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Lorraine Kelly Autism Friendly Teaching

Autism Friendly Teaching: Lorraine Kelly

After diagnostic or clinical supports, education is an institution which will take up the largest part of a young autistic person’s life.  Through school talks and training, AsIAm has tried to promote a learning environment where autistic learners are supported to reach their full potential. But what does autism friendly teaching look like in practice? How does it function day to day? Most importantly, how does it benefit our students? To answer these questions we speak to Lorraine Kelly, teacher in North Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School. NWETSS  

  

What’s your background in education? 

Lorraine. I did all my training in Scotland including my Postgrad, in autism and education training and I’ve worked with pupils on the spectrum since I  got into education teaching. I’m just about to start a diploma as well, a postgrad diploma, in Autism. I’ve mainly worked in special education centres in Scotland since then whereas now I work in educational support as well as teaching history.  

  

How is an Autism Friendly School different from a mainstream or special school? 

  Lorraine:  I would say autism friendly schools work hard on educating our peers through setting up our communities of practice piece, to try and spread  positive ideas, such as the inclusion models that we have, in practice.  

We’re trying to educate all our pupils that there are positive options and positive things you can do to regulate your mood and we also share our own examples of how we would regulate our mood. We’d say if we’re stressed, we walk, or we might take a break for a minute with our mask out the back or sit in the garden.  

It’s very rare you’ll find someone who doesn’t have some sort of an issue, with regards to some part of their education. So above all it’s about not having just one type of student in mind when you teach.

 

 How are students’ sensory needs supported? 

Lorraine: Our school is in a unique position insofar as we have quite a large majority of our pupils on the spectrum. In our school, something like stimming or movement breaks or sensory room breaks are not really something that’s out of the norm.  

We have a blackout sensory tent and that is being used quite a lot by some of our pupils. They’ve described it to me as being like someone speaking Japanese, in a train station that’s crowded hot and noisy. They just can’t process what’s happening or what someone is saying to me. It’s like they’re experiencing a system overload and the tent allows them to reboot. We would have fidget toys, theraputty and bluetac; that kind of thing. There’s also a trampoline for some of our pupils who may have ADHD and they need to kind of expend energy to concentrate.  

What kind of work goes into autism friendly teaching on the side of the educator? 

Lorraine: You need to be proactive in your approach, but there’s supports in place to help you start. Autism friendly teaching isn’t something you achieve overnight. We have a small group meeting with new and existing teachers at the start of the year where we go run them through pupils that are on the spectrum or have other additional needs. And we would go through what exactly has been recommended, what they like or don’t like.  

 I have had members of staff who are maybe new and young who would maybe say, ‘his leg is shaking and awful lot and his foot’s tapping the table. Is that okay or is that a behavioural issue?’ and we would address that and say to them, that’s actually not a behavioural issue, that’s just someone trying to regulate themselves or trying to actually get themselves into a position where they can sit and listen and sometimes that tapping will help them listen. 

 If you are dealing or working with, a new class or a new set of pupils, you will need to familiarize yourself with the student support files and you need to talk to your SEN staff. None of the supports I mentioned are supportive or of benefit unless you understand the importance of it, to that individual pupil.  

Finally, there’s always the option to pick up the phone and talk to their parents. I’m a very big believer in picking up the phone, not only when there’s a problem, but when something positive has happened; whether that be they came to class with everything today, like everything was organised. We had a copy, we had the laptop, we had everything. Why don’t you ring up, you know, pick up the phone and tell their mum, ‘this is great. Look what happened. We’ve reached a level of independence here.’  

How do you change the learning process to fit the children’s individual needs? 

 An hour is a long time for any of us to be in a classroom. With this in mind, We use a ‘to do list’ with 4 points on it. The teacher fills out 3 points, and they’ll be what tasks they want the child to do with the 4th point as time set aside within that class for a preferred activity.  Our pupils like to have that concrete set of time. So, say for instance, it’s 15 minutes with little boxes at the end of their list. They tick the boxes as they go along. A lot of them really like that finality, of ticking the box and marking the activity as complete. So, its breaking the hour down into smaller, manageable chunks for them. They know that they’ve achieved what they need to achieve in the class.  

Then they can go enjoy their special interest or have a sensory break. Some will prefer the sensory break to stim. Some of our students are really happy and excited when they have finished their tasks’ and they stim to process this positive feeling. I remember one of my students said they wanted to “hang on to that feeling, I’ve done it!” You know, like,  running out the door to like grab the feeling before it goes which I thought was interesting.  

 

 Have you noticed any difference in the culture to other schools? 

Lorraine: What I have found interesting is the language that is being used regarding pupils on the spectrum. The language from our neurotypical students in mainstream has changed for the better. That language acceptance has really, for me, been a massive cultural shift. As a result, our pupils who are neurodiverse are much more comfortable to express themselves. This could be their sexual preference, their gender identity, or even whether they prefer identity or person-first language. Some of our students will self identify as autistics. Others prefer person with autism. It’s very much their decision.  

Self-advocacy is considered just as important as other supports for autistic students. Yes, you need life skills and social skills’ but likewise you also need to be an advocate at some point for yourself. You know, you will be in situations where you will need to stand up for yourself. We have just had our autism acceptance week, and that was led by our autistic pupils. Both in our resource classes and those in mainstream, and they have titled that week themselves. They didn’t like awareness as part of the title because they felt that it sounded like a disease that people should be made aware of.  

We used to have a sensory Halloween experience that our pupils on the spectrum created. And you have to put your hands into strange boxes and try and feel the eyeballs and things like that. They would make the room dark then flash lights and play loud music. And then when the parents come out, all dazed and confused, they go, ‘Now there you go, that’s what it is like.’  

It was interesting because now you’re educating the parents as well, and that’s regardless of whether they know someone on the spectrum or not. You know, we need to kind of break down the barriers in a community sense as well. And it works so well because the pupils on the spectrum themselves are the ones that are leading this sensory experience.  

 Are any of the staff neuodivergent?  

Lorraine: I’ve got dyscalculia, which sounds minor. I’m profound, I’m way up there on it, I can’t do fractions or percentages. All the kids know because one of the first things I do to get to know a child is telling them ‘I get where you’re coming from, the stress and the feeling of not being able to do something. I struggled and I still struggle say to day with maths. I’m lucky because the maths department help me out. So many of us out there  struggle with something. Everybody has some element of access to education, or completing their education, that they found difficult. And through that kind of neurodiverse umbrella, that’s really what we would be aiming for.  

Pupils on the spectrum actually presented themselves to the seniors recently, and the senior cycle classes  took part and asked questions. A few who are on the spectrum even put up their hands in their class and said ‘I am on the spectrum. I am autistic. My special interest is … this is what I find when I stim.’ And someone else was like, ‘oh right, okay. Yeah. I get that now.’ It’s about building common ground.  

  

I have heard vocational education is a big part of the school curriculum. How does that work? 

Lorraine: When they’re down with us in the SEN department, we would focus specifically on life skills. So that would incorporate for instance your day to- day personal care, care of your house, managing your budgets and we’re lucky that the departments all have adapted elements of that into their courses. But we also foster, and support work placements for our pupils, whether they’re on the spectrum or not. Some would struggle slightly more than other’s but we have ways to address that.  

 

Our SNAs have been out and supported pupils on work placement. We had one pupil who had worked in a recruitment firm and he was helping with filing and things in the recruitment firm. our SNA went to be a support to him for that. We’re going to set up our own little coffee shop here in school. We’ll have our own café and it will be for the teachers to buy their hot drinks and snacks. That will be work experience for some of our students who just maybe aren’t quite ready for actually being out in a work placement.  

 

We haven’t actually had 6th year yet, so we’re very much in the planning of vocational elements for them. Covid has hindered this a little, but we still have plans. It depends on what the student wants. We’ve some that will go to 3rd level, and we’ll be supporting them to achieve those goals in every way that we can. We also have some that have expressed an interest in a Post Leaving Cert course or   engaging with the National Learning Network and we will be supporting them, doing transition links and transitioning them as well, but we will also be giving them little tasters of work experience hopefully.  

 

Our Transition Years this year have spent one class a week for the whole year working with our guidance counsellor, specifically on jobs, careers explorations and what exactly is involved in that career. Some of our students are set on t becoming, say, a lawyer, but, they’re not quite sure of the journey to it. They’re not clear on what you do after the degree, or what is involved in the day-to-day life of a lawyer. They’ve gone through all of that and then the different types, and then, the pupils have a chance to generate discussion at home about it as well, that then feeds back into us, and their  class teachers, which allows us to support them by setting out the necessary steps to meet that goal.  

 

 Does this openness about neurodivergence encourage students to relate to each other better? 

 

Lorraine:  One of our students is now in 5th year and one night when we did our Halloween experience she really couldn’t cope and someone offered 

 her ear defenders to wear around the school because it was just too noisy for her. She only recently came down to us and said that she wears those headphones at home now.  Subsequently, she also started coming down to us for the blackout tent. Her mam said she’d have had them all her life, but they didn’t realise to the extent that she would be curled up in a ball rocking because of noise. Some students come down to us to learn about their sensory needs. We have sensory assessments ourselves that we can do with pupils we do not particularly know very well to help figure this out.  

And this isn’t just people who are seeking assessment. We also get people who already have a diagnosis learn more about their sensory needs, and I suppose their limits. We’ve got a pupil in here who would sell his soul, and yours, for an ‘After Eight’ chocolate. On the other hand we have a student who is incredibly sensitive to tastes and textures, so he has a particularly restrictive diet. He’d never tried mint and he had a tiny corner of an ‘After Eight’ because he saw the other lad enjoying it so much and he felt he was missing out. His eyes started watering like you would with a chilli pepper and he just said to me, ‘now I know!’  

  

If a teacher works in a mainstream school with low autism understanding, how do you recommend they start educating themselves on autism friendly teaching? 

 

Lorraine: The small things you can do is, besides getting to know them and being friendly, is getting to know what they’re interested in. I don’t mean just the special interests; I mean what do you like? What do you like to eat? What cake do you like? It’s no different to a mainstream neurotypical pupil. You’re really in a very unique position to be asked to be invited into their very personal world. I think that you need to reach out to your local schools and your colleagues. We try to create community of practise through autism sharing information about Autism Friendly Schools amongst each other. It’s going to involve dipping your toe into the community and getting out there. Above all you should get to know people who teach in SEN: there is a wealth of information there.

In addition, there are courses that you can do to get yourself trained if it’s something that you specifically want to do. Most of us have found ourselves in SEN due to a personal interest. That interest leads to research into things like autism friendly education and then finally into the experience of teaching kids with different support needs.  And you’ll be motivated to get trained so you can further support these students in achieving not only their educational goals but also their dreams of progressing towards their future.  If you are new to second level education, then there are small things you can do which will help a lot.   

  

Tune in next week to hear about Billy Redmond, friend of AsIAm and principal of ET Wicklow, discussing management and the principles behind autism friendly teaching. For more information, check our Education section.  

 

 

 

 

 

by - 21 June, 2021

Last updated by - June 21, 2021

in Adolescence, Anxiety and Meltdowns, Education, Featured News, Interviews, Schools

Can this be improved? Contact webeditor@asiam.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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  Rebecca Hitchcock Martins is a Cork mother who was working in London she met her husban...[...]

Autism Behind the Wheel: Teaching Teens and Young Adults on the Spectrum to Drive- Carmen Adams

by - 9 October, 2019

*Editor's note: Carmen's piece, though helpful, is written in an American context. Not all situat...[...]

AsIAm Spending Proposals for Budget 2020

by - 4 October, 2019

AsIAm launched our spending proposals this week for Budget 2020, with a clear message to the Gove...[...]

NCI Reaching Autism Friendly University Status This Month!

by - 2 October, 2019

We're currently  currently working towards Autism-Friendly Status with National College of Irelan...[...]

Clonakilty Anniversary One Year Event: An Evening With Alan Gardner

by - 2 October, 2019

We'll soon the first anniversary of Clonakilty becoming Ireland's first...[...]

AsIAm/Specialisterne Partnership

by - 1 October, 2019

                                                             We at AsIAm are pleased to ann...[...]

Autism Friendly Schools Pilot Project 2019/2020

by - 25 September, 2019

AsIAm are excited to announce the launch the ‘Autism Friendly Schools Pilot Project 2019/2020,’ ...[...]

Autism and Higher Education: Steve Silberman and Dr. Magda Mostafa

by - 25 September, 2019

AsIAm recently hosted an informal discussion for autism and higher education. The session began w...[...]

AsIAm Budgetary Submission

by - 19 September, 2019

At a time when many in the State continue to see the benefits of economic growth, Ireland’s auti...[...]

11 More Autism Friendly Towns Announced With SuperValu

by - 19 September, 2019

AsIAm is happy to today announce an additional 11 towns on the journey to becoming autism-friendl...[...]

Community Voices: Ella Durrigan on Starting College

by - 11 September, 2019

Autism vs First Year of college May 2019: I have just finished my summer exams. I had dropped ...[...]

Robert Byrne’s Sensory Pod

by - 10 September, 2019

Today we sit down with Robert Byrne, creator of the sensory pod. Adapting the capsule hotels comm...[...]

Dr. Gillian Smith on Autism Friendly Dental Practices

by - 6 September, 2019

Dr. Gillian Smith is a Bray-based dentist. She previously made headlines in 2012 when she won the...[...]

Community Voices: Nóra Nic Oireachtaigh and Bullying

by - 2 September, 2019

The following piece is the final piece in our series covering bullying and autism. The first part...[...]

School and Autism – My Experience: Lauren Martin

by - 28 August, 2019

August; and it seems as if I have only grown accustomed to the structure deficient summer days. T...[...]

Fota Wildlife Park recognised for commitment to autism inclusion

by - 27 August, 2019

The attraction has been accredited by National Autism Charity as an example of best practise in a...[...]

Community Voices: Autism and Bullying

by - 23 August, 2019

Hello all. If you haven’t seen our previous interview with Neil Kenny, I’d recommend checking it ...[...]

AsIAm Condemns Cut to Rehabilitative Training Allowance

by - 21 August, 2019

AsIAm, Ireland’s national autism charity, has condemned the Health Service Executive’s decision t...[...]

Explainer: New Rules for Irish Language Exemptions

by - 12 August, 2019

The Minister for Education and Skills announced a rehaul of the criteria for granting exemptions ...[...]

Autism and Education: Riley O’Keefe

by - 8 August, 2019

Mark O'Keefe, celebrity hairdresser and owner of the Sugar Club, made headlines last week in his ...[...]

AsIAm and Supervalu’s Corporate Charity Partnership Earns Award

by - 2 August, 2019

Coming ahead of some stiff competition, AsIAm and Supervalu have won the Corporate Charity Partne...[...]

Bullying and Autism: Neil Kenny Interview

by - 30 July, 2019

In the wake of Joel Langford’s tragic death, I wanted to discuss the unique nature of bullying di...[...]

Ireland’s First Disability Friendly Music Festival Enters Second Year

by - 24 July, 2019

After a highly successful debut in 2018, AbleFest is coming back to Co. Meath! I spoke to Shay Ca...[...]

Autistic Son To Be Relocated 70km Away From Family

by - 19 July, 2019

Jake O’Kane is 18 years old. He likes music, swimming and horse riding and he will soon be moved ...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 7/7/2019

by - 7 July, 2019

Hello, and welcome to Our Week Online. This edition will be the last news roundup on AsIAm.ie, at...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 30/6/2019

by - 30 June, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online, where we read the internet so you don't have to! A disability cent...[...]

teacher training autism

AsIAm CEO Addresses Oireachtas Committee on Public Petitions on Mandatory Teacher Training

by - 25 June, 2019

Last Wednesday 19th June AsIAm Founder and CEO Adam Harris addressed the Oireachtas Committee on ...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 16/6/2019

by - 16 June, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online, and what a wet week it's been.  Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride has announced ...[...]

autism magic adam o brien

Adam O’Brien: Spectrum

by - 14 June, 2019

  October, the month of Halloween, is a month associated with monsters, moonlight, and ...[...]

AsIAm CEO Addresses Oireachtas Joint Committee Consultation on Reduced Timetables

by - 13 June, 2019

Today AsIAm's Founder and CEO Adam Harris addressed the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education a...[...]

autism ID card_AsIAm_Ireland's National Autism Charity

Autism ID Card Announcement

by - 12 June, 2019

Autism ID Cards Update: Applications for Autism ID Cards will open on 31st July. Design has been...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 1/6/2019

by - 2 June, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online. This is a bumper edition for the bank holiday - sit back and enjoy. ...[...]

William Florish: “Here’s to the Invisible Kids”

by - 30 May, 2019

Here at AsIAm we've been inspired this week by William Florish, who just graduated from Transitio...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 12/5/2019

by - 12 May, 2019

Hello, and welcome to Our Week Online. This week Ireland became the second country in the world t...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 5/5/2019

by - 5 May, 2019

Hello, and welcome to Our Week Online. The autism community has made it through another World Aut...[...]

asiam_enough is enough protest_irelands national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Minister for Education Reminds Schools of Obligations to Students with SEN Following Enough Is Enough Protest

by - 1 May, 2019

Yesterday Minister for Education Joe McHugh TD published a statement reminding schools and patron...[...]

achievements_autitstic

Kevin Hanly – The Achievements That Can Be Made With Being Autistic!

by - 30 April, 2019

As we come to the end of World Autism Month 2019, autistic advocate and Tipperary GAA supporter K...[...]

enough_is_enough_protest_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

AsIAm to Join Enough Is Enough Protest on Lack of School Places for Autistic Students at Leinster House

by - 25 April, 2019

In light of the recent publication of our Invisible Children report on School Absence and Withdra...[...]

Joan McDonald – Introduction to Autistic Paddies

by - 24 April, 2019

You may have met Autistic Paddies at our last National Autism Conference in October, the Face...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 21/4/2019

by - 21 April, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online. Happy Easter, and Bank Holiday Weekend! If you need a break away from...[...]

barriers experienced by autistic adults

Research Opportunity: Barriers experienced by autistic adults accessing primary healthcare in Ireland

by - 16 April, 2019

AsIAm.ie is delighted to share this research opportunity with our readers. If you are interested ...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 14/4/2019

by - 14 April, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online. We're about halfway through World Autism Month, and it can be long. R...[...]

Explainer: What Happened in Senator Devine’s Commencement Matter on SEN Schools Provision in the Seanad?

by - 12 April, 2019

On Thursday morning, Senator Máire Devine submitted a Commencement Matter to Seanad Éireann on th...[...]

autism ID card_AsIAm Ireland's National Autism Charity

Autism ID Card Consultation

by - 11 April, 2019

In AsIAm we aim to make society universally accessible for autistic people. This would be a socie...[...]

autism seanad eireann_AsIAm Ireland's National Autism Charity

Explainer: What Happened in Senator Ó Ríordáin’s Commencement Matter on School Places in the Seanad?

by - 10 April, 2019

On Tuesday afternoon, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin submitted a Commencement Matter to Seanad Éireann...[...]

So You Want to Celebrate World Autism Month

by - 8 April, 2019

April is World Autism Month! That means many people will be talking about autism in the media, in...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 7/4/2019

by - 7 April, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online, and the first week of World Autism Month. This series has proved that...[...]

autism_motion

Explainer: What Happens Now after the Dáil’s Autism Motion?

by - 4 April, 2019

On Tuesday evening, Sinn Féin used their Private Members’ time to submit a motion to establish an...[...]

Majority of Irish Support Autistic People in Jobs, Schools and the Community, but Don’t Understand Autism Well, survey finds

by - 2 April, 2019

Irish people show strong positive support for autistic people in schools, employment and society ...[...]

autism_strategy_AsIAm Ireland's National Autism Charity

What is an Autism Strategy & What’s Happening Tomorrow with Sinn Féin’s Private Member’s Motion?

by - 1 April, 2019

Autism Strategy Tomorrow evening, Sinn Féin will be submitting a Private Member's Bill to establ...[...]

our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Our Week Online – 31/3/2019

by - 31 March, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online. Today happens to be AsIAm's fifth birthday! So it would be rude not t...[...]

Resource Pack for Primary and Secondary Schools 2019

by - 29 March, 2019

Calling all schools, teachers, and educators! April is World Autism Month, and we have developed ...[...]

autism_friendly_communities

SuperValu and AsIAm Inclusive Communities Award

by - 29 March, 2019

AsIAm and SuperValu have a strong partnership in supporting communities to become autism-friendly...[...]

Our Week Online – 24/3/2019

by - 24 March, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online. The countdown to April has begun, it's a really important month for A...[...]

What We Learned – Parent Wellness and Self-Care

by - 20 March, 2019

Last week we held our Community Support event in Tipperary on Parent Well-Being and Self-Care. Th...[...]

Free SuperValu Home Delivery to the Autism Community for April!

by - 20 March, 2019

AsIAm are delighted to partner with SuperValu, the first food retailer in Ireland to introduce Au...[...]

Our Week Online – 17/3/2019

by - 17 March, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online. In what has been a very busy news week, we've picked out autism and d...[...]

Interview – Kate Heffernan and Aisling O’Gorman, Peat @ The Ark

by - 12 March, 2019

The Ark Cultural Centre for Children presents Peat, a brand new theatre show for ages 8+ by Kate ...[...]

Our Week Online – 10/3/2019

by - 10 March, 2019

Hello, and welcome to Our Week Online. This week we celebrated Pancake Tuesday, World Book Day, a...[...]

Advice on Education Plans ~ AsIAm Explains

by - 5 March, 2019

In December of last year, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and Teacher’s Unio...[...]

Press Release: AsIAm Advice on Education Plans

by - 5 March, 2019

In December 2018, it was brought to AsIAm’s attention that the Association of Secondary Teachers ...[...]

Our Week Online – 3/3/2019

by - 3 March, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online - because these days, media is all about the signal boost. In the U...[...]

Help Raise Funds For AsIAm By Taking Part In The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon 2020

by - 26 February, 2019

Help Raise Funds For AsIAm By Taking Part In The VHI Women's Mini Marathon 2020   Date: ...[...]

Our Week Online – 24/2/2019

by - 24 February, 2019

Welcome to Our Week Online. Did anyone else struggle with knowing what to wear in the sudden warm...[...]

autism_community_support

Community Support Update and FAQs

by - 22 February, 2019

We want to give you all an update on our Community Support seminars so far! We've held five event...[...]

Interview: Dr. Linda O’Rourke and Elzaan Marnane of Core Clinical

by - 21 February, 2019

It's no secret that meaningful supports and services for autistic people in Ireland are tough to ...[...]

survey_education_autism

Call Out: Complete Our Survey on Adult Autism Diagnosis

by - 21 February, 2019

In partnership with Core Clinical, we invite autistic people with a formal adult diagnosis of aut...[...]

autism and play_community support

What We Learned – Autism and Play: Promises and Possibilities

by - 21 February, 2019

On Monday evening we held our Community Support event in Co. Limerick on Autism and Play. We ...[...]

autism_friendly_town

Are You Ready to create your Autism Friendly Town?

by - 19 February, 2019

AsIAm and SuperValu were proud to partner with the community of Clonakilty in creating Ireland’s ...[...]

Our Week Online – 17/2/2019

by - 17 February, 2019

This is Our Week Online. We hope you all had a Happy Valentine’s Day (and an even better Galentin...[...]

Interview: Julie McCabe

by - 16 February, 2019

For those of you who watched the most recent episode of Ireland’s Got Talent last Saturday at...[...]

Noel Ward and Michael McEnery’s April Ultra-Marathon in aid of AsIAm!

by - 14 February, 2019

Autism Awareness Month is coming up soon in April, and two men are planning to give it their all ...[...]

right_to_earn_living

A Right to Earn a Living ~ AsIAm Explains

by - 12 February, 2019

Last week, Education and Skills Minister Joe McHugh TD stated that his Department would be appeal...[...]

Our Week Online – 10/2/2019

by - 10 February, 2019

This is Our Week Online. Sit down, why don't you? A quarter of the disabled population of Irel...[...]

community_support

What We Learned – Community Support: Puberty and Sexuality

by - 8 February, 2019

Last night we held our Puberty and Sexuality Community Support seminar in Co. Wicklow, and we're ...[...]

Being a True Friend by Rachael Donohoe

by - 7 February, 2019

Here at AsIAm it's important to us to champion the work of the autistic community. That's why we ...[...]

Orán Timoney – Special Award Winner at BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition!

by - 5 February, 2019

We're very proud to say that Orán Timoney, a member of our first Youth Leadership Team and now an...[...]

Our Week Online – 3/2/2019

by - 3 February, 2019

It's Sunday, and February is here which means, whether it feels like it or not, Spring has come t...[...]

survey_education_autism

Call Out: Complete Our Surveys on School Places and Exclusion/Withdrawal

by - 30 January, 2019

As the national autistic advocacy organisation, AsIAm receives a huge volume of messages from fam...[...]

independent_living

What We Learned – Community Support: Independent Living and Housing

by - 29 January, 2019

Last week we held our first 2019 Community Support event in Ratoath, County Meath, on the topic o...[...]

Our Week Online – 27/1/2019

by - 27 January, 2019

It's 2019, and welcome to Our Week Online. How are you doing with your New Year's Resolutions? If...[...]

“It’s Not A Disorder”: Minister Joe McHugh Challenges Himself and TDs on Inclusive Language around Autism

by - 23 January, 2019

 Following constructive and insightful discussions and correspondence with AsIAm in recent week...[...]

Interview: Daniel Kennedy

by - 22 January, 2019

Art is a natural fit for many people on the autism spectrum. Whether it's done as a hobby or a fo...[...]

asiam_asti_meeting

Constructive Meeting between AsIAm & ASTI Representatives

by - 21 January, 2019

Representatives from both AsIAm and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) met last...[...]

asiam-condemns-asti-advice.jpg.

AsIAm Condemns the ‘Pick & Choose’ Approach to Meeting Students’ Needs from the ASTI & TUI

by - 19 December, 2018

Sign our petition calling for the ASTI & TUI to revise their advice here!   AsIAm, I...[...]

Our Week Online – 16/12/2018

by - 16 December, 2018

Welcome to the last Our Week Online of 2018. This will be our last round up of the year because w...[...]

Kelli Twomey: “This is ME”

by - 10 December, 2018

Kelli Twomey, a mother of an autistic child, sent us this poem from her child's perspective, and ...[...]

Our Week Online – 9/12/2018

by - 9 December, 2018

Welcome to Our Week Online. Don't know what it is about December, but the autism and disability s...[...]

We Need an Inclusive, Measurable Autism Strategy

by - 6 December, 2018

AsIAm has said the publication by the Department of Health of two reports relating to autism must...[...]

Our Week Online – 2/12/2018

by - 2 December, 2018

Welcome to Our Week Online. This is the biggest roundup so far, but it was a big week! Go and boi...[...]

National Autism Conference 2018 Speaker Presentations

by - 26 November, 2018

It's been a month since our National Autism Conference in October, and we've received wonderful f...[...]

Our Week Online – 25/11/2018

by - 25 November, 2018

Welcome to Our Week Online, a round up of autism and disability related news around the world, ar...[...]

Kevin Hanly: Living With Autism at Christmas Time

by - 23 November, 2018

The end of November is near, and while there's still a few weeks left until Christmas, preparing ...[...]

Interview: Elaine Harris

by - 19 November, 2018

Elaine Harris is a yoga teacher who founded The Yoga Shed in Co. Wicklow in 2014, which serves to...[...]

Our Week Online – 18/11/2018

by - 18 November, 2018

Welcome to Our Week Online, probably the only news roundup this week that doesn't include Brexit....[...]

Our Week Online – 11/11/2018

by - 11 November, 2018

It's Sunday, winter has definitely arrived, and there's only six weeks to Christmas! Welcome to O...[...]

Community Support – Autism in the Home, University College Cork, Cork

by - 6 November, 2018

AsIAm is hosting twenty four Community Support Seminar talks around the country over the next twe...[...]

Community Support – Autism and the Law, RCSI, Dublin

by - 6 November, 2018

AsIAm is hosting twenty four Community Support Seminar talks around the country over the next twe...[...]

Our Week Online – 4/11/2018

by - 4 November, 2018

It's Sunday, and welcome to Our Week Online. Here's the internet's tricks and treats from the pas...[...]

Interview: Nicholas Ryan-Purcell

by - 2 November, 2018

Nicholas Ryan-Purcell is an autistic filmmaker from Co. Tipperary. His latest film is called This...[...]

Our Week Online – 28/10/2018

by - 28 October, 2018

It's Sunday, Halloween is almost here, Ireland is (hopefully) done with voting for the year, and ...[...]

Call Out: NCSE Consultations on Special Schools and Classes

by - 24 October, 2018

Our survey on special schools and classes is now live and open to the public! If you're a school ...[...]

Autism Friendly Santa School

by - 24 October, 2018

*Due to the huge amount of inquiries we have had about our Autism Friendly Santa Training, we...[...]

autism_community_support

Community Support Survey 2018

by - 23 October, 2018

We at AsIAm invite the autism community in Ireland to take part in our new Community Support Surv...[...]

Research Opportunity: Building Inclusive Healthcare for People with Autism, NUI Galway

by - 23 October, 2018

AsIAm.ie is delighted to share this research opportunity with our users. If you are interested in...[...]

Our Week Online – 21/10/2018

by - 21 October, 2018

It's Sunday, and welcome to Our Week Online. The AsIAm team are having a well-deserved rest after...[...]

Laragh Smith: My Experience of an Inclusive Community

by - 19 October, 2018

The theme of this year's National Autism Conference is "Building Inclusive Communities". Laragh, ...[...]

Update: National Autism Conference 2018

by - 18 October, 2018

AsIAm National Autism Conference is just two days away! Our team are putting the final details to...[...]

Meet Our New Community Support Officer!

by - 17 October, 2018

Last month, we introduced you to our new Information Officer, Eleanor Walsh. Today, we would like...[...]

National Autism Conference 2018 – Autism Welcoming Venue and Experience

by - 16 October, 2018

National Autism Conference is less than a week away, in the Grand Hotel, Malahide, Dublin, this S...[...]

Clonakilty an Autism Friendly Town: A First For Ireland

by - 16 October, 2018

SuperValu and AsIAm partner with the entire community of Clonakilty to secure fu...[...]

Our Week Online – 14/10/2018

by - 14 October, 2018

Here's a new series on the website where we round up some of the best writing on autism, disabili...[...]

Stephen Shore Visits AsIAm and DCU

by - 5 October, 2018

Last week AsIAm was honoured to welcome Dr. Stephen Shore, noted autistic academic and speaker, t...[...]

The Clonakilty Commitment – Training Week!

by - 3 October, 2018

The town of Clonakilty in Co. Cork has undertaken a commitment to become fully Autism Friendly – ...[...]

What Strategies can I use for my Non-Verbal Child to ease their Transition?

by - 28 September, 2018

All autistic children experience challenges in communication. While many might have an extensive ...[...]

BUY YOUR COPY: Mary Immaculate publishes a handbook for educators – “Autism from the Inside Out”

by - 21 September, 2018

AsIAm would like to thank Dr Emer Ring and her colleagues from Mary Immaculate College (MIC)'s De...[...]

Meet Our New Information Officer!

by - 21 September, 2018

AsIAm is delighted to welcome two new members of staff to our team this autumn! Michael O'Flan...[...]

How Can I Apply for a Special Needs Assistant (SNA)?

by - 20 September, 2018

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has just completed a review of the Special Need...[...]

How can My Child Be Supported if They’re Having a Meltdown?

by - 20 September, 2018

Research continues to tell us that we must view ‘challenging behaviour’ as a way in which the chi...[...]

How can I Explain My Child’s Sensory Needs to their New Teacher?

by - 19 September, 2018

Your child’s teacher may already be aware of autistic children's sensory needs. However, if your ...[...]

What’s an Individual Education Plan (IEP) & how can I Set One Up for My Child?

by - 18 September, 2018

An Individual Education Plan, often referred to as an ‘IEP’, is a plan to support your child’s le...[...]

What can I Do if my Child Doesn’t Want to go Back to School?

by - 14 September, 2018

Dr Emer Ring is the Head of the Department of Reflective Pedacology and Early Childhood Studies a...[...]

How can I help Ease My Child Back into the School Routine from Home?

by - 11 September, 2018

We all struggle getting back into our regular routine after holidays and for autistic children, w...[...]

What Resources are Available to Support Families on their Transitions in School?

by - 7 September, 2018

There is a wide range of resources available to support parents and children on this exciting jou...[...]

Is it a Good Idea to Arrange a Meeting with their Teacher? If so, What Should I Ask?

by - 4 September, 2018

It is a really good idea and absolutely essential to arrange a meeting with your child’s teacher,...[...]

Are there Things I can do at Home to Prepare my Child for Starting School?

by - 31 August, 2018

Parents and families are preparing their children for school from the day they are born and not j...[...]

What are the Most Important Things to Consider when Choosing a School for my Child?

by - 29 August, 2018

Starting school is one of the biggest events in both a family member's and a child's life. All be...[...]

Kevin Hanley: Back to Routine!

by - 27 August, 2018

Returning to routine after a break can be a tough one to get your head around, especially after a...[...]

AsIAm CEO Speaks before the Oireachtas Education Committee

by - 27 June, 2018

AsIAm Founder and CEO Adam Harris called on the Department of Education to deliver training to te...[...]

Melissa Mooney: Autism is a Superpower!

by - 19 June, 2018

Melissa, a young woman living with Asperger's, talks about her experiences with her autism and ab...[...]

AsIAm official charity partner at the forthcoming Arsenal vs Chelsea match

by - 13 June, 2018

It was with great pride and excitement that we announce today that AsIAm will be charity partner ...[...]

NCSE’s Review of Special Needs Assistants Explained

by - 31 May, 2018

This week, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) launched its review into the Special...[...]

AsIAm National Autism Conference 2018: “Building Inclusive Communities”

by - 6 May, 2018

We are delighted to make the tickets available for our 3rd Annual AsIAm National Autism Conferenc...[...]

Interview: Jody O’Neill – Autism & Entrepreneurship

by - 4 May, 2018

Jody O’Neill is a young self-advocate attending Castletroy College in County Limerick. She has se...[...]

Stimming

by - 25 April, 2018

Stimming (short for self-stimulatory behaviour) is a repetitive series of actions which an autist...[...]

Building an Autism-Friendly Environment

by - 23 April, 2018

We often think of Autism Friendly environments as a strictly sensory exercise and that’s certainl...[...]

Aisling Foran: Listening & Social Groups

by - 20 April, 2018

WHAT IS THE TRIPLE A ALLIANCE? Triple A Alliance was set up in 2002 by a group of parents who wa...[...]

Make Your Club Autism-Friendly

by - 19 April, 2018

Awareness about autism has increased among society in recent years. This is a positive developmen...[...]

Check In & Ask

by - 18 April, 2018

Day #17 of our #AsImChallenge is about checking in and asking. Successful autism inclusion is ...[...]

Conducting Autism-Friendly Interviews

by - 17 April, 2018

Businesses have begun to recognise the valuable skills that autistic employees can bring to the w...[...]

Creating a Quiet Space

by - 16 April, 2018

Sensory rooms or quiet spaces are designated areas where autistic people can use to stim or retre...[...]

Create a “Social story” for your business or organisation

by - 15 April, 2018

Social stories are short guides of a particular situation, event or activity. They include specif...[...]

Making Written Communication Clear

by - 14 April, 2018

We often think of autism’s major difficulties with communication and language as an almost exclus...[...]

Making Your Organisation Sensory-Friendly

by - 13 April, 2018

Day#12 of our #AsIAmChallenge is about being aware of people's sensory needs. Autistic individual...[...]

Check out our Sensory Checklist Tool!

by - 13 April, 2018

It's Day 12 of #AsIAmChallenge and things have taken a big step up! Today we are challenging memb...[...]

Autism & Stereotyping

by - 12 April, 2018

Autism is widely known yet it is not widely understood. Awareness of the condition has grown in r...[...]

DCU Launches First Ever Autism-Friendly Campus

by - 22 March, 2018

Dublin City University was recognised as the world’s first autism-friendly university by AsIAm to...[...]

AsIAm Cautiously Welcomes the UNCRPD’s Ratification

by - 8 March, 2018

AsIAm welcomes the government’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Pe...[...]

Changes In Routine: What do I do?

by - 28 February, 2018

Changes in schedule or routine can make autistic people – children as well as adults – anxious an...[...]

Nicole Duggan: My Boy Blue

by - 19 February, 2018

Nicola Duggan is a young parent of a child on the autism spectrum. She has been blogging about he...[...]

Spotlight: Autism Spectrum Fitness

by - 15 February, 2018

Fitness and keeping up exercise can be challenging habits to start, nevermind keep, for those of ...[...]

Interview: YLT’s Ben Rowsome & his Garda Youth Award

by - 9 February, 2018

Earlier this week, Co. Wicklow's Ben Rowsome was nominated for a Garda Youth Award for his advoca...[...]

AsIAm CEO Condemns Irish Rail’s Quiet Carriages Phasing-Out

by - 26 January, 2018

AsIAm CEO Adam Harris has condemned Irish Rail’s move to phase out its quiet carriages from its D...[...]

Interview: Dr John Hillery

by - 10 January, 2018

Dr John Hillery is the President of the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland.  In this exclusive ...[...]

Brian Irwin: Accessibility & Finding the Supports You Need

by - 19 December, 2017

Brian Irwin, a self advocate based in Cork, talks about his personal journey as a young person on...[...]

AsIAm CEO attends SuperValu Autism-Friendly Shopping Project Launch

by - 1 December, 2017

AsIAm Founder and CEO Adam Harris helped launch SuperValu’s Autism-Friendly Shopping project earl...[...]

Kevin Hanly: “Take it One Day at a Time”

by - 28 November, 2017

Beginning a new start anywhere – whether it’s a new school, a new college or a job – is as exciti...[...]

Eleanor Walsh: “You Matter!”

by - 23 November, 2017

Eleanor Walsh, a member of our Youth Leadership Team, lets those of us on the spectrum know why w...[...]

Brian Irwin: Sensory Overload & Meltdowns

by - 8 November, 2017

Sensory overloads are common experiences with many autistic individuals and can often lead to mel...[...]

Interview: PRISM DLR Autism Support Group

by - 25 October, 2017

Support groups are invaluable resources for the autism community, from individuals on the spectru...[...]

Laura Crean: Just what is a ‘successful’ transition?

by - 17 October, 2017

Laura Crean is a member of AsIAm's Youth Leadership Team and currently in her first year of study...[...]

Kevin McLoughlin: ‘Look At Me Now’

by - 4 October, 2017

Kevin McLoughlin is a member of our Youth Leadership Team and is currently completing his Leaving...[...]

Louise Ryan: Knowing Parents’ Rights for Your Child’s Education

by - 2 October, 2017

Louise Ryan from Co. Limerick, a mother of two young boys on the autistic spectrum, talks about h...[...]

Socialising & Building Social Skills

by - 29 September, 2017

Amid preparing for school or for college, whilst we’re often completely caught up worrying if we’...[...]

AsIAm Founder & CEO Adam Harris Speaks at Mary Immaculate College

by - 25 September, 2017

The AsIAm team travelled to Limerick City on Friday, where our Founder and CEO Adam Harris delive...[...]

Joanne Weller: Back to Education and Transitioning from School to College and Further Education

by - 22 September, 2017

It’s the time of month again to go back to school and starting third level education, even going ...[...]

Kevin Hanly: New Journeys Starting College

by - 1 September, 2017

With the college term fast approaching, students across Ireland are busy readying themselves for ...[...]

Spotlight: HSE ASD Review

by - 30 August, 2017

HSE ASD Review The HSE are seeking written submissions for a review into the different services p...[...]

Summer on the Autistic Spectrum: A Parent’s Take

by - 23 August, 2017

Summers can be challenging for the parents of autistic children. With school out, regular routine...[...]

Spotlight: Dr Temple Grandin in Cork

by - 21 August, 2017

The AsIAm team travelled to Cork city this Friday past to attend an afternoon lecture from Dr Tem...[...]

Autism and the Internet: Keeping Yourself Safe Online

by - 11 August, 2017

The internet can be a powerful platform and a huge resource for the autistism community. A wealth...[...]

Sibling Safety this Summer

by - 4 August, 2017

The season of summer is well underway. As we enter August, children everywhere across Ireland wi...[...]

Spotlight: Sensory Room at the Sligo Clayton Hotel

by - 2 August, 2017

This week, Sligo’s Clayton Hotel became the first hotel in Ireland to establish a room specifical...[...]

Poem: BE YOU – NIQUE

by - 25 July, 2017

Leigh E. O'Brien's young nephew Liam lives with autism. Earlier this year, she composed this poem...[...]

Spotlight: Middletown Centre for Autism

by - 24 July, 2017

The Middletown Centre for Autism is an educational and research facility whose work revolves arou...[...]

Adam Kennefick: Autism Through My Eyes

by - 17 July, 2017

When I was just a small child, my parents and teachers noticed something different about me. They...[...]

Interview: Senator Dr. James Reilly

by - 13 July, 2017

Earlier this week, as his Autism Spectrum Disorder Bill passed through the Seanad, we sat down wi...[...]

Positive progress made as Autism Bill passes through Seanad Éireann

by - 13 July, 2017

AsIAm Ireland has warmly welcomed the passage through Seanad Éireann of the Autism Spectrum Disor...[...]

Interview: Autism, Tipp G.A.A. and Me

by - 6 July, 2017

This week, we sat down with Kevin Hanly, a young man from Tipperary to talk about his experiences...[...]

BLOG: Hello from the other side

by - 10 March, 2017

Trish Flood, a mum to two boys on the Autism Spectrum and a super advocate for the Autism Communi...[...]

Stepping off the treadmill: Getting a Diagnosis as an Adult

by - 10 March, 2017

A blog by Brian Irwin,  AsIAm Volunteer & Secondary School Speaker in the Cork Region [capti...[...]

Michael Ryan: Secondary School – Getting off to the right start

by - 1 September, 2015

Starting or returning to Secondary School can be a big change and a challenge for all students, h...[...]

President Michael D. Higgins becomes Patron of AsIAm.ie

by - 22 April, 2015

AsIAm.ie is pleased to announce that the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has kindly agr...[...]

Jonathan Victory: Aspergers Syndrome & Martial Arts

by - 5 December, 2014

Jonathan Victory shares his positive experiences of Martial Arts as someone with Aspergers Synd...[...]

Parents Guide: Birthday Parties

by - 29 September, 2014

Attending, and having, a Birthday party is an important part of growing up! For children with A...[...]

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