This quote from Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, had a great impact on me from the moment I read it …
‘Every teacher deserves the right training and every autistic child needs a teacher who understands them’
At the time, my understanding of ‘teacher’ was the staff I was supporting in school but let’s define ‘teacher’ … aren’t we all teachers of our children, whether a parent, grandparent, dance teacher, scout leader, member of staff in a school? We all teach our children something and all roles are important, having a direct impact on how our children react, cope, make progress.
I used this quote as part of the inspiration behind my Masters Degree dissertation; what training do teachers need and how can I be part of providing this service?
Now, working as an independent consultant and trainer, autism awareness training is really important to me and I have the freedom to offer that training to a variety of different audiences. Not only schools need to have autism awareness training but society as a whole and I can aim my training to meet all those audiences. Yes, we do need more than awareness in an ideal world and studies back that up, but I am a great believer in starting somewhere and I have worked hard to get a workshop together that offers a solid base of awareness to build understanding upon. It is also important to understand why a child has reacted in a certain way, why we need to support particular areas and why reasonable adjustments should be part of our everyday thinking.
In my former post as an autism and social communication specialist teacher, I saw first hand the impact autism awareness training had on the school staff I was supporting. It has been an honour to be at that starting point and watch people grow in knowledge, confidence and acquire an amazing set of skills – and yet many of them still want to know more!
The autism awareness workshop offered by autism act is called ‘ready to act’
If you attend this workshop, what can you expect? This workshop lasts for 2 hours. It is uniquely written by me and incorporates, what I think, are the most important parts of the knowledge I have built up over my career. It shares up to date statistics and changing ideas regarding autism. However, the major focus for the workshop is the key areas of autistic difference, these are directly linked to the current diagnostic criteria. I believe that understanding these areas and understanding how an individual profiles within them is a fundamental piece of knowledge to have. The workshop mixes information with activities; as an experienced teacher, I know an audience needs to hear, see and do to have the best opportunity to learn and leave with increased knowledge.
The aim is for delegates to leave having a new found knowledge, that builds the confidence to try something new, or look at something in a different light and get a different perspective. This is very empowering – that moment when you think ‘oh yes, I could do this’, ‘I could try that’ and you have the knowledge behind why you need to try that.
There are opportunities to book a place on the workshop, with more in the pipeline! If you want to be autism aware, this is definitely the workshop for you!