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Presentation structure Aim of the presentation: To share with you our current understanding of the nature and purpose of The Autism Centre (TAC) and its relationship with service development. 2
We will: 1. identify what, and who, constitutes TAC and where it is located physically and conceptually. 2. outline the philosophy that guides the work of TAC. 3. describe the nature of activity that is undertaken by TAC. 4. ask for ideas from you on how TAC might develop in the future. 3
So why the title: Abseiling from the Ivory Tower? 4
Ivory Towers • Ivory Tower: a condition of seclusion or separation from the world; in general, protection or shelter from the harsh realities of life. • Universities can sometimes be considered as remote and inaccessible places with academics out of touch with real life.
Abseiling • Abseiling: the technique of descent of a steep face by means of a doubled rope fixed above the climber…. in other words, a quick way to reach the ground.
• And that explains the title… we work hard to leave behind the traditional notion of academia and endeavour to leave our Ivory Tower and place our academic feet firmly on the ground. It is really important to us that we develop and maintain our involvement with the various communities surrounding us so
It’s two-way traffic • We need to nurture and maintain these connections but this is a two-way process: we may think of ourselves as abseiling down that tower but we also need you to come on up here and join us ….
Who are we? In alphabetical order: Luke Beardon: Senior Lecturer and course leader for the PG Certificate in Asperger Syndrome course Sue Chantler: Senior Lecturer and course leader for the Undergraduate Certificate in Understanding Autism Dr Nick Hodge: Senior Lecturer and route leader for the MA in Autism Dr Nicola Martin: Principal Lecturer in Inclusive Practice Cathy Sellars: Autism Centre administrator 9
Where are we? • More of a virtual centre than a physical entity, we are based on the ground floor of the Arundel Building, part of the City campus. • We are part of the Faculty of Development and Society.
Guiding principles We believe in the importance of: • supporting people on the autism spectrum and their families to achieve their ambitions and aspirations. • identifying, celebrating and promoting the expertise of people on the autism spectrum and their families. • bringing people together to share knowledge and expertise. 11
• promoting and developing knowledge and understanding about the nature of autism. • identifying and promoting positive strategies of support for building on the skills and abilities of people on the autism spectrum. • identifying and working to remove the barriers that prevent all disabled people from enjoying their rights and entitlements. 12
Our activities • • • Accredited courses. Research. Training and consultancy. Seminars and conferences. Community support (including within the University). 13
Accredited Courses • Undergraduate Certificate: taught and distance learning. • PG Certificate, Diploma and MA in Autism. • PG Certificate in Asperger Syndrome, run in conjunction with the NAS. • Over the years that these courses have run we have worked with hundreds of students who have come to study autism from both a personal and a professional perspective…from health, social services and an education background. • Students have been located in the region as far a field as Hull and Lincoln, as well as nationally and internationally.
Research • We engage with research, and support that of others, where it is of clear and practical benefit to people on the autism spectrum and their families. • Aim: to establish an inclusive research forum that reflects the aspirations of the autism community as well as academic excellence. • Disseminate others’ research findings and examples of innovative practice. 15
Examples of recent studies: • Our MA students all work on research projects for their final modules – usually reflecting on and developing professional practice within their own setting. Staff projects: • Currently working with Sutherland House school to assess the value of voice output communication aids within classroom settings. 16
• ASPECT Consultancy Report – A national collation of the perspectives of people with AS on their requirements (Beardon and Edmonds, 2007). • Enabling transition into higher education for students with Asperger’s syndrome. Report for The Higher Education Academy (Madriaga and Goodley et al, 2007). http: //www. heacademy. ac. uk/projects/detail/projectfinder/projects/pf 2971 lr • Disabled people’s experiences of anti-social behaviour and harassment in social housing: a critical review (Hunter and Hodge et al. , 2007) –Report for the Disability Rights Commission. 17
Training and consultancy; other events • We offer tailored training and consultancy to organisations such as individual schools or social care settings. • In-house at SHU we work closely with academics from other departments such as psychology, student support, disability studies. • Community involvement giving a platform to publicise and celebrate excellent practice …through events such as today, through collaborative research activity.
How you can help • Let us know of any events and resources you know of or offer in the region so that we can list them on our website. • Give us names and contact details of any speakers that you come across who would be interesting presenters. • Join our database so we can keep you informed. • Visit the website. 19
Contact us by: • Phone – 0114 225 5534 (mon and tues otherwise answerphone) • Email: c. a. [email protected] ac. uk • Letter: The Autism Administrator The Autism Centre Arundel Building City Campus Sheffield S 1 1 WB 20