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Autism, Learning Style, and Visual Teaching Methods

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Catherine McAuley School, South Circular Road, Limerick

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Autism, Learning Style, and the Impact of Visual Teaching Methods
Visual strategies are widely used when working and living with autistic children and young people, as they:
• Complement the learning style of many autistic children, young people and adults
• 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 an autistic child experiences family, community, and school 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, as well as accessing the curriculum.
This session will cover why visual teaching methods work. Professionals and parents will become more familiar with how their input will reflect a sound evidence base and be more able to adapt the school or home environment and individualised tasks to meet the needs of the child, in order, to enhance learning, play or leisure skills and social interactions. 
Expected Outcomes
• Understand the importance of visual teaching methods.
• Understand how visuals will improve the learning of the child and his or her experiences 
• Develop some visual strategies that can be used to support the child
• Why visuals work for autistic children.
• Using visuals in school or the family home
• How to develop visuals and implement visual strategies.

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Catherine McAuley School

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Dee Hogan

Dee Hogan

Dee Hogan is an Autism Trainer/Advisor in Middletown Centre for Autism. Dee has extensive experience teaching and supporting autistic children and young people. Her experiences include Pre-school, Early Intervention ASD Classes,S Primary ASD Classes, Mainstream Primary and Special Schools. She has written, lectured and assessed modules on the Special Needs Assistant and Level Four Autism qualification, as professional development for parents and professionals. Dee has also worked as a part time Lecturer with University College Cork designing and delivering the Diploma in Autism Studies as well as providing training for teachers, third level students, parents and professionals. Dee’s training specialism is Promoting Positive Behaviour, Early Intervention, Classroom Strategies, and Transitions. Dee holds a MEd in Special Education Autism from the University of Birmingham.

Autism and Communication

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Catherine McAuley School, South Circular Road, Limerick

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Autism and Communication for Students in the Special School
Autistic children and young people in the special school often experience communication challenges. Many autistic children and young people have differences in attention, language development and interaction which can impact their time in school and at home.

This session will examine these differences in attention, language development and interaction. Understanding differences in communication styles is important as autistic students are more likely to be successful communicators in environments that are designed to encourage and support their efforts.
Participants will:
Understand autistic students’ differences in attention, language development and social interaction.
Reflect on their own interaction style and how this impacts the autistic young person.
Understand how to use engagement and child-led play as the starting point for communication.
Recognise that visual supports, as tools of communication with and for students, are critically important.
Recognise various forms of communication and use of a variety of communicative tools.
Gain ideas and practical strategies for making meaningful interactions with the student.
Course Overview
Attention in autism and its importance as a foundation for communication.
Language development in autism.
Supporting engagement through child-led led play and interaction.
Supporting challenges in receptive (understanding) language.
A look at verbal and non-verbal forms of communication.

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Catherine McAuley School

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Jennifer Hodgins

Jennifer Hodgins

Since graduating from Mary Immaculate College, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Care and Education and Queen’s University, Belfast with a Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis, Jennifer has worked with children in a number of educational settings both at home and abroad before becoming an Autism Intervention Officer at the Centre.

Autism and Sensory Processing

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Catherine McAuley School, South Circular Road, Limerick

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Autism and Sensory Processing

Many autistic children and young people have differences in how they process the sensory stimuli in the world around them. A child or young person who presents with additional learning needs may experience more challenges with how the or she perceives and responds to sensory input. This course is designed to look specifically at the sensory processing needs of autistic children and young people with other complex learning needs, such as communication difficulties, physical or sensory difficulties, attention difficulties and medical needs.

Participants will: 
•    Gain an understanding of the concept of sensory processing and how this relates to participation in daily activities.
•    Understand how sensory processing differences can affect the child or young person at home, in school and in other settings.
•    Understand the importance of identifying the potential sensory function of a behaviour.
•    Gain knowledge about intervention strategies, which can address the sensory processing needs of the children and young people with additional and complex learning needs at home, in school and in other settings.

Overview: 
•    Introduction to sensory processing.
•    The sensory processing differences, which may be experienced by a child or young with additional and complex learning needs.
•    The impact of these sensory processing differences on participation in daily activities
•    Identifying the sensory functions of some behaviours.
•    Strategies to support sensory processing needs of the child or young person with additional and complex learning needs.

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Location

Catherine McAuley School

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Ano

Trainer to be announced at a later date

Autism and Anxiety for those with additional learning difficulties

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Catherine McAuley School, South Circular Road, Limerick

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Autism and Anxiety for those with additional learning difficulties
For many autistic students, school can be a major source of stress. Everyone shows their anxiety in individual ways, so the most reliable observations that a student is anxious are going to be made by the people who know the student best. This shows the importance of working closely not only within the family structure, but also with the school staff.
This session is an introduction to strategies that can be used to alleviate the experience of anxiety in autistic students. This will include an introduction to cognitively based strategies and how to develop student centred strategies to deal with anxiety. 
Participants will:
•    Understand how anxiety can escalate and may result in an emotional response
•    Develop some simple strategies to prevent the escalation of anxiety.
•    Understand the basics of cognitively based management approaches.
Course Overview
•    Anxiety triggers and build up.
•    “On the spot” anxiety management strategies.
•    Developing a “stress kit.”
•    Cognitively based approaches and the emotional toolkit.

Notes

Location

Catherine McAuley School

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Joan McDonald

Joan McDonald

Joan is a second level science teacher working independently as Posautive. Following many years teaching in mainstream classrooms, Joan worked on individual planning in centres for adults with learning disabilities and those with mental health struggles. She, then, became one of the first SENOs in Ireland, observing and providing school supports for students with atypical needs across eighty rural schools. While studying for an M.Ed. in Autism, Joan was taught by and met a variety of autistic adults, which ultimately led to her own autism assessment. Prior to meeting such a diverse range of autistic people, Joan would only have recognised autism in people with profound and complex support needs. Joan is passionate about using students’ interests to support autistic learners of all levels of cognitive ability to access education and contented lives. She currently works on a variety of projects with agencies such as Middletown Centre for Autism, Dublin City University, Nua Healthcare, Fingal Libraries. In recent years, creating and delivering the Posauteen and Posaudult courses to help autistic people understand and advocate for themselves has been a major focus of Joan’s time.