Before our fieldtrip we identified that one of our students had autism. With the student, and in this case the parents, we created a risk assessment to identify particular triggering points and also how to deal with the student if issues occurred.

We were a few days into the trip when, one evening, the hotel was delayed in getting our food out. Our students were already quite tired and hungry and unfortunately this seemed to trigger our student with autism. As the wait continued, the student got more and more wound up. Aware of this, the student took themselves off to their bedroom and a member of staff accompanied the student, as per the risk assessment. It was good that the student identified how they were feeling and took themselves out of the situation. However, the student ended up trashing their hotel room. However, as per the risk assessment, the member of staff did not intervene until safe to do so but was there to ensure the student remained safe. When the student had calmed down, the member of staff sat with the student and when ready took them for something to eat.

To keep the student calm for the remainder of the trip we reviewed some of our practices. Firstly, the student seemed to prefer to be with staff rather than the other students so we ensured the student was close to a member of staff (on a rotational basis) throughout the rest of the trip. This ensured we could also keep an eye on the student and could act quicker if we felt the student was getting wound up. Secondly, we kept student groups the same (rather than mixing up groups) throughout the trip to minimize change.

In this situation having a risk assessment to address a particular student's needs was essential and meant we had clear procedures to follow when things occurred.