On Monday 23rd March we will be holding our next Northampton Inspire Network Meeting.
This will take place in the Sulgrave building – go to reception and you will be directed from there. it will start at 4.30pm although refreshments will be available from 4pm.
We will be creating immersive sensory experiences around a theme.
This session explores cheap and effective ways of creating multi sensory environments for visual and sound stimulation using portable dark and white rooms. We will experiment with a wealth of light and sound equipment, create images using luminous paint, and project sensory iPad apps and video onto 3D objects. The aim is to create controllable experiential activities that encourage engagement and interaction for all learners, and to think about creative ways of theming these. We have been inspired by the work of Richard Hirstwood: http://youtu.be/ihMSw8BIXF4 and http://youtu.be/PkIKpOn7y98.
You can book free tickets here and feel free to let others know about the meeting – it is for students. teachers, teaching assistants and other interested people.
Over the last few weeks on the One to One programme on BBC Radio 4 John Harris, a journalist on The Guardian, has been talking about autism. His son is autistic, in these two programmes he talks with an expert on autism (Professor Simon Baron-Cohen) and an adult who was diagnosed as autistic in her thirties (Penny Andrews).
In the first programme John Harris talks with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. In this conversation the development of understanding about what autism is is discussed. Its interesting that he talks about discovering people with autism who could talk about the experience, something that at the time was new as it was assumed that people with autism would not be able to function in day to day life.
In the conversation John Harris discusses how difficult it is for him to conceive of how his son understands the world. Simon Baron-Cohen suggests that we do inhabit the same world in some respects and that we do have things in common. He uses the example of structure, repetition and routine where he comments that many people with autism need but so so many other people, something John Harris agrees with.
Simon Baron-Cohen discusses the concept of neuro diversity – there are different types of brains in the population rather than a single ‘normal’ brain, similar to the concept of biodiversity, that we encounter in the classroom. He talks about how some of the traits or qualities of autism can be seen as areas of strength – remarkable attention to detail, fascination with patterns and an ability to persist and go deeply in one topic.
In the second programme John Harris meets an adult who has been identified as autism in adulthood and who works as a university researcher – Penny Andrews.
This is an interesting conversation – John Harris picks up on some of the points made by Simon Baron-Cohen and that he has notices in his own experience with his son. He is keen to have her perspective as his son is to young to be able to articulate and explain his feelings and needs.
Towards the end of the conversation they talk about how Penny’s employer is able to adjust and support her so that she can work effectively.
It is also interesting how Penny explores the connections between herself and people who are not autistic and people who are considered to be severely autistic.
For many of you who work with children on the autistic spectrum both these programmes are of interest, giving you some background and perspective on autism historically, theoretically and personally. From a student point of view it is interesting for you to notice how John Harris compares the research of Simon Baron-Cohen with experience of Penny Andrews – we often ask you to make these connections between research and practice in your academic work.
Both programmes are available on iplayer here They were broadcast on 17th and 24th February 2015 and can be found in the episodes list. They are also saved in Box of Broadcasts if you are a university student.
If you listen to these programmes and have any comments please add them below.
Tomorrow (Wednesday April 2nd) is the seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day. You can read more about it here.
This evening there is a Horizon programme on BBC at 9pm. It is repeated on Wednesday 2nd April on BBC 2 at 11.30pm and will also be available via the BBC iplayer and Box of Broadcasts.
Professor Uta Frith was also interviewed on Radio 4’s ‘The Life Scientific’ a few years ago, a very interesting interview where she discusses her interest in Autism and her life as a psychologist. You can listen to it at this link and via Box of Broadcasts.
Today at 10 a.m. EDT, the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the U.N., Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the U.N. and Autism Speaks co-hosted a panel discussion, “Autism: Awareness to Action,” at the United Nations in New York. The discussion was co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the U.N., Permanent Mission of India to the U.N, Permanent Mission of Chile to the U.N and Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the U.N. This included the following statement:
“It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge the 7th annual World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd and the incredible work of Autism Speaks in calling greater international attention to autism and other developmental disorders that affect millions of people globally. In epitomizing the message of “turning awareness into action,” Bob and Suzanne Wright are beacons of blue light, radiating across our global community. Let us continue to work hand-in-hand, side by side. Now is the time to strive for a more inclusive society, highlight the talents of those on the spectrum and ensure opportunities to realize their potential. International attention is essential to address stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate support structures.”
You can watch a video of the UN panel discussion here.
You can watch the UN Secretary General’s message here.
If you’re on Twitter, use #LIUB to share your experience helping light the world up blue this April and if you’re on Facebook there is a page with more details here