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Autism, Learning Style, and Visual Teaching Methods

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St Teresa's Primary School, Lurgan., Armagh

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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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St Teresa's Primary School

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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 Communication

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St Teresa's Primary School, Lurgan., Armagh

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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. 
Therefore, communication can be challenging for many autistic children.
Many wish 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.
Autistic children, 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 child in the classroom, family home and wider community.
•    The importance of visual information as it remains available long enough to enable the child 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 child to help him or her communicate effectively.

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St Teresa's Primary School

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Frances O'Neill

Frances O'Neill

Frances O’Neill is an Autism Trainer/Advisor in Middletown Centre for Autism. Frances has worked in Special, Post Primary and Further Education settings. She holds Post Graduate Certificates and Diplomas in Education and an MSc in Autism.

Autism and Sensory Processing

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St Teresa's Primary School, Lurgan., Armagh

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Autism and Sensory Processing
Sensory processing refers to the ability of a child 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 child can engage in daily functional activities and social interaction. Sensory processing differences are prevalent in autistic children and can affect every aspect of life and development.
This session examines the sensory processing differences experienced by many autistic children and will demonstrate how such differences impact on learning, play, social interactions, and behaviour for the primary school aged child.
Participants will: 
•    Develop an understanding of the sensory processing differences.
•    Understand how sensory processing differences can affect the child’s experience at school.
•    Understand how sensory processing differences can influence the child’s participation in daily activities.
•    Develop an understanding of general intervention strategies to accommodate sensory processing differences in daily activities at school and beyond.
•    How sensory processing differences can present in an autistic child.
•    Intervention strategies to address sensory processing differences in school or the family home.

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St Teresa's Primary School

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Kate Cullen

Kate Cullen

Kate Cullen is an Autism Specialist Occupational Therapist for children and young people. She has Postgraduate qualifications in Sensory Integration, including SIPT registration and is an Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner. Kate works within a Child and Adolescent Autism diagnostic and intervention Service. She is a tutor and assessor for the graduate Certificate in Autism Studies course delivered in partnership with Middletown Centre for Autism and Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Kate previously worked as an Occupational Therapist for Middletown Centre for Autism and in Special Schools with children and young people with physical disabilities, developmental disorders, and autism, aged 3-19 years, providing assessment, intervention within trans-disciplinary and multiagency teams. She has experience writing and delivering training on autism related topics to parents, professionals, undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has delivered programmes in schools and homes addressing difficulties in engaging in personal care, life skills, leisure, school, and work as result of motor coordination, sensory processing, sensory motor and perception for children and young people with autism. She has training in a variety of therapeutic approaches

Autism and Anxiety Management

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St Teresa's Primary School, Lurgan., Armagh

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Autism and Anxiety Management
Primary aged autistic children may experience anxiety in many situations, with some experiencing significant anxiety difficulties. For many, school is a major source of stress. 
This session is an introduction to strategies that can be used to alleviate the experience of anxiety for autistic children. 
This will include:
•    An introduction to cognitively based strategies 
•    How to develop child centred strategies to deal with anxiety.
Participants will: 
•    Understand how the difficulties experienced by autistic children, 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
•    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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St Teresa's Primary 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 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.