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The Facts and How to Help 
This training course is aimed at parents whose children have had a recent diagnosis of autism or for parents and family members who want to learn about autism and strategies to help.  The information provided can be applied across a range of ages and ability levels but is most suitable for children and young people in the 4-11 years age range.

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Autism, the Facts and How to Help

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ennis, Clare

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The Facts and How to Help
This training event will explain what autism is and consider the impact of autism on a child’s daily life and development. This session is the foundation for addressing the associated difficulties of behaviour that challenges, sensory processing difficulties, anxiety and social communication.  
Expected Outcomes:
Parents and family members will have an increased understanding of       
• How children with autism perceive the world.
• How children with autism think and learn.
• How to use children with autism’s strengths to help them reach their potential.
• The underlying difficulties faced by children with autism in learning, social interaction and communication.
• Applying strategies when supporting, interacting with and teaching children with autism.

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare

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Richard Crawte

Richard Crawte is a Specialist Teacher at Middletown Centre for Autism. He has previous experience as a Lead Teacher in an Autism Resource Base in England.  Richard has a particular interest in developing resources and teaching approaches for use with children and young people with autism.  He specialises in modifying the curriculum to meet the needs of the individual learner and enabling access to learning for students with autism. 

Learning Styles and Visual Methodologies

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ennis, Clare

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Learning Styles and Visual Methodologies Visual strategies are widely used when living and working with children and young people with autism as they: • Complement the learning style of many with autism. • Can be introduced alongside other intervention strategies. • Are adaptable, portable and can be used in most situations. The use of visual strategies can have a notable impact on how a child with autism experiences home life, as they help to clarify expectations and make abstract concepts more concrete. Visual strategies support children as they develop effective communication, appropriate social interaction, and positive behaviour skills. These methods are based on the principles of the TEACCH programme and may help parents provide consistent teaching methods. Expected Outcomes: Parents and family members will: • Understand the importance of visual teaching methods in autism. • Understand how visuals will improve the learning of the child and their experience at home. • Develop some visual strategies that can be used to support the child.

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Helen Forde

Social Communication

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ennis, Clare

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Social Communication Building on knowledge gained in the first two sessions, this training event aims to increase parents’ understanding of how autism affects social communication and will provide strategies that may help. Expected Outcomes: Parents and family members will have an increased understanding of • How autism impacts communicative development. • How autism impacts communicative exchange. • How to use children’s and young people’s strengths to help them communicate more effectively. • The reasons underlying the difficulties faced by children in the area of social communication and how to help.

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare

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Eleanor McStay-Fearon

Eleanor McStay-Fearon

Eleanor McStay-Fearon is a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at Middletown Centre for Autism. Prior to this, she worked in Essex, providing assessment and intervention to children and young people with learning differences, associated needs such as autism, and challenging behaviour. She has worked closely with parents, teachers and health professionals to support the implementation of communication, sensory and behaviour management programmes across home and school environments. She has experience in supporting children and young people with autism and mental health needs in Glasgow, as member of a multi-disciplinary Learning Disability Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team.

Sensory Processing

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ennis, Clare

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Sensory Processing
Sensory Processing generally refers to the ability of an individual to register sensory information, make sense of that information, and to respond to it. This is a complex and fluid process involving all the sensory systems, auditory, gustatory, visual, olfactory, tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular. When sensory processing is working well, an individual’s responses to sensory information are positive and support interaction. However, sensory processing difficulties are quite prevalent in the profiles of children with autism and can affect every aspect of life and development.
This session examines the sensory processing differences frequently associated with autism and will demonstrate how such difficulties impact on learning, leisure activities and choices, social interactions and behaviour at home and in school.
Expected Outcomes:
Parents and family members will
• Develop a basic understanding of some of the sensory processing differences in autism.
• Understand how sensory processing differences can affect their child’s experience in school and at home.
• Gain knowledge of strategies, which will assist in meeting their child’s sensory needs.

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare

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Aíne Henry

Aine Henry is a senior occupational therapist who has studied with the Sensory Integration Network UK & Ireland to become an advanced practitioner in Ayres Sensory Integration. She completed her MSc in Sensory Integration with Ulster University in 2016. Aine is a member of the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland, and works in Dublin with adults and children with both an Intellectual Disability and Autism. Aine’s area of special interest is in utilising sensory processing knowledge to collaborate with parents and teachers to achieve activity participation goals. Aine has carried out research related to this topic which she hopes to publish.

The Promotion of Positive Behaviour

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ennis, Clare

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The Promotion of Positive Behaviour Children with autism can experience elevated levels of frustration, anxiety and stress often resulting in distressed behaviours. Responding effectively to behaviour remains a concern for parents of children with autism. Early intervention and planning are important to ensure that children have an array of proactive strategies to defuse rather than escalate a demanding situation. This session will examine how the core features of autism can influence the behaviour of children. Expected Outcomes: Parents and family members will: • Understand how the core features of autism can influence behaviour. • Understand the importance of identifying the function of a behaviour. • Learn practical strategies for recognising early warning signs, making positive interventions and reducing potential triggers. • Anxiety and its impact on behaviour.

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Family Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare

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Deirdre O'Shea

Deirdre O'Shea is an Autism Intervention Specialist at the Middletown Centre for Autism. Deirdre has extensive experience in working with children and young people with autism who display complex behaviours. She has also worked across the school and home settings providing social skills groups for children with autism, and training, support, and advice in autism related topics to parents and professionals. Deirdre has a degree in Psychology with the Open University, a post graduate Diploma in Special Education, and is also a Registered Behaviour Technician.