Courses in package

Autism, Learning Styles and the Impact of Visual Teaching Methods

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An Droim Mor National School, Killygordon, Donegal

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Autism, Learning Style and the Impact of Visual Teaching Methods
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.
This session will consist of a combination of presentations and workshop based activities. It will cover why visual teaching methods work. Parents will become more familiar with how their input will reflect a sound evidence base and be more able to adapt the home environment and individualised activities to meet the needs of the child, in order to enhance learning, play/leisure skills and social interactions. 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.
Course Overview / Content
• Why visuals work for children with autism.
• Using visuals in the family home and community.
• How to develop visuals and implement visual strategies.

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An Droim Mor National School

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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. 

Autism and the Promotion of Positive Behaviour

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An Droim Mor National School, Killygordon, Donegal

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Autism and the Promotion of Positive Behaviour
Every day, children and young people with autism are expected to cope with the challenges of a world, which can often seem bewildering and unpredictable. This can cause elevated levels of anxiety and stress, resulting in behaviours that can be difficult to deal with, offering significant challenges to all of those living with the child or young person.
Responding effectively to behaviour remains a concern for parents. Early intervention and planning is 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. Finding the function of behaviour will be highlighted as the starting point of any Behaviour Support Plan.
Expected Outcomes
Parents will:
• Understand how the core features of autism can influence behaviour causing behaviours that challenge.
• Understand the importance of identifying the function of a behaviour and developing a basic behaviour support plan.
• Learn practical strategies for recognising early warning signs and making positive interventions, reducing potential triggers.
• Anxiety and its impact on behaviour.
Course Overview / Content
• How the core features can affect behaviour.
• Introduction to Behaviour Support Plans recognising the benefits of:
• Clarity of information, including expectations and procedures.
• Consistency: A healthy, strong Home School Partnership is vital.
• Common sense: Remembering that sometimes the most effective is also the most straightforward and easiest.
• Continuation: Keeping the teaching and the positive supports in place to continue to help the child or young person to develop effective habits and more adaptive skills.

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Location

An Droim Mor National School

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Majella Nugent

Majella Nugent

Majella Nugent is an Autism Trainer/Advisor in Middletown Centre for Autism. Majella has experience teaching and supporting children and young people with autism in schools across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Majella’s experience includes Pre-school, Mainstream and Special School settings. Majella has also taught and supported young adults with autism in a Further Education setting. She has lectured and assessed modules on the Early Childhood Foundation Degree and the Level Three Autism qualification, as professional development for parents and professionals. Majella’s specialism is modifying the curriculum to meet the needs of each individual learner.  Majella has also worked as a Professional Associate with CCEA for learners with MLD.

Autism and Sensory Processing

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An Droim Mor National School, Killygordon, Donegal

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Autism and 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? 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 difficulties frequently associated with autism and will demonstrate how such difficulties impact on learning, play, social interactions and behaviour in the home environment.

Expected Outcomes Parents will:

  •  Develop a basic understanding of the sensory difficulties in autism.
  • Understand how sensory difficulties can affect the child?s experience at home.
  • Understand how sensory difficulties can influence the child?s participation in the home.
  • Develop some simple strategies to alleviate sensory difficulties.

Course Overview / Content

  • Sensory issues in autism. ? How sensory issues can present in a child with autism.
  •  How sensory difficulties can affect the child?s experience at home.
  • Some strategies that can be individualised.
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An Droim Mor National School

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Rachel Ferguson

Autism and Anxiety Management

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Date

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An Droim Mor National School, Killygordon, Donegal

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Autism and Anxiety Management


Primary aged children with autism experience anxiety in many situations, with some experiencing significant anxiety difficulties. While many reasons are shared with typically developing children, there are some key factors relating to autism that mean stress and anxiety are more likely. Everyone shows their anxiety in individual ways so the most reliable observations that a child is anxious are going to be made by the people who know the child best. This shows the importance of working closely not only within the wider family circle but also with the school staff.

This session is an introduction to strategies that can be used to alleviate the experience of anxiety in children with autism. This will include an introduction to cognitively based strategies and how to develop child centred strategies to deal with anxiety.

Expected Outcomes
Parents will:
• Understand how the core difficulties of autism, including sensory difficulties, can contribute to the development of anxiety.
• Understand how anxiety can escalate and may result in an outburst.
• Develop some simple strategies to prevent the escalation of anxiety.
• Understand the basics of cognitively based management approaches.


Course Overview / Content
• Anxiety triggers and build up.
• ‘On the spot’ anxiety management strategies.
• Developing a ‘stress kit’.
• Cognitively based approaches and the emotional toolkit.

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Notes

Location

An Droim Mor National School

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Majella Nugent

Majella Nugent

Majella Nugent is an Autism Trainer/Advisor in Middletown Centre for Autism. Majella has experience teaching and supporting children and young people with autism in schools across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Majella’s experience includes Pre-school, Mainstream and Special School settings. Majella has also taught and supported young adults with autism in a Further Education setting. She has lectured and assessed modules on the Early Childhood Foundation Degree and the Level Three Autism qualification, as professional development for parents and professionals. Majella’s specialism is modifying the curriculum to meet the needs of each individual learner.  Majella has also worked as a Professional Associate with CCEA for learners with MLD.

Autism and Transitions

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Date

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An Droim Mor National School, Killygordon, Donegal

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Autism and Transitions Transition

This refers to the time when we move from one stage of life to another. Within education, this includes the transfers from Preschool to Primary School, Primary School to Post-Primary School. Such transitions are some of the most important stages of life and can have an impact on future development and achievement.They bring changes and disturbances to routines, which can cause anxiety and stress, especially to children with autism. However, with the right support and thorough planning, children can prepare for these changes and enjoy as smooth a transition as possible.

This session will examine why children experience difficulties when faced with a transition to Pre, Primary and Post Primary School and discuss how developing a greater understanding of transition, with practical approaches to support children on their journey through school and beyond, offers the child the chance of future academic and social success. Within this session, the importance and design of a planned transition programme and the role of the parents in this process will be examined along with ideas and suggestions as to how best prepare not only the parents and child but also the education setting.

Expected Outcomes

Parents and family members will:

  •  Understand why transitions are difficult for children with autism.
  • Understand that it is critical to plan and have a strategy around key transitions in the childs day and in the childs life.
  • Develop simple transition plans and supports around key areas.
  •  Gain an understanding of available support during transition.
  •  Gain knowledge of personalised support to children and young people.
  • Learn how to cope with emotional distress caused by transition, such as stress and anxiety.

Course Overview / Content 

  • Transitions and why they are important.

  • Potential key transitions in the home, family and school day.

  • Preparing the child.

  •  Use of Communication Passports.

  • Developing a transition plan.

  • Effective communication with school.

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Notes

Location

An Droim Mor National School

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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.

Make and Take

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Date

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An Droim Mor National School, Killygordon, Donegal

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Make and Take

This presentation will explain how visual supports can be used to help with emotional regulation, positive behaviour and reducing anxiety. Parents will go home with resources ready to use.

Course Overview / Content

This two-hour session will focus on how to make and use visual supports for the:

  • Home.

  • School.

Community.

Parents and family members will be able to take materials made in session such as, emotion key rings, count down cards, whose turn boards and timetables. Participants can decide, with the trainer, which materials would best suit the child and at what level.

Expected Outcomes

Parents and family members will:

  • Have an increased understanding of how children and young people with autism perceive the world.

  • Be aware of how children and young people with autism think and learn.

  • Have a better understanding of how to use children?s and young peoples strengths to help them reach their potential.

  • Have an increased understanding of the reasons behind the difficulties faced by children and young people with autism in learning, social interaction and communication.

  • Be able to make visual supports.

  • Gain knowledge of personalised support to children and young people.

  • Learn how to cope with emotional distress caused by transition, such as stress and anxiety.

 

Notes

Location

An Droim Mor National School

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Julie Shiels

Julie Shiels

Julie Shiels is an Autism Intervention Specialist at Middletown Centre for Autism.   Prior to taking up this post, she worked at Sperrin Integrated College, Magherafelt, where she gained knowledge and experience of working with and supporting children and young people with autism.  Julie has also worked in Primary and Special School settings and throughout her career has gained experience in liaising with multi-disciplinary teams, delivering parent training, conducting assessments, and developing and implementing learning and behaviour support plans.  She is a Psychology graduate from Queen’s University, Belfast and holds a Master’s in Applied Behaviour Analysis from University of Ulster, Coleraine.