At Gibside School we have highly trained staff who can offer a range of courses to support both professionals and families alike.


Sensory Processing

Many children with autism have a sensory processing disorder. It can present in many different ways and cause numerous barriers to learning across a wide spectrum. Children may commonly appear over or under-stimulated by a large range of stimulus and we offer support for strategies and resources that can help children stay regulated and engaged in their learning. Claire Hillary has worked with Occupational Therapists to develop her own understanding of sensory processing and provides training to help professionals to understand how this can present in learners.


At Gibside, we adopt an effective approach towards understanding, preventing, and managing instances of challenging behaviour to minimise disruption for all pupils and promote the safety of the whole school community. We ensure that all staff are responsible for implementing effective classroom management strategies to help prevent incidents of challenging behaviour. This is achieved by using such strategies as a ‘Level of Demand’ approach, following individual Positive Handling Plans, recording incidents of Challenging Behaviour alongside establishing positive relationships with our pupils. All staff are trained by our Behaviour Lead, Kathryn Beat, who has 25 years of experience working with adults and children with ASC. We can offer a range of behaviour training courses bespoke to your school’s needs.

Pathological Demand Avoidance

Pathological Demand Avoidance, or PDA, is part of the family of Pervasive Development Disorders. It can present with many different criteria often displaying as increased anxiety and resistance to routines. We offer many different management strategies and resources to help children along this spectrum to access their education in a safe and supportive environment, overcoming their barriers to learning. Our trainer, Jo Kendrick, has trained staff on how to use these effective strategies and develop an understanding of the characteristics of PDA.

Communication strategies

At Gibside, all forms of communication are valued equally as most of our children experience communication difficulties. Alongside Makaton signing, we encourage the use of objects of reference, symbol and picture support and further AAC devices. Communication underpins everything the children do and we employ these strategies in lessons and around the wider school environment. This is so that our children can develop their comprehension and expressive communication skills and apply this to their lives outside of school. Caitlin Hopkinson has experience of working with children in our main school setting, Autism bases and Early Years. She has experience in using all of our communication techniques to support learners with a wide range of needs and barriers to their learning.


We offer bespoke training packages that can be delivered to your whole staff team. For more information please contact  [email protected]