In partnership with the NI Executive and as part of the Central Good Relations programme, Specialisterne NI, an Autism at Work social enterprise, is hosting a number of team working workshops for pupils on the Autistic Spectrum across Northern Ireland. My School Your School will bring together small groups of pupils on the Autistic Spectrum from different schools, so that pupils can learn from each other and enjoy shared activities.
What will ‘My School, Your School’ involve?
My School Your School will involve taking part in:
1. A Lego Mindstorms Workshop where participants build Lego Mindstorms Robots in small teams. Participants have the opportunity to work in small teams of 2-3 with pupils from other schools, and discover strengths related to working in a team.
You can find out more about Lego Workshops here: https://www.specialisterneni.com/about-us/assessment/
2. A Social Communication Workshop where a professional actor acts out communication scenarios experienced by people on the Autistic Spectrum. Participants observe true-to-life scenarios and discuss strategies to overcome attitudinal and communication barriers. This workshop will also look at what it is like to be on the Autistic Spectrum in N Ireland. Young people’s feedback from Social Communication Workshops has included:
‘I really liked how they gave different viewpoints of different people on the spectrum.’
‘I liked the way there were roleplayed parts to show people what it might be like for someone with Autism in that situation.’
Who is Specialisterne NI?
Specialisterne NI, a not-for-profit social enterprise, is part of the international Specialisterne network that has worked in 14 countries, for 14 years to support young people and adults on the Autistic Spectrum to prepare for, secure, and thrive in rewarding careers. The Specialisterne NI team have studied Autism or related subjects to Masters level. We have worked with over 300 young people and adults on the Autistic Spectrum in N Ireland, supporting individuals to better recognise their own strengths and abilities, and supporting employers, colleges, universities and organisations to better understand how to develop the skills of people on the Autistic Spectrum.
Why My School Your School?
In focus groups with young people and adults on the Autistic Spectrum, participants have identified attitudinal and communication barriers as the two main obstacles to being of communities. ‘My School Your School’ workshops seek to support pupils to learn more about social communication, identifying individual strengths and challenges, learning communication strategies, and supporting participants to better understand attitudinal barriers and how to work around these.
My School Your School workshops are informed by Autism theory, and the daily lived experience of young people and adults on the Autistic Spectrum in N Ireland.
Young people’s feedback from Specialisterne’s School Workshops has included:
‘I enjoyed meeting new people and communicating with other people with Autism’
‘I liked it very much, I had a great time’
‘It was fun to do and interesting to hear the different perspectives on various topics brought up’
‘It was surprisingly fun’
‘I found it useful for socialising’
‘I really enjoyed it’
‘I felt at ease working in a team with people from different schools’
‘Working with someone from a different school has given me a new sense of ability and let me see life in other schools’
‘I found being interactive with new personalities and people to be a rich and fun experience’
‘being able to relate to others on the autism spectrum and just have the chance to have fun’
Teaching and classroom assistant feedback from Specialisterne’s School Workshops has included:
‘I found it very interesting to see the students interact in a more relaxed and informal environment’
‘Great to see a programme for autistic pupils to attend and share experiences.’
‘Fantastic! The pupils enjoyed the day immensely.’
‘The pupils loved it.’
‘Everything was well planned and any queries quickly sorted.’
‘Very good, the pupils enjoyed it and it was good to see them working together and discussing what they had to do.’
‘It was age appropriate and at different levels encouraged team building.’
‘The students really enjoyed the group sessions and would be keen to attend the next workshops.’
Who should attend?
My School Your School is a programme for pupils aged 11-18 who identify with being on the Autistic Spectrum (a diagnosis or statement is not required). We welcome all enquiries about attending the workshops.
Specialisterne NI invites schools in N. Ireland to take part in ‘My School, Your School’
Should your school be interested in participating in ‘My School, Your School’, or to book places for pupils, please contact Sharon Didrichsen, Manager, Specialisterne NI
Mob: 07565 936191
The Specialisterne NI team will meet with participating schools and will be available to meet with pupils and parents to answer any questions regarding My School Your School.
Workshops will be scheduled at times that suit participating schools.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE NUMBER OF PLACES ON ‘MY SCHOOL YOUR SCHOOL’ ARE LIMITED.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Specialisterne NI is a not-for-profit social enterprise that works to support people on the Autistic Spectrum to prepare for, secure, and thrive in rewarding careers.
The ‘My School Your School’ programme is financed by the NI Executive, as part of the Central Good Relations Programme. There is no cost to schools to participate in My School, Your School, and transport is provided.