Courses in package

Autism and Communication

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Parkhall Integrated College, Antrim, Antrim

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Autism and Communication
Communication is a multi-faceted, complex interaction involving mastery in many of the following,
•    Understanding non-verbal cues  
•    Command of tone of voice  
•    Command of facial expressions  
•    Understanding different purposes of conversation  
•    Sense of humour  
•    Familiarity with social courtesies  
•    Making the abstract concrete  
•    Visual structure and predictable routines  
•    Activities that provide support for language abilities  
•    Interactions that provide focus on peers and self-awareness  
•    Generalisations  
Communication can, therefore, be challenging for many autistic young people. Many want to be socially interactive, make friends and form relationships, be included within the classroom and wider community, but find it difficult because of the many social conventions needed to achieve effective communication.
Young autistic people experiencing such difficulties may find it hard to understand the messages being given, such as the meaning others put into their voice, the expressions on their faces, and gestures such as waving, pointing or shrugging.

Participants will have an increased understanding of
•    How communication is defined. 
•   Communication difficulties 
•    Best practices in supporting the young person in the classroom, family home and wider community
•    The importance of visual information as it remains available long enough to enable the young person to focus on it or return to it as needed to establish memory for the message it is communicating.
•    Visual tools provide a non-transient foundation for more effective communication. 
•    How to use the strengths of the autistic young person to help him or her communicate effectively.
 

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Parkhall Integrated College

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Gemma O'Neill

Gemma O'Neill

Gemma O Neill is a Specialist Teacher with Middletown Centre for Autism. She has always had a particular interest in autism and as such has a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Gemma worked for over 16 years in a large mainstream Primary School in Belfast and was the SENCO there for almost 8 years. As SENCO, Gemma supported autistic students to access the curriculum in a variety of ways. She set up a sensory room in the school and coordinated the delivery of a range of autism specific programmes such as Attention Autism and Social Skills groups. Gemma has extensive experience of delivering autism specific training to both professionals and parents and played an active role in the development of Middletown’s Excellence in Autism Education Award.

Autism and Sensory Processing

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Parkhall Integrated College, Antrim, Antrim

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Autism and Sensory Processing
Sensory processing refers to the ability of a student to register, interpret and respond to sensory information. This is a complex process involving all the sensory systems (auditory, gustatory, visual, olfactory, tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular and interoception). When sensory processing is working well, a young person can engage in daily functional activities and social interaction. Sensory processing differences are prevalent in autistic young people and can affect every aspect of life and development.
This session examines the sensory processing differences and will demonstrate how such differences impact on learning, leisure activities and choices, social interactions, and behaviour in school. 
Participants will: 
•    Develop a basic understanding of some of the sensory processing differences. 
•    Understand how sensory processing differences can affect the young person’s experience in school. 
•    Gain knowledge of strategies, which will assist in meeting the young person’s sensory needs. 

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Parkhall Integrated College

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Clare Canale

Clare Canale

Clare Canale is an Autism Trainer/Advisor in Middletown Centre for Autism. Clare is an occupational therapist for children and young people, and has worked in nursery, special, and post primary schools, as well as charity and private sectors. She has a Master’s in Clinical Research. Clare previously developed a range of training courses, which were accredited and delivered to parents, professionals, undergraduates and post-graduates, nationally and internationally. Clare has extensive experience in assessing sensory motor difficulties and developing intervention programmes for autistic students. Clare currently has her own private practice, and runs popular therapeutic activity groups for autistic children.

Autism and Anxiety Management

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Parkhall Integrated College, Antrim, Antrim

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Autism and Anxiety Management
Post Primary aged autistic students experience anxiety in many situations, with some experiencing significant anxiety difficulties. 
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.
This will include:
•    An introduction to cognitively based strategies 
•    How to develop student centred strategies to deal with anxiety.
Participants will: 
•    Understand how the difficulties experienced by autistic students, including sensory difficulties, can contribute to the development of anxiety.
•    Understand how anxiety can escalate and may result in an emotional stress 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

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Parkhall Integrated College

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Edel Quinn

Edel Quinn

Edel Quinn is an Autism Trainer/Advisor in Middletown Centre for Autism. Before taking up this post, Edel worked in the National Health Service Northern Ireland (NHS), developing and delivering home programmes for autistic children and young people, and their families. Edel holds a Psychology degree and an MSc in Autism from Queen’s University, Belfast and a Post Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Edel's main specialisms are in early intervention and delivering training in the implementation of visual strategies and positive behaviour. Edel is a certified TEACCH Trainer with Division TEACCH North Carolina. Edel has developed and delivered anxiety trainings and anxiety research projects to parents and professionals across Ireland. She has delivered at Autism and Mental Health Conference, NAS and the Autism Congress. Edel is an associate lecturer on the Post Graduate Autism Certificate with Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Edel is working towards accreditation with BACP as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist.

Autism and Life Skills, including Relationships and Sexuality Education

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Parkhall Integrated College, Antrim, Antrim

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Autism and Life Skills including Relationships and Sexuality Education  
Life skills are the skills needed daily for independent functioning. Often a young autistic people need explicit modelling and teaching of these skills to develop them as they grow and progress through life. Whilst life skills involve practical skills, it is important to include executive function and thinking skills in the list. 
This session will explore practical strategies to support the development of daily living skills including understanding of the changes that occur to the body during the teenage years. Effective teaching of life skills, including relationship and sexuality education, involves close partnership and collaboration between school and parents/carers to ensure teaching is clear and consistent between settings for the autistic teenager. 
Participants will:
Have a greater understanding of how autism impacts on the development of life skills during the teenage years. 
•    Explore methods effective in assessing and teaching life skills to autistic teenagers in the school and home environment.
•    Explore strategies that are effective in supporting autistic teenagers develop life skills including relationship and sexuality skills. 
•    Have increased understanding of how to optimise opportunities to improve and develop autistic teenagers’ life skills within the school and home environments.
Overview:
•    What are life skills. 
•    How does autism affect the development of these skills for autistic teenagers?
•    Explore categories of life skills, including the changes that occur to the body during the teenage years. 
•    Explore some resources effective for developing and delivering life skills including relationship and sexuality education (RSE) to autistic teenagers. 
Life skills are regarded as independent living skills or daily living skills. It is also important to include executive function or thinking skills such as organising, planning, prioritising and decision making.
Categories of life skills include: 
•    Self-advocacy
•    Personal finance
•    Transport and community involvement
•    Leisure and recreation opportunities and activities
•    Home living skills
•    Career path and employment.
•    Relationships and Sexuality Education, including friendships
Effective teaching of issues around life skills and sexuality education involves close collaboration between schools and parents to ensure messages are clear for autistic students. This session will examine the impact of adolescence on young autistic people and examine the broad definition of life skills, within the contexts of work, leisure, and personal care, and how difficulties may directly affect the development of life skills. Participants will be shown how to incorporate behavioural interventions with visual strategies to help autistic teenagers cope with some of the typical issues of adolescence and the acquisition of life skills. 
It will also focus on the delivery of relationships and sexuality education for autistic students.    
Participants will:
•    Have a greater understanding of how difficulties may affect the development of life skills in work, leisure, and personal care.
•    Learn and develop methods to assess and teach life skills in the School and family environment.
•    Be more able to facilitate students to achieve greater independence in relevant daily activities such as play, work tasks, personal hygiene, toileting, and organisational skills. 
•    Have an increased understanding of the opportunities available to improve and develop students’ life skills within the school and home environment.
•    Understand the impact of adolescence on autistic students.
•    Learn some strategies involving behavioural and visual strategies that will provide supports to autistic adolescents.
•    Provide strategies for the delivery of sex and relationships education to autistic students.

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Parkhall Integrated College

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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 autistic children and young people in schools. Majella’s experiences include Pre-school, Mainstream Primary and Post-Primary and Special Schools across Ireland. Majella also has experience teaching autistic students in Further Education. 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 training specialism is Relationship and Sexuality Education, Transitions and Special Education Needs. Majella has contributed to the development of the curriculum as a Professional Associate with CCEA for learners with MLD and co-ordinated specialist trainings including Transition to Higher Education (Ulster University and Trinity College Dublin), 16+ Education and Employment, and Sibling trainings. Majella is an Associate Lecturer on the Post Graduate Certificate with Mary Immaculate College Limerick.