will be published by the Association of Child Protection Professionals. Its monthly research journal, co-edited by Professor Jane Appleton from Oxford Brookes University and Dr Peter Sidebotham from Warwick University, is recognised by those working in safeguarding nationwide, and inclusion of the workshop’s observations could help to shape approaches to safeguarding for children in the independent sector.
Alison Chapman said: “I am grateful to LVS Oxford for sharing their experiences. It was hugely beneficial to informing delegates’ thoughts and may help shape better practice being put in to place for the future. Today will help raise the profile of the often forgotten about safeguarding needs in the independent sector and acts as a reminder of the difficult situations children from more affluent backgrounds can find themselves in”.
Louisa Allison-Bergin said: “It was fantastic that we were able to help bring together such a diverse mix of professionals who all contribute greatly to the safeguarding of children to discuss and improve responses to families in need of support. We were especially proud to be able to share our expertise in autism education to add that element to the discussion about independent education”.
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