This week is World Autism Awareness Week ( 27 March to 2 April 2017).

So how can you keep up to date with research on autism?

Some research studies are highlighted in the national press or in the scientific press, such as a recent study on early intervention published in October 2016 in The Lancet, but there is so much research being conducted in multiple areas that it is very difficult to know where to go to find out current relevant information.

Did you know that the National Autistic Society provide a twice monthly information update service on research and new publications?  A really useful tool to help keep up to date with the current research and thinking on autism.

If you would like to extend your knowledge on sensory processing and autism, then the course below is designed for you.  This course is for those who have attended the course  ‘Introduction to Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Disorder‘ or have a similar knowledge base, and want to extend their knowledge further and apply this knowledge specifically to autism.  Following the positive feedback from last week’s course held at The SPACE Centre, Preston, this will now be the venue for this course.  This gives the opportunity for a practical session in the large sensory room.

Making SENSE of Behaviour was oversubscribed in January 2017 and will run again in November 2017.  It has been very encouraging on my consultancy days into schools to see how participants have been able to use the course material to help understand more complex behaviour in pupils.  Congratulations to the participants from Woodlands School, Blackpool, and Holly Grove Primary School, Burnley who, within only days (former) and a few weeks (latter), managed to develop a very nearly complete formulation for an individual pupil.  Interestingly in both cases,  the reasons for the behaviour were not those that was originally presumed, highlighting the importance of a clear formulation if we want to develop an effective intervention.


Sensory Tunnel

Homemade Sensory Tunnel

A great and cheap way to make a sensory tunnel.  This tunnel is great for vestibular and proprioceptive activities.  Thanks to Joanne Morris from Holly Grove School, Burnley, for sharing this with me.  As well as making the tunnel she also made a smaller stretchy resistance band to go round chair legs and the pupil used this to push his legs against and also pulled up over his knees and used as a tactile/proprioceptive fiddle toy. The cost was only £ 10 for the Lycra material.




25 Sensory Hacks for Kids

25 Sensory Hacks for Kids

From the same website as the sensory tunnel, And Next Comes L, 25 hacks for providing vestibular and proprioceptive input.  Packed full of great and cheap ideas.






Ikea Ekorre Hanging Seat

Ikea produce a great cocoon-like swing suitable for the home. A great addition to a bedroom and only costs £ 24.






A Boy Made of Blocks

A great read and also insight into family life with a child with autism.  Written from the author’s own experience with his son. If you liked ‘The Rosie Project’ then this is written in a similar vein.  The Richard and Judy Book Club 2017 Bestseller.






Sensory Processing and Autism

More about this course

9 May 2017

SPACE Centre, Preston

How can we understand and address some of the sensory difficulties we see in children and adults with autism? How can I extend my knowledge and skills in working in this area?

Recent research has found that up to 95% of children with autism have significant sensory processing problems. This has been recognised in the diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for autism. NICE guidelines also recognise the significant sensory difficulties in children and adults with autism. Increasingly, teachers and health professionals working with children and adults with autism are expected to have an understanding of the sensory processing difficulties faced by those with autism, as well as the ability to implement simple strategies and alter the environment to accommodate the individual’s sensory needs. Additionally, for establishments that are seeking Autism Accreditation, ‘Sensory Issues’ is one of the core standards.

The aim of this one day extension course is to provide teachers and health professionals, who have a basic understanding of sensory processing difficulties, with the skills needed to apply that understanding to the everyday difficulties that children and adults with autism experience in different settings. This course will further develop participant’s knowledge base including the neuroscience of sensory processing, and the ability to then apply this knowledge to set up more complex strategies, both for individuals as well as whole school/curriculum (and other setting) strategies.  There will be a practical session in the large sensory room at The Space Centre.