Supporting Independence In Young People with Autism
Sofia Chantziara & Alison Bratt held a public engagement in research day on the Medway campus on Friday 27th April 2018.
The aim of the event was to bring together parents of young people with autism spectrum disorders and professionals in order to discuss current issues in the provisions of life skills support and put forward their suggestions for improvements. Representatives from local secondary schools and local autism organizations and services along with parents were invited to attend this half day event where the findings from the PhD study “Passport to Life: Investigating the needs for life skills training among young people with autism and their parents” were presented and discussed. Findings which were based on interviews with parents and young people suggested that schools and services may not always identify and manage the individual needs of the young people and that life skills training may not be offered in a consistent and homogenous way across different educational settings. Furthermore parents were actively seeking to identify support around life skills however, they were not aware of what support is available and how to access it. In order to further increase awareness and encourage discussion representatives from local organizations, services and schools were invited to give short presentations about the life skills training they offer and answer questions from parents. The presentations were followed by an open discussion which aimed to highlight among professionals potential issues around the provision of support and increase awareness among parents regarding the training offered from schools and services. Three schools participated: The Langton Grammar School for boys; Trinity School; Rivermead School. There were also presentations from Kent Autistic Trust and University of Kent student support and wellbeing service.
Funding was obtained from the University of Kent Public Engagement with Research Fund, to pay for the venue, refreshments, lunch and travel expenses for the speakers. The event was held on the Universities at Medway Campus Pilkington Building Room 130 on Friday, 27th April 2018.
The event was well received and 60 people attended. We had a satisfaction questionnaire at the end which 90% of people completed with very positive comments feeding back to us that they had learned a lot about the nature of the curriculum currently delivered in schools & also how to access additional services.