To celebrate World Autism Awareness Month in April, Ambitious about Autism is bringing some of the best and most recent films about autism straight to your computer screen. The programme will feature four online film screenings on our website during April 2012. Click here to get the Autism Film club password to see the films.
The two remaining films to be shown are:
USA / 2011 / colour / not rated / 63 mins: Streaming on Wednesday 18 April 2012
Animating Autism is a feature length documentary on autism that follows seven individuals on the spectrum as they collaborate to create a short animated film. The documentary follows them as they learn how to turn their sketches into movies and form lasting friendships.
USA / 2011 / colour / not rated / 84 mins: Streaming on our website on Wednesday 25 April 2012
In Loving Lampposts, we witness this debate and meet the parents, doctors, therapists, and autistic people who are redefining autism at a moment when it’s better known than ever before. Motivated by his son’s diagnosis, filmmaker Todd Drezner explores the changing world of autism and learns the truth of the saying, “if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.”
Hacking Autism is a web site which brings together a volunteer group of software developers and specialists in autism with the intention of creating apps for iPads and other touch-enabled devices that can be used by people with an autism spectrum disorder. Parents of children with ASD are invited to suggest features they would like to see in future apps.
What are your ideas? Submit them and get feedback. There may already be an app or a piece of software that exists that could be very helpful for your autistic pupil. Please leave a comment on this blog if you find out any information. It’s important that we all keep sharing our findings.
LTScotland reports on an interesting region-wide project to incorporate symbols into mainstream schools in Fife.
Fife Assessment Centre for Communication through Technology (FACCT) is a Fife-wide service supporting clients for whom speech is not their main means of communication.
Symbols are images which are used to make meanings clearer and easier to understand by providing a visual representation of a single word or a concept. It is important to understand that symbols are different from pictures. A picture conveys a lot of information at once and its focus may be unclear, whereas a symbol focuses on a single concept and by grouping them together more precise information can be conveyed.
Initially, staff became aware that using symbols consistently in a mainstream class was not only supporting a child with an identified learning disability but was meeting the needs of many children who had no recognised learning or communication impairment. Symbols packs were developed and offered to classes throughout the school and were quickly taken up by other members of the teaching staff as they realised the benefits they brought to pupils’ overall development.
There is a consistent approach to the symbols used in all the establishments involved. This ensures that pupils transferring from one environment to another are familiar with any symbols in use, no matter which establishment they are in.
The chosen symbol software package used to create the resources was Mayer-Johnson’s ‘Boardmaker’.
Examples of the use of symbols include:
• anti-bullying materials •
rights respecting schools information
• conflict resolution methods
• ‘goal -plan -do -review’
• The Mathematics and Home Economic Departments began using symbols to help pupils establish a routine once they entered the classroom. This supported a positive ethos within the classroom.
• Directional symbols are being developed to help S1 pupils and any visitors to the building
• Symbols are used in the main reception area of the school
• Pupils use personalised symbolised timetables.
Hugh O’Donnell, MSP’s Scottish Autism Bill has now reached its most crucial and important stage- its first parliamentary vote this month. The Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee has decided not to support the Bill, believing that sufficient legislaion already exists.
For details about the latest on this bill have a look here
The Scottish Government announced yesterday that a new initiative in teacher training – the National Framework for Inclusion - aims to ensure better classroom support for pupils with additional needs, such as dyslexia.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Fiona Hyslop launched the Framework which offers advice to encourage student teachers and qualified teachers to be inclusive in their teaching.
The Framework was funded by the Scottish Government and developed by the Scottish Teacher Education Committee (STEC), the body for the seven Scottish universities who provide teacher training.identifies the values and beliefs, professional knowledge and understanding and the skills and abilities, in terms of inclusive education, to be expected of both student teachers and qualified teachers. A further web-based resource will give support by providing relevant, high quality materials and documentation.
The document proposes under each of the headings (Student Teachers, Teachers, Advanced Professionals) what should be regarded as minimum expectations of teachers at each of the levels rather than as a hierarchical approach to anticipated engagement by teachers.
It aims to place a clear emphasis on the essential role played by the values and beliefs (Professional Values and Commitment) of each teacher in their commitment to the development of inclusive practice.
The Framework Document aims to be comprehensive but not prescriptive. It is question-based to encourage teachers to accept a shared responsibility for researching answers – and further questions – with the support of the web-based repository. It would be good to see staff in schools thinking about these questions in relation to all their pupils.
I really welcome the fact that it promotes inclusion as being the responsibility of all teachers in all schools and has tried to identify and to address the needs of teachers at all stages of their careers. It recognises and emphasises the need for career-long and life-long learning
A new resource to help schools meet the needs of children with autism has been launched.
The Autism Toolbox, which has been sent to every school and education authority in Scotland, draws on practical examples, literature and research to give guidance to councils and support to schools. It is funded by the Scottish Government and developed by the National Centre for Autism Studies at the University of Strathclyde.
Adam Ingram, Minister for Children and Early Years, said that young people with autism deserve the opportunity to gain the most they can from a supportive education system.
The Autism Toolbox is available on the Scottish Government website and hard copies can be ordered through Blackwell’s Bookshop.
The Autism Toolbox is the output of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Education Working Group, which was established to take forward the recommendations in the Education for Pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorders report from HMIE and the National Autistic Society Scotland report, make school make sense – both published in October 2006. The Working Group included representation from HMIE, the National Autistic Society Scotland, the Scottish Society for Autism, Initial Teacher Education Providers and the Educational Institute of Scotland.
What a great workshop I participated in at the weekend! The Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy team were excellent and had us singing, clapping and trying out crazy musical instruments like Boom Wackas!
We were there to:
- find out more about the benefits of music therapy
- get an update on the NB project (working with youngsters in North Berwick schools), and
- to meet other supporters and interested parties
We found about what music therapy actually is, about how Music Therapists are trained, who can benefit from therapy and how music therapy can help. The videos of the children during a session were very emotional to watch and the benefits obvious to all. We were laughing and crying as we watched.
The music therapists showed great skill as they improvised on the piano whilst interpreting our actions. I’ve been singing ‘Belle Mama’ ever since!
Holyrood reports that according to a new study Scottish children with learning difficulties are not receiving an appropriate level of educational care and support.
The study by charity Mindroom estimates that nearly a fifth of Scottish school children have a recognised learning difficulty. This would put the figure at around 120,000 affected pupils, much higher than the official figure of 30,000 children receiving learning support.
Mindroom believes that many children are suffering from a lack of expert supervision, particularly if they have disorders on the autistic spectrum. As part of a proposed package of reforms, the charity is calling for greater training for staff and more investment in learning difficulties research.
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2008/03/05135701The Scottish Government announces that First Minister Alex Salmond has visited the New Struan School – a Centre for Autism in Alloa.
Welcoming the work of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership, which draws together national autism charities of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the First Minister said sharing information and skills would improve services across nations. The aim of Celtic Nations Autism Partnership, a partnership of Autism Northern Ireland, Autism Cymru, the Scottish Society for Autism and the Irish Society for Autism, is to establish an alliance of interested parties to work with Government.
The New Struan School, run by the Scottish Society for Autism, is designed to provide a positive, caring environment that promotes the development of pupils. Pupils have access to speech, drama, music and dance therapy services and enjoy the use of a specially designed playroom and heated swimming pool.
Situated on the Bradbury Campus, on the outskirts of Alloa, the New Struan School – a Centre for Autism was opened in September 2005 following a £5 million fundraising initiative. An architect with family experience of autism, who understood the nuances that can affect children with this condition, designed it. As a result the School includes a number of specific features, such as indirect, although natural, lighting, wide corridors, a specific use of colour and purpose-built classrooms.
The Scottish Society for Autism (SSA) is an independent Scottish charity and is now the leading provider of services for persons of all ages living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Scotland.
http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/news/display.var.2096788.0.Cash_boost_to_help_train_autism_care_staff.phpThe Herald reports that First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday announced an extra £300,000 for training staff working with autism sufferers.
The money has been awarded to the Scottish Society for Autism (SSA) and will allow the society’s staff to benefit from specific training modules on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A report found that more than half of adults with the condition do not have enough support to meet their needs.