''Puzzle is a very special place for special children - I wish I had found you sooner. I don’t know where I would be now if our son hadn’t come to Puzzle as I was quickly running out of ways I could help him. I can’t believe the change in our child, he is really blossoming into a lovely little boy.” (Parent)
Puzzle is a specialist early intervention centre based in Buckinghamshire, providing a specialist nursery for children on the autism spectrum aged between two and five. The centre is run by founder and director Alex Stanyer, and the nursery is managed by a specialist teacher who works in conjunction with a speech and language therapist to plan and deliver the foundation stage curriculum to meet the needs of children who are on the autism spectrum, or have other significant communication needs.
All children receive one to one support, teaching and therapy at each session, and an occupational therapist provides regular advice and guidance. Each family also receives regular home visits, and training workshops are available for parents throughout the year. Most children who attend Puzzle also attend a mainstream setting, and Puzzle staff will support this setting through visits as well as invitations for staff to spend time at Puzzle to observe the techniques and approaches used.
Puzzle is an Early Years provision and is also monitored by the local authority as an Independent Special School. It is registered with OFSTED as a day care setting and was judged to be providing outstanding care and education in every area at inspections in both 2006 and 2010.
This case study describes how Puzzle started and now operates, providing details of the approaches used for effective early intervention and transition, outreach services offered to both parents and professionals, and the challenges of funding the provision. Information and evaluation resources are also available to download.