One definition of a foundation refers to it being an anchor and providing a solid surface upon which to build.
In a world of quick fixes and instant solutions when supporting individuals with autism we are all at risk of being drawn in to trying interventions and approaches that offer a quick fix or an easy solution without having to do all the hard work of laying the foundations that will help ensure success.
Over many years of working with children and adults with autism I have learnt that what often works is taking time to lay the foundations, that is to ensure we have both the values and best practice in place to support what we do. In this article I explore some of the basics that help provide a firm foundation upon which we can build successful interventions and approaches.
The person with autism has a right to be consulted with and involved in all aspects of living their lives including what approaches and interventions are used
Underpinning all we do should be a commitment to seeking the views and opinions of the person with autism irrespective of their abilities and how autism impacts upon them. Whilst we may take this for granted in the past we might have often put approaches and strategies in place without consulting and actively involving the person with autism and then wondered why they were not successful. I will cover this area in more detail in a future article; however, for now it is worth considering and asking yourself the following:
1. What support and methods can we put in place to enable the person with autism to be fully involved, make comments and make real choices regarding their lives and the support they receive? This can include the use of photographs, symbols, video clips or one of the many Apps that are now available for smart devices. Click here to read the rest of the story.
An 18-year-old software developer has created an iOS app to help those on the autistic spectrum in their day-to-day lives.
Ethan Shallcross, who has a form of autism and lives in the English town of Torquay, developed Aumi to enable people to manage their anxiety, monitor their mental health and reduce burnout.
“The app has been built with people on the autism spectrum in mind, and his has influenced the design and functionality of the entire app,” he says. “However, it is not just for people on the autism spectrum. People who have high anxiety, are frequently burnt out, or struggle with their mental health may also find it useful.” Click here to read the rest of the story.
Media is slowly getting better in it’s portrayal of people with autism in both movies and television, while many still hold onto to the perception of “Rain Man”, I do believe we are moving in the right direction. Still, little is discussed or talked about when it comes to children and adults with severe autism. Some may refer to severe autism as “low functioning when in fact autism is a spectrum in both symptoms and behaviors and varies from person to person.
Children and adults with severe autism often display the following signs :
Impaired social interaction
Difficulty in communicating- both expressive and receptive
Obsessive compulsive disorder
According to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), there are 3 levels of severity based on social communication impairments, restricted, and patterns of behaviors. The severity level (Level 3) is defined as requiring very substantial support. For example the person may exhibit very limited initiation of social interaction and extreme difficulty with coping and change. signs may include an indifference in others, using negative behavior to communicate, very little or echolalia, sensory sensitivity will vary from severe to none, may be self-injurious and have an intellectual disability. Below you will find articles on understanding severe nonverbal autism:
There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the U.K.- An estimated 1 in 100 people are affected. Studies also show that 60% of teachers in England do not feel they have adequate training to teach children with autism.
Thankfully across the U.K., a number of trainings that focus on autism help parents, professionals, caregivers and educators learn more about the autism spectrum disorder. below are links to trainings in the U.K.
Leading U.K. charity for autistic children and their families. Provides information, support and services. NAS offers scheduled training events, in-house training and online training modules including training modules on communication, sensory experiences, stress and anxiety and physical activity.
Provides a range of person-centered services throughout the U.K. Autism Initiatives Northern Ireland includes a learning and development department which is designed to meet the needs of all professional staff. Upcoming training topics for July includes, Understanding Autism, Epilepsy Awareness, and Keeping Children Safe. E-Learning courses are also available.
Northern Ireland’s longest-serving autism charity and training provider. Autism NI provides family support workshops and discussion group. Training topics include, Fundamentals of Autism, Understanding Social Skills, Sensory Processing, and PECS training courses are held off-site.
Provides a wide range of training for professionals working with autistic children to parents, educators and caregivers. The organization also publishes a research bulletin designed to meet the needs of professionals working in education with autistic children. Trainings for parents include topics on, transition, sensory processing and life skills
PEAT provides a wide range of training services for parents of children with autism and professionals involved with individuals with autism. PEAT provides in-house training and tailors made programs to meet the needs of parent groups and specific organizations.
The Autism Forth Valley Website includes a table which contains information on training providers and courses including university courses on autism, professional organizations and social service agencies.
Provides a wide range of support services across Scotland for individuals with autism, their families and professionals. Scottish Autism offers external training core courses including, Introduction to Autism and Autism Profiling.
Provides a library with a wealth of information on autism topics from previous conferences in Microsoft PowerPoint format. Geared towards professionals however this are also useful information for parents as well. Sample topics include; psychosexual development in ASD, A guide for practioners and resources for families living in Wales.
Training program includes a range of person-centered and practical courses for people in the public, voluntary and private sectors as well as parents and caregivers. Courses include a fee at an onsite facility. Training topics include, An Introduction to Mindfulness and Making Information Easy to Read and Understand
A training provider delivering online courses on autism for professionals working with children, young people and adults on a host of topics including, Autism Spectrum Condition Advance Level Training and Autism and ADHD
Offers a host of free one-hour webinars for teachers, professionals and parents. The website includes two series of one hour webinars on various topics such as, promoting inclusion, preventing bullying, and neurodevelopment and social competence in autism spectrum disorder.