This highly interactive teacher training course provides a solid introduction to the challenges of autism in education. The course covers a broad span of ideas and activities to enliven lessons and make them more motivating, and places a strong emphasis on developing practical skills and outcomes for the classroom. The course is useful for both those with some experience of ASD and those new to the condition. Key topics will be addressed, including characteristics and diagnostic criteria, a structured approach to teaching, recognising different types of discriminatory or exclusive behaviour, and understanding the causes of challenging behaviours, with the aim of developing a range of best practices. Included is an optional team-building activity.
This course is for all professionals who want to better understand the challenges of autism, Asperger Syndrome (AS) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) within the professional environment. You will learn about what ASD consists of, how it affects the teaching and learning environments, and why understanding ASD is so important. Those who will benefit include teachers, teaching assistants, school heads, counsellors, and teacher trainers. This course can also be combined with other SEN courses in consecutive weeks for form a two-week course. Participants need to be at a minimum B1 level of English.
After registration, participants on this course programme will receive:
a pre-course questionnaire which will enable trainers to learn about the participants’ teaching backgrounds
information about the Europass Mobility Certificate
a recommended reading list to prepare participants for various aspects of the course
information about York to prepare teachers for their cultural experience
By the end of the course participants will:
have an understanding of what autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and ASD are
have practical ideas on how to teach those on the spectrum, while not negatively affecting other students
understand key challenges, including managing learning styles, minimising discriminatory behaviour, and creating an inclusive learning environment for all
be able to understand the positive aspects of autism in order to create a positive learning space for all
have enjoyed a positive environment in which to share best practices and exchange ideas with each other
Sessions raise and deepen awareness of ASD. An interactive communicative approach is applied, which provides participants with their own experiential learning of the activities and methodologies. Input sessions are in the form of hands-on workshops and involve brainstorming, analysis, problem-solving, and role-play, both in pair work and group work. Participants are actively involved in the sessions to maximize their learning and to experience activities from their learners’ point of view.
Teachers are asked to reflect on the activities, inviting discussion with regard to their own knowledge and experience, teaching methods and contexts, and on adaptation of activities to their own teaching and learning situations. Participants are also introduced to key resources related to the further development of their teaching skills and personal professional development. Both theory and practice are explored, analyzed and discussed, further enabling the participants’ use and development of their teaching and classroom management skills.
The course ends with an evaluation session, where teachers are asked to reflect upon the value of the knowledge gained on the course. They are also encouraged in this session to create a Personal Development Action Plan, and select activities which they would like to try out in their own classes. They are invited to join the York Associates Community, which allows networking and contact with the trainers and fellow colleagues, and with participants from other courses.
Sample Course Programme
Introductions English language refresher (Useful Vocabulary)
Special needs and learning difficulties (Autism): Characteristics and diagnostic criteria of Autism Spectrum Conditions
Special needs and learning difficulties (Asperger’s):
Key considerations and approaches for teaching students with Asperger’s syndrome and supporting them and their parents
What is autism? A scientific approach Autism friendly games and activities
What is autism? A cognitive approach. Issues you may face in the classroom.
Methodology, mini- teaching practice, reflection and discussion
What is autism? A behavioural approach Autism friendly games and activities
Key methodologies for teaching students with autism and supporting them and their parents
Preparation for school visit / guest speaker:
What will you ask? What do you want to know? What will you tell them about your teaching context in your own culture?
School visit or Guest speaker on key methodologies and local projects
Debrief, discussion and key learnings (following guest speaker/school visit session)
Free time / self- study
Special needs and learning difficulties: Managing Meltdowns
Group work: Presentations Input: setting goals for personal and institutional improvement Creating a personal action plan for the future
Review of the week:
Individual work: “A letter to myself – where I want to be in the future”
Next steps: resources and action plan