Senior Management Team (SMT) staff from schools across the city took part in additional support training on the 6th September at Wester Hailes Education Centre. This was organised in relation to the City of Edinburgh Council’s strategic priority to support inclusion, in particular for those children on the autistic spectrum. This training will be repeated 7 March 2017 for all remaining SMT members. An additional training is being organised for SMT in special sector and language classes/ secondary resource provisions and for all partner provider nursery managers.
We would like to thank all attendees for coming and are looking forward to the next session.
February 15th – 19th will be Innovative Learning Week at the University of Edinburgh.
There will be several events that would be of interest to the teams around children with additional support needs – you can see the full programme here.
In particular, we would like to draw your attention to a workshop that is being run by Sue Fletcher-Watson of DART fame. Her event will focus on getting the most out of technology for learners with autism. It will run twice, both 9.30am – 12.30pm on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th February.
Full information and the links to book on are below:
Individuals on the autism spectrum often enjoy working with technology and evidence shows positive effects of this kind of learning support. However the sheer quantity of technologies out there, means that practitioners, parents and autistic people can struggle to keep up. At this collaborative workshop we will review apps and think about the best way to use these at home and in the classroom. The workshop will focus on iPads, but lessons apply to any touchscreen technology.
People attending this workshop will learn from each other as well as from the organiser. They will be given an iPad each to use and encouraged to play with the apps, download new ones, and try them out. Attendees will share ideas and tips. We will use an online message board so that people can post ideas, questions and comments live to a big screen. The organiser will respond to these, drawing on her expertise, but also invite responses from other delegates. The workshop will celebrate the skills and unique learning style of people on the autism spectrum. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of autism and of learning, as well as tools for using technology to best effect.
Monday event booking page
Tuesday event booking page
City of Edinburgh schools are now back after the summer holiday, so I will be posting on the blog once more. I hope you have all had a lovely summer, whatever you got up to.
To start things off, I’d like to tell you about an event that’s happening at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston on Thursday 11th September 9.30am-4.30pm – Kidz Scotland.
Kidz Scotland is an event all about children and young people who have special needs and there will be plenty there to interest professionals – information, seminars and an exhibition featuring many services and suppliers.
It’s free to go, you just need to get a ticket – I have some, which I will happily send to you through the internal mail if you contact me, or you can download your own ticket at www.kidzscotland.co.uk, where you can also find out more information.
Hopefully some of you can make it – if you do, please do let me know how you get on!
April is Autism Awareness Month in the UK, and tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. This day happens on 2nd April every year, and is recognised by the United Nations. Many organisations across the globe have special events to raise awareness of autism.
In the UK, for example, the National Autistic Society are organising a Onesie Wednesday, and worldwide many buildings are being lit up blue. There are also loads of events going on in Edinburgh.
Why not use social media to show you or your class’ support for this important day and/or month? Here are some hashtags that could be useful:
#WAAD – World Autism Awareness Day
#AutismAwareness – Just what it says.
#AKA – Autism Kindness Acts – Any act, no matter how small, that shows kindness to individuals or families affected by autism. See their tumblr for examples.
#LIUB – Light it up blue – to be used in relation to buildings that have been lit up blue in recognition of the day.
Of course, you can also use the #ASD and #Autism hashtags too.
You might also want to visit the World Autism Awareness Day facebook page, and think about following @autism (the National Autistic Society) on twitter.
FindMe (listed in the app store as FindMe(Autism)) is an app designed to support young children with autism to practise simple social skills.
It has been developed at the University of Edinburgh as part of the Click East project, so you can be reassured that it is backed by research. It is also very attractive to look at, and seems to run very smoothly.
Basically, the child is encouraged to find a character on the screen, i.e. to pay attention to the person, not any of the ever-increasing background distractions.
The app is free to download, and for that you get levels 1-4. You can then purchase levels 5-16 for £4.99 where the child has to identify what is being looked at or pointed at. You can also purchase the ability to record your own voice instead of the voices that come as standard with the app, but as it was developed here the standard voices are Scottish so you may find there is no need to do this.
I certainly think that this app is worth downloading for the free levels, to see if it would suit the needs of your learners. The app has been featured on the BBC News website, and you can find out more about it (including a video) here.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve used this app successfully, or if you have any feedback on it.