Spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tor presents work­shop

Whitsunday Times - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

WHIT­SUN­DAY and Mackay res­i­dents at­tended a sen­sory de­tec­tive work­shop ran by spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tor Nelle Frances on Satur­day at the Whit­sun­day Chris­tian Col­lege.

A strong crowd of up to 100 peo­ple at­tended the full-day in­for­ma­tion ses­sion and work­shop that pro­vided a de­tailed de­scrip­tion of stu­dents or clients with Autism or Asperger's Syn­drome, in­clud­ing pro­files on the neu­rol­ogy, bi­ol­ogy, cog­ni­tive pro­cess­ing, per­cep­tion dif­fer­ences and learn­ing styles of those with the con­di­tion, with a fo­cus on sen­sory is­sues.

Ms Frances shared alarm­ing statis­tics such as one in 68 Aus­tralians live with Autism or Asperger's Syn­drome but anec­do­tally teach­ers are claim­ing that three out of five chil­dren in each class­room are af­fected.

Par­tic­i­pants learnt spe­cific tech­niques for deal­ing with chal­leng­ing be­hav­iours and how to de­crease stress in stu- dents with Autism or Asperger's. A driv­ing force be­hind the event was spon­sor Laura Mor­ri­son, who has been very proac­tive in find­ing strate­gies to deal with her grand­son who is in grade two at Whit­sun­day Chris­tian Col­lege.

Ms Frances said the day was about ap­proach­ing the syn­drome with an ‘in­side out’ point of view.

“I hope to change the think­ing of how teach­ers and par­ents and work­ers in the com­mu­nity see chil­dren with autism spec­trums and through that adapt strate­gies that make it eas­ier to deal with in the class­rooms and in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

The col­lege’s prin­ci­pal Nathan McDon­ald said the day was well re­ceived.

“As a school prin­ci­pal, its im­por­tant for school com­mu­ni­ties to re­alise that Autism isn’t a be­havioural is­sue and that you have to be mind­ful of the fact that they are com­ing from a dif­fer­ent point of view,” he said.

HELP­FUL WORK­SHOP: Whit­sun­day Chris­tian Col­lege prin­ci­pal Nathan McDon­ald, spon­sor Laura Mor­ri­son, guest speaker Nelle Frances and en­rich­ment co-or­di­na­tor Karen Fel­wards at Whit­sun­day Chris­tian Col­lege on Satur­day.

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