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For Attention Autism Programme & Curiousty Programme.

Attention Autism FAQ's

How has Attention Autism Ltd responded to the Neurodiversity Paradigm?

Thank you for taking the time to ask the questions and consult with us directly.

There has been a paradigm shift in thinking with regards to autism specific programmes and we have reflected, read books, trained in the concepts, talked with autistic people, and made changes in our understanding, in what we emphasise more of,  in both practice and language. Furthermore, we are embarking on a survey, in the near future, to gain understanding into how the autistic community and allies are engaging with the programme in the light of what we are all learning.

Attention Autism and the Curiosity Programme have always however, been fundamentally neuroaffirming, with the emphasis being firmly in the area of, individualisation, wellbeing and joy. We discuss its neuroaffirming nature further in our answers to the questions below.

Do the children and young people have to sit in a group?

The aim is for the children to want to be in the group because it is a joyful experience for them.  We embrace the child’s preferred listening and attending style and encourage staff to focus on this and adapt their teaching accordingly. We emphasise the importance of connection.

We simply make an offer, an invitation, which many children embrace as soon as they know what is on offer.  Children learn in wide and varied ways and, as noted, embrace the groups in their own manner (come and go, use a move and sit cushion, as noted, perhaps watch the entire session from somewhere else in the room).

The programme is not, and never has been, an exercise in coercion or discipline.  The supporting adult might support the child with an arm out or by having them on their knee initially however this would only be if there is already and established relationship with the child and where the child may benefit from the offer of support before becoming immediately engaged and interested in the activity.

If the child or young person does not want to be in the group they simply leave.

Can the children and young people touch the toys?

High quality practice encourages hands on touching of toys for the majority of time in school or therapy and we are in full support of this.  However, additional skills in learning to be in a group and watch a demonstration, are also valuable skills to have as an option.

We know from experience that the children love watching stage 1 and 2 once they know what is on offer. They often run to join the groups, and some speak for the first time or connect with a peer or adult over a shared experience, and benefit from the rich moments of therapy or teaching opportunities afforded by these stages.

If they were touching the toys, they would be likely to be interested in the toys and nothing else and these moments may be lost. As noted, often participation in AA groups leads to children having good emotional experiences around group work and the opportunity to learn that being in a group can be fun. This is again an important transferable skill if which helps them avail of many life opportunities as they wish.

In addition, the children are learning skills that will be useful throughout their lives.  The principles of AA are not just for group time,  personal space, watching modelling and demonstrating, looking for visual reminders, waiting.

Learning about taking turns and enjoying shared experiences are all valuable skills for life.

Curiosity Programme FAQ's

My child is 2 years old are they too young for the programme?

No, this is the one for you!

This course is designed to provide practical help for those living and working with the very young child who are struggling to develop communication and interaction.

It is difficult for very young children to flourish in a group as they need the nurturing responsiveness of a 1:1 adult. If child is in a small group setting such as a baby room in a day care centre, then this programme can provide the basis for shared 1:1 time with a staff member.

Can I use this project with a child who has not got a diagnosis but where there are concerns about their development?

Yes, this programme is based on sensitive interpretation of standard developmental progression in establishing communication and interaction skills.

This programme helps establish shared good times to counterbalance anxieties that might be interrupting the flow between child and parents. It helps establish ways of getting connected with the child and supports playful interactions which provide great opportunities to encourage communication and social interaction. The programme focuses on establishing the interactions and style of reciprocal social communication that help the child learn how to learn and flourish with engaged curiosity in the world around them.

Do I need any special equipment?

No, the activities are based on the creative use of materials readily available at home, in schools or in supermarkets/pound shops. The training is about how to have a great time using the things we have got but perhaps presenting them and using them in different ways.

Can I train other people once I have attended the online Curiosity workshop?

The online Curiosity workshop day is designed to give you a practical programme that helps you set up and follow through 1:1 work with a child and his family or carer or to form the foundation of your own hands-on work 1:1 with a child.

If you are interested in running training based on the Curiosity programme you will need a licence to do so. The licence is only available to Attention Autism Advanced Practitioners who have completed additional training on the Curiosity programme.

The additional training on the Curiosity Programme is available annually and will involve 1 day’s training in Guildford, England, and 1:1 coaching sessions online where you will get feedback on films of you working with a child or young person.

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