Perceptions: The Travelling Autism Workshop


On the eve of Autism Awareness month we celebrate the learnings the Specialisterne NI team have gleaned from Perceptions: a travelling Autism workshop, which was part of DCAL’s Creativity month. Perceptions took our team to 5 colleges and universities to role play communication scenarios experienced by talented people on the Autistic Spectrum in NI colleges and workplaces. Careers, employability and lecturing staff at Belfast Metropolitan College, Ulster University (Jordanstown and Magee), Queen’s University, Belfast and South West College were introduced to 3 people on the Autistic Spectrum, all acted by professional actor Patrick Saunders. Participants heard what may lead to communication differences, and learnt ways of making communication more successful (with autistic/non-autistic students).

Our final workshop was with students on the Autistic Spectrum, which as usual defied all theory books and taught us more than we had opportunity to teach. We learnt that our talented group of animation, media and film studies students, if given the choice, would prefer to be in the team room pictured above. Participants shared that although communication is not always easy, it is still rewarding and interesting, and that we are so much more than what we speak.

The best advice we can give for Autism Awareness Month is:

  • be aware we all carry bias, its ingrained and hard to shake
  • when we meet someone who communicates differently, be prepared to adapt how you communicate first
  • be curious. After all, in the words of one of our participants: who would you rather be with, someone who just says what is expected, or someone who is an original thinker, who thinks outside of the box.

Perceptions develop through years of implicit teaching by society. The more Autistic company I keep the more mine are challenged, and the less useful ones shaken off.  If you would like to employ original thinkers at your company, contact

Lego Workshops: A Central Good Relations Initiative


Specialisterne NI, a recruitment and training consultancy that specialises in social communication difference, invites people with social communication difference such as Autism or Aspergers to attend Lego Workshops in March 2016.

An OFMDFM Central Good Relations initiative, the Workshops aim to better prepare you to enter or progress in the Northern Ireland work community.

By building Lego Robots in small teams, you demonstrate skills in completing a systematic task, as well as self and team management. We then share what we see with you and where appropriate use this information to match you to job roles, or to help you prepare for future job roles.

Following the assessment you will be invited to a one day workshop on 22 March where a professional actor will role play instances in the workplace where communication has been challenging. Participants observe the role plays and have the opportunity to consider communication in the workplace, including workarounds and what has worked for other people with social communication difference such as Autism in the workplace.

Places are limited. To book, visit:

Update: March Lego Workshops are now fully booked and we have started a waiting list. If you are interested in attending March or future workshops please email

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