A key outcome of a collaborative partnership with Amaze has been the development of a new element of the Amaze website to support schools working with students on the autism spectrum. This Amaze website resource is a source of information and practical strategies and is available to anyone supporting students on the autism spectrum. For more information, see:
Wandering in People on the Autism Spectrum: A best practice resource for those caring for people on the autism spectrum
Amaze has worked in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education and Training to develop training and resources to support carers of children and young people on the autism spectrum to minimise the risk of wandering. For more information, see: Amaze wandering resource
Aspect movie club program
The Aspect movie club initiative is a training program that enables teachers in Victorian schools to develop the skills to run a social skills program that has been developed by Aspect in response to the need for an age appropriate program for secondary school students.
This initiative trained teachers in Victorian schools to work with students on the autism spectrum to develop specific social and executive function skills in a supportive small group environment. The program incorporated the use of ICT, while systematically teaching social skills and fostering executive function, such as social problem-solving, through an integrated approach. The rationale for this is that older students are typically reluctant to participate in conventional social skills training but respond enthusiastically to more sophisticated, technology-based approaches.
Aspect peer education training
Aspect has developed a peer education program based on Carol Gray's work (Sixth Sense II) for upper primary and secondary school classes. Aspect provided training to Victorian government school teachers in how to implement the program with students in their school. The Peer Education Training program introduces students to the features of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how they can develop the skills and sensitivities to support their peers on the autism spectrum at school. The hour long sessions are interactive and allow for questions and problem solving strategies to be developed. The program works best when all students in a year group receive the education at the same time.
I CAN Network
The I CAN Network provides mentoring, education and advocacy for young people on the autism spectrum. Three Victorian government secondary schools have been provided with services by I CAN Network, including: regular peer-to-peer mentoring; motivational talks to peers and parents and professional development for teachers. The Department is also supporting the evaluation of I CAN Network approach in conjunction with Australian Catholic University (ACU). For more information, see:
I CAN Network
Noah's Ark Inc. Including children on the autism spectrum in the Early Years
The early years are critical to the learning and development of all children, including children on the autism spectrum. In partnership with the Department, Noah's Ark supported and contributed to the development of three online learning modules for early childhood education and care professionals and families. The modules focus on understanding young children on the autism spectrum, the role of partnerships with families and other professionals; planning for the learning and development of a child on the autism spectrum and; developing a responsive program. For more information, see: Including young children on the autism spectrum in the Early Years
The Australian Government Department of Education and Training funds Autism Spectrum Australia to deliver Positive Partnerships as part of the Helping Children with Autism package.
Positive Partnerships aims to improve educational outcomes for schools aged students on the autism spectrum. This is achieved by offering professional development to strengthen the skills of educational staff. The Victorian Department of Education and Training continues to work with the Positive Partnerships' Victorian team to tailor professional learning to meet the needs of schools and families.
The Department's regional and school based staff work with Positive Partnerships to deliver the professional development component for teachers and other school staff who are working with students on the autism spectrum. For more information, see:
The second component offers workshops and information sessions for parents and carers of school aged children on the autism spectrum (Parent/Carer component).
Both components incorporate an online learning portal where teachers and parents can access learning modules, resources, fact sheets, workshop content and support material. For more information, see:
Online learning portal
Yellow Ladybugs is a volunteer community group who are focussed on providing support to young girls and women on the autism spectrum. They aim to raise acceptance and awareness about the female presentation of autism in the community. They largely focus on out of school hours events which aim to create a network of friends for young girls on the autism spectrum. For more information, see: Yellow Ladybugs