I was very fortunate to be part of a team who delivered training on behalf of the Autism Education Trust. The Local Authority I worked for became part of the East training hub and it meant I became a registered trainer in March 2015. The AET is a government funded project in association with autism professionals, charities and autistic people. Personally, I think the training is amazing and always loved delivering it, it has superb content and good activities. Above all the message of autism as ‘difference not deficit’ has really influenced my own thinking and ultimately the message that autism act is also working towards.
One element of the training influenced me deeply and I based my M Ed final dissertation on this ‘4 key areas of difference’ concept. Coming directly from the diagnostic criteria, the AET promoted understanding the 4 key areas to help understand the individual child. However, I felt the AET could have used it more as it is such a straight-forward and easy concept to understanding, whatever your starting point of autism knowledge.
Whilst attending a consultation with a school, I was bombarded with information about a child and a complex situation, coming at me from all angles! Understandable. Thinking my feet, I said ‘why don’t we map this out using the AET 4 key areas of difference’ … Little did I know, that would be a pivotal moment. Knowing the impact that approach has had on me, those I have supported (and will support) and on the team I worked, it is something I am proud of developing.
With the permission of the AET, I created my own workshop, aimed at raising the knowledge and building the confidence of class teachers, which covered in the detail the 4 key areas of difference
I will go into more detail about my dissertation in future blogs but one thing has been certain, the AET gave me the knowledge and confidence to support others and that is something I am immensely grateful for.