Friday, 15 October 2021 14:56

AsIAm Workshop - A Personal Story

It was on Monday the 4th of October 2021 that we had our AsIAm workshop which took place in the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon.

A Student's Story

The aim of the workshop was to make our school more autism aware and give us a better understanding of what autism is, and I knew this was going to be a big important day for me as I am also in the autism spectrum, I even wore my AsIAm badge that day. 

A young man came in to give us a presentation on the many different areas of autism and what an autistic person is going through in their life. We started with some ‘’true or false’’ questions to test our current knowledge of autism and not many people got answers wrong which was good. It was mind-blowing for me how much in-depth explanation there was. The gentleman was full of humour which is always a good thing to have, and the explanations of the different terms and everything else was well-detailed, I had a feeling the entire TY class was as engrossed fully in the workshop as I was. It’s hard for neurotypical people to step into the shoes of an autistic person but the illustrations helped us do just that.

And then there came the big moment I had been waiting for since 1st year: after the presentation was over, we were given an opportunity to ask any questions we had an that’s when I took the courage to do something I should have done 3 years ago as of when the moment came – I finally told to my entire TY group I was autistic myself and I never got so much respect from my classmates in my life until that point! I was so emotional and happy that the huge weight on my shoulders was removed that this was a day I will never forget. Since that day I made a much better relationship between the other students in the class, and I was almost always coming to school with a smile on my face. 


AsIAm - A Parent's Perspective

Over the years, I have had the chance to participate in AsIam workshops and conferences.

Each meeting was an invaluable source of information and rich in emotions. The speakers don’t just explain what autism is, but how the persons can feel, be affected in their daily activities and social interactions. It helps stepping into their shoes.

To the attendees with autism, the presentations bring a new level of acknowledgement of their daily challenges which was a great relief for our son.

Having our son enrolled in a school participating in the AsIAm Autism School friendly project like CBS Ennistymon is a real chance. Since he started in 1st year, he is not just going to school but knows he is really included.

Following the AsIam workshop and sharing his personal experience, a new chapter of the journey started for him. He was overwhelmed by his friends' support and being accepted “As He Is”. Since the workshop, he is more relaxed and confident. It seems that the weight of the world was lifted from his shoulders.


AsIAm workshop - Neurotypical Students Perspective

 On Monday 4th of October 2021, we had a speaker from AsIAm come in to facilitate a workshop on Autism awareness. I found it remarkably interesting and informative as I have been in a class with Neurodivergent students since the first year and I really had truly little knowledge of the daily obstacles that they faced.

The workshop showed me the difference between neurotypical and neurodivergent people. I can finally understand some of what people are going through and how difficult it can be. I learned that Autism is caused by the brain being built differently wired. It is as simple as that. I now know that neurodivergent people can be overly sensitive to things like smell, light and sound or can find it hard to see light, hear sound, and smell. I also learned that neurodivergent people might need to take breaks or have something to play with like a stress ball to keep focused. Overall, I feel that I can now be more helpful and caring with my classmates in certain situations.



AsIAm – A Wonderful Presentation – A Teacher's Perspective

Recently I had the privilege of attending an afternoon workshop delivered by the autism awareness foundation, AsIAm. As a recent alumna of an SEN qualification, I considered myself well-educated regarding autism. However, this workshop was so enlightening and beneficial that I would recommend it as a necessary whole-school programme in order to create an autism friendly school. The facilitator was a wonderful narrator, asking our students suitably leading questions in order to establish their present knowledge regarding autism. Our students showed their collective understanding through reflective answers. As an educator, it was fantastic to witness our students engage with the narrator, through answering questions and taking part in active learning. The question-and-answer segment at the end of the workshop was excellent and truly one of those moments that as a teacher you will remember forever, as our students responded in such an honest, open and inclusive manner to each other.