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Autism, Learning Style, and the Impact of Visual Teaching Methods

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Victoria Park Primary School, Belfast, Antrim

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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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Victoria Park Primary School

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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 Communication

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Victoria Park Primary School, Belfast, 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. 
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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Victoria Park 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.

Autism and Anxiety Management

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Victoria Park Primary School, Belfast, Antrim

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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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Location

Victoria Park 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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Victoria Park Primary School, Belfast, Antrim

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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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Location

Victoria Park Primary School

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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.