In this day and age, with more understanding of autism, an Autism Awareness course gives essential training. Childcare practitioners will encounter children on the autism spectrum, or awaiting diagnosis. For this reason, staff must familiarise themselves with the illness, its implications and its main signs.
There is never a clear cut sign of autism. Most of the time it is lots of little things that help to build up a bigger picture. By training in autism awareness, staff will help to identify any possible signs. Greater awareness means more children getting support early on.
What is Autism?
It can be challenging to define the term “autism” because often the condition shows itself in different ways. The signs can also vary a lot from child to child. That means it is important to realise and understand just how broad autism is.
Autism, sometimes referred to as ASD (autism spectrum disorder) can cause difficulties with social and communication skills. It can affect the behaviour and personality of children. Children living in an autistic world see day to day life differently from their peers. Sometimes this makes it scary for them.
There is still a lot to discover about the condition but genetics are thought to play a part in who becomes autistic. The word autism encompasses a broad range of behaviours and the severity can somewhat vary as well.
What Training Do You Need For Autism Awareness?
Anyone that works with children will benefit from an autism awareness course. This is not a mandatory course, however, but it is a useful one to further your knowledge. Every child is unique – as set out in the EYFS – and it is important that every individual child is supported.
As a childcare practitioner, it is important to ensure the course you do is aimed at children’s autism in particular. Every childcare setting will have a designated SEND officer (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities). People holding these roles should do such courses.
Autism Awareness Training Courses
By attending an Autism Awareness training course not only do you get a certificate to add to your CPD (Continuous Professional Development) file but you also learn more about the condition.
This in turn will provide you with the knowledge to both begin to understand and be able to support autisitic children. Childcare practitioners and school teachers and assistants will benefit greatly from this type of training.
As well as furthering knowledge and understanding, childcare workers will also begin to develop planning around autism. Autsitic children often play and learn in ways that differ from their peers so training will help encourage inclusive play.
It is part of the EYFS requirements to offer an inclusive practice without discrimination or predudice. When planning activities around autism it is important to adapt the current activity to suit every child, rather than singling them out in a different activity.
Autism Awareness Training – What Do You Learn?
Autism Awareness training is typically an hour or two long and covers a range of topics within the spectrum. Most of these courses are designed to be done online which means it can be done at a time and pace to suit you.
An Autism Awareness Course will cover the following:
- Definition of autism.
- Definition of other key words within the spectrum.
- Learning about the diagnosis process.
- Identifying the possible autism indicators.
- Understanding how autism can affect the way a child understands and behaves.
- Be mindful that autism can affect learning and be able to support this.
- What to do if you suspect a child has some or all of the autistic traits.
- How to include autistic children in the day to day activities in the setting.
Who Needs An Autism Awareness Course?
Anyone working within the childcare industry will find an Autism Awareness training course very insightful.
This course can be carried out if you specifically care for a child with suspected or diagnosed autism. It can also be a course staff are trained on so that they recognise the autism indicators for children in the setting.
In larger settings such as nursery environments it would be useful if the room leader participated in such training.
Childcarers who work alone would find this course useful since they will be the only adult supporting the child in the setting. Anyone with the role of SEND (SENCO) should also be familiar with the condition as the ball often starts rolling with them.
Anyone wishing to become a childminder may like to take this course as part of their training. Our guide on how to become a childminder looks at other types of training required for this career.
With online training the Autism Awareness training can be completed in your own time and pace. Depending on the level of detail, these types of courses vary from 1 to 2 hours. There is no requirement to renew this training but it can be helpful to do a refresher every 3 years as advice and information develops.