SENDCO Network January 2023

Welcome to our latest edition of the Catalyst Courier. If you have information to share or topics you’d like us to cover please get in touch ([email protected]) 

This SENDCO Network was held virtually, with information from Sally McCormick on parents and carers of autistic girls 

You can access a copy of the slides here: Working with Parents and Carers of Autistic Girls

In the session, we heard from Sally about her research carried out as part of the Doctorate in Education and Child Psychology at the University of Manchester. Her research aims to explore how Educational Psychologists can work effectively with parents or carers of autistic girls. Autistic girls are underrepresented in the literature, and there is also a gap in the literature on how to support parents and carers of autistic girls.



Sally's study is in the pilot stage, however initial findings have identified four themes:

Listening to parents views

Parents know the child 'best', and know what strategies work at home. EPs in the study found it important to believe and empower the parents, and trust parents when they share what is happening at home. Often Autistic girls can 'hold it together' during the day at school, then 'let it out' at home because they know its safe. Have empathy for the journey they have been on.

Up to date knowledge of the presentation of autistic girls

Having more experience in practice and research knowledge led to feeling more confident having conversations with parents about Autism. 

Raising awareness 

EPs found the following beneficial in raising awareness of Autistic girls:

  • Parent workshops
  • Understanding behaviour as communication
  • Understanding diagnostic process and SEND
  • Understanding masking and internalising


Working collaboratively with parents

Allowing parents to lead the meeting by obtaining their views at the start of the meeting. 

Further development

The next step in this study will be to gain more parent/carer views. This will involve research exploring parents’ perspectives of what they would consider to be effective, and areas of further development, when working with EPs to support their autistic daughters. Sally identified the following areas her research will look at for further development of the findings:

Increased involvement with parents 

  • Parents attending consultation in school
  • Support for parents through the diagnostic process and post diagnostic support

More structured training for parents and school staff

  • Exploring how this might address staff being more confident in having conversations about Autism with parents, and aid earlier identification

Differing views of home and school 

  • Parents not feeling believed because school staff do not see the behaviours that parents see at home.

Resources shared

SENDCO Resource Update: file link

These resources have been 'curated' by Grace Stevens, assistant psychologist, within the headings on the Resilience Framework. The attached document provides links to recent information and resources in each of the 5 aspects of  Resilience. All links are to our Catalyst website, with information, links and downloadable resources.