Dealing with Autism in Gozo

 

Our school has recently embarked on the project ‘Dealing with Autism in Gozo’ which is financed by Erasmus+. The duration of this project is of two years, starting in June 2016. The first Year of the Project will see the conduction of a Focus Group to evaluate the present situation at the Special Unit at Sannat Primary School and the participation of five members of our staff in training and observation sessions on specific areas of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Sharing of knowledge will follow during Staff Development Meetings, at our school, which will be dedicated solely for this project. A Facebook Page will also be created as well as an eTwinning project focusing on ASD. The second year of the Project will see another five members of staff having training and observation sessions in another three different areas of ASD. Again sharing of knowledge will follow in the same manner. Several evaluation meetings will also be held. We will conclude this project by organizing a seminar inviting all those involved in the area of Autism working in Gozo and possibly in Malta. This seminar will address both the passing on of knowledge and experiences as well as the outcome results. Information and experiences will also be published in the media namely the TV programme Għawdex Illum, the monthly publication Il-Ħajja f’Għawdex, various printed and electronic newspapers and various radio stations (National and Local). The need for this project arose from the fact that we have an alarming increase of referrals of students with Autism. We feel that our lack of knowledge in this area is contributing to the frustrations of students, educators and parents alike. We are giving great value to this project because we believe that our approach in teaching and communicating with students with Autism, is beneficial for all students with disabilities especially those students who present challenging behaviour secondary to Attention Deficit and Severe Learning Disabilities. We also believe that by training a core of the staff working in this area, we will be reaching all the other teaching staff in Gozo whom we collaborate with in this field. We also give great value to observation sessions that the staff will be having in schools which fall within the National Autistic Society and have been rated by Ofsted as ‘Outstanding’. Currently, the Maltese government is very keen to give more opportunities to allow persons with disabilities to develop their full potential. By training educating, parents and other stake-holders we would be giving our modest contribution towards this aim.

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