Research shows that autistic people wished they’d had a teacher that understood them better at school and say this would have helped to have a positive impact on their school experience.
I wonder how many school staff wished they had access to that training too? Felt at a bit of a loss on what to do or how to help due to lack of training? I know as a mainstream teacher, I would have appreciated high quality training. As a SENCO and a member of SLT, I would also have loved access to high quality and affordable training for staff, many who wanted these opportunities. Up to date, relevant, delivered by someone who understand mainstream schools and the challenges facing those supporting SEN would have been amazing. When I think back to the training I received as a teacher (and a SENCO) the workshops that stuck with me were those I related to the most – the presenter made it easy to understand, I didn’t feel as if I was being patronised or spoken down to, they were there to help not promote their own products, the presenter who had been a teacher, knew the pressures I was under in my role and gave me practical ideas I could go away with and try but also the understanding as to why those ideas were worth a try.
This has been the ethos I set for autism act when I become an independent trainer in January 2020. I have been determined to provided access to training, high quality and fit for purpose, fill in the gaps in knowledge and confidence for those supporting an autistic child or young person. Ultimately, the children benefit but so do the staff and that is important. I know from experience in my 26 year teaching career, I wanted to feel like I knew what I was doing, why I was doing it, feel confident and empowered in my role. Personally, there is nothing worse than going to work everyday not confident in what you are doing. And while I could ‘self train’ through doing some research and learning by my own mistakes, I would have preferred to have had someone to guide me.
Lockdown 3.0 is frustrating and demoralising for many of us, but actually a time to access some training if you have staff on restricted duties or self isolating, especially if it is extended past February half term. As a result, I have developed a programme of training that can be accessed during this time. ‘education autism – supporting your practice’ has the following training options for staff available:
These replace the Tuesday evening workshops and now come with the flexibility to view when it suits you. A single viewing can be purchased or multiple viewings if you want this for a number of staff. The titles of these can be found in the following blog The 2021 Spring Term Tuesday evening workshop schedule
The pre-recorded version add more flexibility to training. Many people can not commit to turning up every Tuesday evening due to family or a hard and stressful day so I decided to make these well received workshops a flexible option. If you want to sit in your pyjamas and have a glass of wine while viewing, why not? It’s about what suits you so you can access high quality training.
Staff meeting for your school
This is an excellent way to access high quality training for your whole school but also comes with flexibility to train staff as a whole or in groups. There are a choice of workshops to choose from and really any workshop can be made bespoke for your school. The staff meeting has identified points for discussion so you can make it more interactive for your staff. They have the chance to pause the recording and discuss in teams or as a whole school, or a classroom team. This mirrors a face to face staff meeting even though this option is not currently available due to Covid restrictions.
You may want an introduction to autism to set a baseline of understanding across the whole school. Alternatively, you may want something more specific for your school which reflects the level of your pupils’ needs and the training needs of your staff.
Supporting staff course
This is an exciting new addition to ‘education autism – supporting your practice’
This course is designed for those working directly with an autistic child or young person. It compromises of 5 pre-recorded webinars which can be accessed at a time that suits you. The course comes with an accompanying handbook which follows the sessions, along with an opportunity to book a free 1:1 consultation at the end of the course to discuss individual needs/staff needs.
It is suitable for anyone supporting an autistic child or young person, whether they are a SENCO, member of the support team or a teacher. It aims to increase knowledge and build confidence in this supporting role, ultimately empowering the member of staff to try something new. The 1:1 is available to help the delegate discuss what they have learnt and how it relates to the individual they are supporting.
This really is an opportunity to access high quality training at a reasonable cost and make the most of this lockdown.