Autism Spectrum Course.
20 students from 6 countries (England, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania) participated in our multicultural course.
I am very happy I’ve done this course and I thank you that I could be your student. I’ve learned so much and I am motivated to work again. You gave me the energy that has been missing recently. You showed me how to understand children with autism. Working with these children is difficult, but very rewarding. You’ve made me think about how complex communication and interpersonal understanding are, not only for people with autism, but also for us all. I want to create the right conditions for kids with autism that will compensate for their difficulties in communication, social relationships, perception and imagination, while allowing them to the most independent and meaningful life…
I have still a lot to learn!!!
Once again, thank you very much.
On-line course is my first experience. I am very satisfied.
Gabriela Kysels (the Czech Republic)
The course was a marvellous incursion into the world of autism. It was well documented, well argued and compelling.
Olga taught us how different could autistic people perceive the world, how interesting their thinking system could be and how should we approach them to build bridges between the two worlds. I deeply hope that more and more people will be convinced about the validity of sensory perceptions theory in autism, for this is the best explanation for behaviours I can notice in my son and other autistic children. I also appreciated the information in Module I – the history of autism, the reviewing of theories and of treatment methods – and I often think about the huge struggle of past generations to find the right answer about the spectrum. I enjoyed the tests and activities, they made us to reflect about the significant aspects, and I only regret having no tests in Module II. I also had a lot to learn from forum discussions – I can say that each student had the chance to be both her colleagues’ teacher and pupil simultaneously.
Finally, I wish to appreciate the site organization – it was very easy to understand, very clear, student-friendly (except the periods when it didn’t work ).
Thank you very much Olga, and I want to thank all the people who made this course possible.
Irina Litcanu (Romania)
This course has truly opened my eyes in the world of autism. I have been working with children with autism for around three years now. Before this time, I had little knowledge of autism and took it upon myself to research before I started the job in order to have some idea about these children. The three years I have spent working at this school has truly been an invaluable experience, I have learnt so much regarding autism, I already felt confident with working with autistic children.
However, since starting this course, I have realised how much that I was not aware of! It has been an honour to be part of such a great course. This has really helped me in my professional development as I am now more open minded when it comes to children with autism as I have a wider range of knowledge. I am able to give more in group discussions and meetings at the school and give more ideas to ideas and things we could try in the classroom in order to give the best support possible.
I am very grateful for you putting together such a great course. What I have learnt will stay with me throughout my career.
Emmaline Ewart (England)
I have to say that although it has been hard going at times I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this course and I have learnt a tremendous amount. At one point I really thought about giving up as I felt that I didn’t have the confidence to post in the discussion forum’s but I have to say once I had completed a few it definitely got a little easier and I discovered that the forum was full of lovely, inspirational people who I have gained knowledge from.
The second module has been the most engaging for me and my eye have been opened to just how detailed the word ‘sensory’ is. I now find myself walking through the corridors, classroom, playground and dinner hall with new eyes and a new thought process of what we should be looking for in order to best support each child I work with.
Thank you so much.
Sarah Parish (England)
Firstly I want to thank you Olga for giving me the opportunity to do this course. Having Crohn’s disease, studying and furthering myself can be somewhat tricky but you have given me fantastic support and the benefit this course has had for my profession has been overwhelming.
Module 2, has been my favourite part where I feel I have learnt more than I ever could by quite simply reading a book or working with children. It has given me more insight into the “why” factor of sensory and autism. In some areas it has changed my approach. Before this course I felt I was doing ok, the children I’ve worked with all seem to like me and they were making progress. However, having read so much insightful information I have changed my approach with my new knowledge and have been able to make even further progress with them. Every area we have covered has either furthered my knowledge or has been totally new and inspiring that I have been researching in my own time to help the children I work with. Now I feel I can approach these children, the people they work with parents, etc. with a new found confidence that I can support them even more so than before.
On the whole I feel this course should be detrimental to anyone working with, is about to or is considering working with autism. I have worked with children with autism for 5 years as a profession but have been around autistic individuals since I was about 15 (I’m 25 now). I have learnt more in this course than I have in the 5 years of solid work within a school and respite care. Yes, over the years I have learnt a lot about autism and I do feel working with them is incredibly vital to knowing if you can support them but knowledge is just as important.
I now have a much better knowledge of treatments, research, the “whys” and also failed approaches.
Autism is fascinating and something I want to spend my life working for, I’m not sure in what area be it education or something different. We know so much, yet we know so little, there is a lot further to go, but with time, effort and support, we can learn from them as much as they learn from us.
Sophie Brannigan (England)
I have found over the last 3 months that I now have a better understanding of autism. I now have a greater knowledge about… the various theories which try to explain how it occurs and I think really importantly how autism can feel to those who are diagnosed with it and the difficulties that they experience. To read about how it affects those with autism has been enlightening for me and I have found it incredible how children with autism can function in many of the schools which I visit considering the difficulties they have. It has also been great to speak to fellow students in the forums to discuss how things differ in other countries and with those students who have children with autism.
I am also finding it far more interesting and enjoying the challenge of working with children with autism – unpicking behaviours, trying to see things from their perspective and challenging my own preconceived ideas.
At times I have felt myself becoming frustrated when I visit schools as I hear of children having “challenging behaviour”, “avoiding work”, “being stubborn”, etc. and I find myself becoming defensive of these children. However, I have to remember that I have been very fortunate to have been able to complete this course and so I pass on information and help when I can.
We are very fortunate at our school that our professional development is encouraged and I will certainly recommend this course to my colleagues as I have to say that this is the first course where it has really changed my day to day practice.
Tracy Campbell (England)
This course has helped me to increase my knowledge of autism and all that comes with it, has given me a better practical approach to it and more strength and ammunitions to deal with all those people who do not recognise my son’s diagnosis or think Luca is a spoiled naughty child.
So I want to thank Olga, Elena and all my colleagues for the wonderful experience, for sharing knowledge and their life, – enriching mine.
Maria Chiara Nordia (Italy)
It’s been a great course and it’s really expanded my knowledge and changed the way I approach finding solutions to some of the problems that our autistic children experience. It makes our discussions with therapists and other proffessionals much more meaningful and I hope to use what I’ve learnt in my daily practice. Maybe this course should be an essential part of our training?? Thank you.
Claire Boyle (England)
I was hoping that I get more information on how to pupils and people with autism highest possible quality approach and support for learning and education strategy. I must say that I’ve got what I expected and much more. A great bonus for me is discussions between people from different countries and their stories and knowledge that can be used and help in working with people with autism.
For me, sensory perception is the best and most useful part of this course. For the school where I work, understanding of sensory perception is new information.
In my school there are teachers who want to learn new things and those who are reluctant. Therefore, I think that everything always depends on the people who work with autistic children. Everyone who works with autistic people should attend this course.
After having completed this course, I will try to find the best way to get “under the skin” of autism. :-D.
Thank you for this course.
Xenie Šustalová (the Czech Republic)