I've been most of this year on long term supply in a PRU. This half term I've moved on to a special school and what an experience it is. The school is residential and serves the profoundly autisitc. I'm working with the 16-19 year olds. The boys are non-verbal and some are violent, but I am finding the whole experience a real eye-opener and very interesting. It's strange to get used to the 'touchy/feely' aspects of working with such youngsters, and getting then changed for swimming, or seeing them pee (or worse!) in front of you in the playground. Some of them are very vocal (not verbal) and others self harm by biting themselves (and staff on occassions). As a scientist I can't help wondering what goes on in their heads and I have suddenly become very interested in finding out more about autism and it's causes........fascinating. Also I'm being given the opportunity to learn sign language, which I'm really looking forward to. I take my hat off to all the staff (teaching and support) who work with these youngsters and feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with them. I don't feel this is a long term career move as I know in time I shall miss the academic side of teaching but I am very pleased to be able to experience this. Anyone else had any similar experiences?