The STAR Toolkit has been developed by Childnet in partnership with Leicester City Council’s Building Schools for the Future programme, with input and support from three schools in Leicester. The guidance aims to equip, enable and empower educators with the relevant knowledge they need to support their learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when they are online.
By speaking to thousands of young people, parents and educators annually, we recognise that technology and the internet offer fantastic opportunities for young people, equipping them with the tools to learn, communicate and play. However, alongside these benefits there are many risks that young people with ASD may be more vulnerable to, including conduct towards others, cyberbullying, contact by strangers, trustworthiness of information and people online and exposure to inappropriate content.
This guidance will increase the knowledge and expertise of school staff in relation to internet safety practice, particularly in understanding and managing potential risks. It will also help and offer suggestions on how to promote a positive, fun and safe experience for learners with ASD.
Each of the 4 sections, which make up the STAR programme, have been developed from information gathered by teaching practitioners who work directly within this sector and the key areas of concerns they imparted. All sections feature the concept of friendship and have a focus on finding the balance between online and offline interaction.
SAFE - Keep your personal information safe
TRUST - Not everything online is true
ACTION - Always stop and tell someone if anything upsets you online
RESPECT - Be kind online
The aim of this guidance is to assist teachers in educating their pupils about the internet and to safeguard them against the dangers that a young person may come across. In this guide you will find the key messages that you will need to communicate to your pupils, and coupled with that are a few teaching methods in how you can do this.
These suggestions may not be suitable for your class, so please do adapt and use this guide as a building block for educating your pupils in the best way that you know how to do. We want your help to build this toolkit to better provide for young people with ASD so please do share your experiences using the toolkit and any adapted resources or ideas that you have used.