I just shared my first online mini course this evening, a couple of hours ago in fact, and the response has been so positive. I am amazed at the amount of people who have signed up already, it just goes to show how perhaps training college doesn't always prepare you as well as you could be prepared for all aspects of teaching, including teaching children with autism. We all studied modules in special education of course, but maybe that is not quite enough. Anyway, luckily it is always possible to upskill and there are lots of choices available online for teachers or SNAs wanting to learn more about autism. I really beleive that all teachers should do a CPD course on autism, unless you have loads of experience in the area. My mini course doesn't allow for EPV days, but there are lots of courses which do.
I have been teaching for six years now and I have always taught children with autism in mainstream, and this year I taught in a junior ASD class. I feel like in my first year or possibly two years of teaching that I just wasn't adequately prepared for teaching children with ASD. I feel like if I knew then what I know now, life would have been much easier! The thing with teaching is that you learn through doing, and once you get to know your students then you will learn from them, and it will be fine. It can be overwhelming though, as an NQT to face into a completely over packed classroom, completing Droichead, with 30 plus children in some cases, and many with additional needs. It is not easy, and it is important for more experienced teachers not to forget just how challenging those early days are!
I created this course just to simplify matters, to encourage teachers to follow simple strategies and techniques, with best practice interventions , to help children with ASD. A mainstream classroom is by nature, busy and overwhelming at the best of times, and by using some simple resources and interventions, teachers can make a huge difference in how the day goes for a child with autism.
I really hope it helps to alleviate some concerns teachers may have, and that it makes you feel more prepared for September!