For children and young people on the autistic spectrum,
the internet can provide real opportunities for social interaction and learning
as it removes some of the challenges of face to face communication.
Despite this, they can be especially vulnerable to
Many of our students have access to electronic
devices, play online games and have social media accounts to communicate with
others. This has a big impact on developing identities, friendships,
relationships, passions and aspirations.
Breckenbrough aims to empower and protect our
students by providing them with the knowledge to stay safe online. In order to
achieve this, it is important that staff, parents and carers have a good
awareness of the risks and dangers too.
Preparing your child to use the Internet
There is a great deal of guidance available on
how to support your child to use the internet safely.
Essential Guidance Includes:
ground rules with your child about how they can use the Internet, when and for
to your child about the kind of things it is ok to look at. A basic rule could
be if I won’t let you watch it on television, it’s not ok to search for it
your child knows to come to you or another trusted adult if they see something
that upsets them.
to your child about the internet and ensure they don’t share personal
information with others online.
your child to use a nickname and avatar online and to speak to you or a trusted
adult if personal information is requested.
that if your child receives an email with an attachment that they will talk to
you before they open it.
to your child about rules for being polite and kind to others.
One way of setting appropriate boundaries
online for your child is by setting controls on devices that connect to the
internet. InternetMatters.org offers a step by step guide to make
it simple and straight forward for parents and carers to set controls on
smartphones, broadband, gaming and social media.
Create a family contract
Decide as a
family how your child can use the internet, when and for how long and write it
down and/or draw pictures. Clearly displaying rules and boundaries will make it
easier for your child to keep themselves safe. Many children on
the autistic spectrum struggle to interpret their own emotions and recognise
risky situations. It’s important that you set clear boundaries for them online
and communicate these in a way they will understand, clearly setting out what’s
ok and what’s not ok.
More young people are using the internet to
socialise and grow and it shouldn’t change the way you guide and support them.
Spend time with your child, show an interest in their online lives, talk about what
they’re doing online and reassure them they can approach you if they need
support. A number of our students use social media, I recommend to familiarise
yourself with social media applications so you can show support.
There are some useful websites for
children and young people to access regarding internet safety:
useful websites for parents are:
If you’re worried about online abuse or the
way someone has been communicating online, let CEOP know safely and securely by
clicking the link:
We cannot endorse this or any other service but we publish it as a matter of interest to students and families
Family Dog workshops provide parents of children with autism with the advice and long-term support needed for choosing and training a dog to benefit the whole family.
Book a workshop
View our workshop locations and dates for 2020Book nowOur Workshops are ideal if you:
Are at the early stages of considering getting a dog to help your child with autism
Know that you want to get a dog and are looking for help choosing and handling a dog
Already have a pet dog but would like training ideas and support
We run a series of three one day workshops for families. At these you receive a combination of practical demonstrations, discussions, hands on learning and course hand outs. Find out what our workshops cover.
Our specialist advice and support has brought life-changing benefits to whole families. Research has shown that the families we work with have lowered parental stress, they go out more together and children with autism have fewer meltdowns as a result of their pet dog.
Following the workshops, ongoing support is available to families that qualify including telephone support, online resources, and a private Facebook group.
Summer holidays are long. Often boring. This little book will hopefully give you a few ideas that you can use over the holidays to keep your mind active and even learn some new things. Why not try them out? What’s the worst that can happen?? Don’t worry – there’s ideas galore in here. Some involve some technology, some involve reading, some involve actually getting out of your chair,
but… if you try at least one of these, you’ll be better for it and you’ll learn something new!