Making Friends Webinar – 15th September, 2016

RENEE CHRISTIE: Good afternoon, everybody. We’ll get started now, it’s right on 4 o’clock
eastern standard time. I hope everyone can hear me well through their
audio or through their laptops or computers. I’ll just make a quick note that today’s webinar,
Making Friends, is being recorded so this is why you might be able to hear it through
your computer just by clicking on the microphone down the bottom here, just below your typing
your message here there’s a little microphone icon there. If you want to listen through the computer
you can just click that red X off. But we do encourage you that just keep the
dialling in information on hand just in case your Internet or computer does have some buffering
issues throughout the webinar. Okay, so welcome to the webinar. My name is Renee Christie. I will be one of your cofacilitators today
and I work as the team leader for New South Wales for Positive Partnerships and my cofacilitator
today is Rachael Dillon who will come in halfway through the webinar. Rachael is the team leader of the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander program for Positive Partnerships and you will see there our moderators
are Chris Champion, National Coordinator for Projects and Innovation, and Linda Hunt, whose
details up earlier, and who would have been in communication with you. If you do have any technical issues just contact
those moderators. But we welcome you all to the webinar today
and I would like to ask in what capacity everyone here on the list is attending the webinar. So I would just like to ask Rachael to start
a poll and we’re just going to ask everybody to click as to where they’re calling in from
today in what capacity they’re calling in from today. So you will see a poll come up and we would
just like to do this to recognise that we do have this webinar open to a range of different
people. So I can see there that mostly we have other
parents, school staff members or other professionals in the field. That’s quite a broad match between the three
there. So thank you oh, and a couple from sector,
there you go. Alright, thank you, everyone, for clicking
on those results there so we’ll just remove that poll and moving onto the next slide which
will just give a brief overview of the webinar tools. So some of you might be new here to the webinar
platform. Some of you may have already been part of
our webinar, so you will know the tools as well. So as you can see to your left there that’s
where your name appears and down the bottom in the text box, this is where we will encourage
people to type their comments and questions in the text box there and we might also ask
at this point just to be mindful that this is a short hourlong webinar and we do have
quite a few number of people here. So we hope to be able to answer many of the
questions that we have, but just to keep in mind that Positive Partnerships as a model
doesn’t come from an expert model and we rather hope that through our facilitation of this
webinar, participants of the webinar can use the tools and ideas generated and apply them
to your own individual circumstances. And just to let you know that all the fliers
here today and all the resources we speak about or links that we share will be emailed
out to everybody following the webinar. So please just take your time to take out
the most of this hour webinar and bear in mind that you will receive everything following
the webinar. So now a little bit more we’re going to ask
about yourself. So another poll that we like to gauge another
idea of our mix of participants today. We’re going to ask you’re calling in from
today across the country. So which State or Territory and we’ll also
ask at this point in time that if you are sitting around a computer with a group of
people, if you wouldn’t mind just typing into the text box how many people are sitting around
your computer, just so that we can get a bit more of an idea of how many people exactly
are listening in. See, we’ve already got Annette there, she’s
got five people around her. Thanks, Annette. And based on our results here we’ve got quite
a good mix from across the country as well. So hope to share lots of ideas and welcome,
everybody. So our session intentions today in the Making
Friends webinar is to focus on looking at how the characteristics of autism may have
direct impacts on the individual ability to make but also maintain friendships. A young person on the autism spectrum may
have very different understanding of making friends and we will discuss how the need to
have friends varies from person to person. There are strategies, programs and resources
that we will also share to support young people on the spectrum to learn about friendships,
to also develop the skills to make and maintain friends and support instances of bullying
in schools and community. We will also particularly focus on the importance
of working together with your school, to ensure that everyone understands the unique impacts
of autism on the individual and our intention today is to raise thought and discussion around
understanding these complexities and what can support individuals. We hope that you will feel safe talking about
your current concerns and acknowledge that all of us here today come from different experiences
but sometimes also some similar concerns will arise. So please feel free to share your strategies
and ideas and in an open and respectful manner and we hope that if you leave today with just
one idea then we will have achieved what we intended. Just remember to keep your knowledge as the
individual at the forefront of your mind. So to begin, and before we can explore helping
our young people on the spectrum to make friends, we need to have a good understanding of what
friends are and this is going to be different for each person in the group but there will
be some common themes. So I’d like us to start by identifying what
are the qualities and skills of good friends and discuss the different levels of friends. So first of all, what are the qualities of
a good friend? And we’ll ask you to use the text box here
and thinking about the quality of the friendship, comment using either a word or a phrase. Shared interests, I see we’ve got a couple
of people typing there. Trust is always a big one that comes up. Someone you can trust and who won’t judge
you and being trustworthy as well and willing to share that trust with your friend is a
big quality. Wow, we’ve got lots coming through now. Support, honesty, kindness, we’ve got loyalty
come up a couple of times and listening is always a big one too because we all know the
impact that being there to listen can have. Having a laugh, yes. Someone who makes you smile, that’s something
that often comes up as well. So we can see that there’s lots of really
great qualities there. Acceptance is a big one too, thanks, Karen. Lots of great qualities. Thank you for sharing all of those, everybody,
because what we can see in friendship is that there’s so many great qualities to friendship
and we also need to consider what the different levels of friendship might be. And so, for example, we’re not all going to
have best friends but we have friends and acquaintances that are at different levels
and in our different social setting. So it could be your work friendship group
or the various clubs or the family dynamics that you have and we look at how we move in
different circles of friendship too and this is lifelong and as we get older it continues
to be this process of moving between circles of friends. And we develop friends through many and varied
life experiences. So keeping this in mind, for a young person
on the autism spectrum who is already struggling with understanding the complexity of what
is a friend, these levels on top of all of this can be quite confusing. Rachael, thanks for sharing that. We also like to pose this question how many
friends do I need? And so for people on the spectrum, friendship
can look really different depending on the individual. So you might see a young person on the spectrum
appearing to have no friends or there might be the instance of having just one good friend
and often this is something that is described. But then we can see that other individuals
on the spectrum could have a number of acquaintances, both in the school setting and in the community. But then there could be another direction
where they name the person sitting next to them at that time they’re friend. So it just really depends on that understanding
and remembering that as we discussed on the previous slide, often friendship is viewed
through the eyes of us, of our family or our teachers and what we define as friendship. So when we look at our own close friendships
and how complex that can be it really hits home the reality of this. So I will ask you just in the text box, considering
those examples I gave, how do you see the young person you support or your young person
sitting in the broad range of how many friends. Please comment in the text box about this
and just be mindful that there are no right or wrong answers to this. As discussed it can be a very, it can be incredibly
individual and unique to the person. We have a couple of people typing. The people support their young person who
typically has just one friend. My child just wants one person like him, yeah. So thank you, Amin. That is, yeah, it can be hard and like we
said with our understanding of friendship and how it transfers between different people
and their understanding. Exactly, and Angie, you’ve got your daughter
who is very sociable and really seeks out those friendships but sometimes it can be
a challenge in the characteristics understanding various hidden cues in making and maintaining
friendships can be challenging. The concept and the understanding of friendship
is definitely a big one and that’s often a place where we don’t think to start is learning
about what a friend is and what friendships mean. We’ve got comments coming through quickly
but just anyone I meet on the playground is a friend. We can see that there’s a lot of these layering
of the different understandings of the friendships there. So thank you, everyone, for commenting there. We just will be moving onto understanding
looking a bit deeper into the diversity of autism and looking at how the characteristics
across the autism spectrum can really influence socialising and instances of, you know, vulnerability
or isolation in individuals on the spectrum. So we now will discuss these and see how these
characteristics in themselves impact and you may like to comment in the box as we talk
through these about yes, you know, if you find that that’s something that resonates
with you. So if you look at communication, we’re looking
at the difficulties in expressing both your needs and your wants and then on top of this,
being able to comprehend the message received from others. So for someone on the autism spectrum this
can lead to frustration and often isolation from all sides of the communications and it
can also mean that the young person with autism also misses really key messages and does not
have the skills to be able to check in and clarify a social situation context with their
peers or teachers. And also adding to this complex are many and
varied nonverbal signals and signs that are constantly transmitting through communication. In our social interactions there some individuals
on the spectrum find it hard to share and take turns. Is anyone similar to that with the young person
they support? And this is especially depending on the interest
area of either the items they’re playing with or the topic of conversation. And so again, that can lead to isolation and
another, yep, we’ve got a couple there, “The need to win” and another thing that comes
up in socialisation is how young people’s peers can be quite unpredictable in general
and this is often why sometimes we see a young person on the autism spectrum gravitate towards
adults because they are much more predictable, or towards younger children who have that
less developed play skill. I’m sure there’s a few people who either support
young people on the spectrum or have their own children who would fall into that category
as well. I mean also consider how complicated social
games, for example, can be like tip or handball and we’ve got a really good example of this
where the complexity of the rules often seen in games like this can change really quickly,
depending on the group of children and how fast their communication can be. And we do have a short clip which Rachael’s
getting ready for us and the focus of this video is on a group of students and one father
who are playing handball and it highlights the range of different social and emotional
skills that are being used by the students and the father and the complexity of how it
rolls out in just 1 to 3 minutes of the game. So I will ask everyone just to turn their
volumes up on their computer and we’ll be playing this short video. [VIDEO PLAYS] BOY: Get John out, get down. Out. BOY: You can’t get me out. BOY: Zac, you can’t do anything to me. BOY: You, you can. BOY: Grabs. MAN: Gone. BOY: It was grabs, play grabs. So you’re over there. No, you MAN: I’m frightened now. BOY: Yeah, you’re in there, you’re out. BOY: Said it first. BOY: Get him out, are you ready? MAN: All I did was serve. BOY: And you got out. BOY: How did he get out? BOY: That bounced out. BOY: You’re out. BOY: How am I out? MAN: Did it go out of that line? Okay. BOY: He’s out, he’s out. BOY: That’s alright, Joey. RENEE CHRISTIE: Okay, so I hope everyone could
hear that and even though it was so short, I mean I couldn’t really even follow keeping
up with all those rules let alone if a young person has challenges in many of these areas. So we can sort of see here and consider just
how a minute of overloading on the playground with all of the different communication and
social interactions going on could often be that final trigger for something going on
in that young person’s life. So just moving onto, yeah, “Kind of had trouble
keeping up too”, me too. In the column in the row there repetitive
behaviours and restricted interests. Individuals on the spectrum, as we talked
about before, can often, you know, we see their play characterised by a focus on objects
and/or that specific interest area and this can take the focus off that relationship building
that relationship with people because that is a challenging area for them and this can
lead to that onesided and repetitive conversation on the topic. Saw a few people copy that in. You might see a lot of you might have come
across this in the playground or in the classroom as well and like someone mentioned earlier,
that is why the one person with spectrum will gravitate towards that older adult figure
who has a bit more patience for that conversation topic or invest a bit more time in it. So it can be challenging for their peers to
stay engaged and hence why they might move onto other friendships or other people and
in that instance, it can often lead to the individual on the spectrum being more isolated
in where they’re playing or how they’re playing. This can again impact by being at risk to
bullying behaviour which I’m sure many have seen as well. And yeah, the understanding of the jokes is
it’s very challenging and that links the fact, as Jessica’s put there, and Katelyn, about
sarcasm. We saw through those characteristics and how
in communication it’s that literal interpretation and so, you know, those social cues in conversations
can get lost. So in sensory processing and thanks, Rach,
for moving the arrow there, it’s helpful. And depending on our individual sensory sensitivities
and those of people on the spectrum can be the more greatly impacted, this area may see
the young person on the spectrum’s ability to be involved in certain play activities
that involve this skill being less and especially when social settings are new or unpredictable
and I know someone mentioned there so much noise in the playground. So if there is a sensitivity in noise and
of course that person is going to avoid that an example could be running away from the
crowded playground or the crowded shopping centre and this is also an area where we can
think about proprioception which is one of the senses that we often don’t realise involve
a lot of the muscles and joints and so difficulties in this sensitivity of the area, mainly in
that the individual has challenges in their coordination or ball skills and in turn are
impacting on social opportunities. So finally, I will just touch on information
processing. An example here is looking at how individuals
on the spectrum have a difficulty around executive functioning and this is where we develop skills
and the ability to plan and organise. But when you have a challenge in this area
or a difficultly in this area can impact on the ability to maintain friendships, what
we are sort of what we have touched on as well and that includes that real coordination
and organisation of managing conflicts within friendships and also managing busy social
calendars and times and follow up and all of those things that we just take for granted
as having a friend. So in summary of our diverse characteristics,
you can explore these characteristics of autism on an individual level and we see that no
two individuals are the same or have the same characteristics. And as we add to that the very complex layers
of friendship for all people then it appears there isn’t any wonder why socialising can
be confusing for many of our young people. And as we’ve said before, what is important
is to keep the knowledge of yourself or your young child at home and at school at the forefront
of your mind. And I’d further like to link it up to the
Positive Partnerships planning matrix, which is a great document that we use to document
all of those characteristics and the diversity of autism. So I think we’ve got I didn’t really explain
this tool but down in the far lefthand corner you will see a little head icon and what you
can do is click on that and use the hand up icon to let us know if you have used the matrix
before. We always like to get a bit of an idea about
how many people have used the matrix. I can see a couple of hands going up there. Thank you, everyone. There’s a link to this matrix is on our website
and it’s a great module that you can actually complete to learn how to utilise this tool
to the best of your to your best for your child and so we do have a link that we will
send following the webinar but we can actually use the matrix to highlight the individual
characteristics of someone on the autism spectrum and unpack these characteristics by looking,
as Rachael’s got there, our pointer, we explore the characteristics across the top and then
link those to the impacts down the bottom. And then those impacts directly link in to
creating some really practical strategies along the bottom row. I will just take you back to the impact row
and this is often where we see instances as discussed previously of the individual on
the spectrum becoming isolated or peers around them becoming frustrated and this is often
impact on the instances of teasing bullying occurring and sometimes the young person’s
vulnerability in their social communication can predispose them to being the victim. However we sometimes also see the child on
the spectrum that is the perpetrator unknowingly. And we also see that there might be a misinterpretation
of the actions of others where the individual on the spectrum is seen as being is seeing
the others as being a bully when actually it might be due to some other sensitivity. So I just want to encourage by constructing
this visual story or map for your young person we can start to identify what influences upon
someone’s ability to understand, make and maintain friendships. Including how to support an individual through
challenging situations such as bullying. I
will share two examples of these completed matrices, a focus on friendship and these
will be for a primary and secondary student on the spectrum so you will get those after
the webinar. But for now we’ve actually just taken out
the social interactions column from both of the matrices which we will share. And this can just let you know how these how
this tool can be helpful. So if you see along the top there, I will
just read out the primary student example. So the individual “Has difficulty understanding
the actions of their peers and often feels like he’s being teased and that the actions
are deliberate. For example, someone brushes against him.” And the impact of this in the second row down
is that “He can feel sad or angry at the school when incidents occur and this may also lead
to being the target of bullying.” And so we’ve linked closely these strategies
to those that impact by suggesting “Debrief following the incidents, with visual drawings. To help him learn the difference between aggression
and unintended jostling in the corridor. You can also set up a safe place with a favoured
book to be used as a retreat if needed, and to identify those safe and unsafe areas for
him in the school using a map.” So just remember that many of the strategies
that develop friendships can also develop other skills and this includes supporting
the young person on the spectrum, especially when they are vulnerable. Now I’m just going to take you to the next
slide which is where I will hand over to Rachael. Rachael’s going to help dig a bit deeper into
the strategies and think about the strategies that you’re currently using while giving some
suggestions as well. So thanks, Rachael. RACHEL DILLION: Thanks, Renee. Welcome, everyone and hello/good afternoon
and I thank Renee for starting us off so wonderfully and discussing some of the excellent issue
around making friends. So this second half of our webinar we’re going
to be looking at the strategies to encourage you all to share in text box (inaudible) hopefully
everyone walks away with one more idea. So we’d like to start by having a look at
some of these pictures and thinking if they jog anything that you’ve maybe tried. Perhaps you’ve tried the circle concept, have
you used video modelling? Have you tried playdates (inaudible)? Any ideas that you have (inaudible) or what’s
working for you in the text box to start us off. People are typing. Just while we’re waiting for a few people
to pop in the idea, we’ve got a great article called (inaudible). It’s written by a group of primary school
students and often some strategies are (inaudible) a game that everyone could play at recess. They shared their tips but it’s a really great
article. Also got another document we’re sharing calls
Positive Partners Suggested Strategies. So lots of ideas coming your way. So I can hear I can see Katelyn “Moving feet
plans regularly”, (inaudible). “Classes how to be a good friend”, that�s
great, so I’m guessing that’s teaching those to all students. Oh, is my line all crackly? Apologies. I seem to have full strength. I hope it improves. I’m sorry about that. I’m not quite sure why that’s happening. Anyway, I’ll keep going. If it does become a real problem we will have
to flick back to Renee. But I will keep going and see how we go. RENEE CHRISTIE: Rach, it’s breaking a little
bit in and out for me. If you want to try moving from where you are
otherwise I’m happy to take back over, if it’s not working. RACHAEL DILLON: Alright, I might just move. RENEE CHRISTIE: Can everyone comment in the
text box if they’re also having a bit of difficulty there or if it’s okay? RACHAEL CHRISTIE: We’ve got Leanne suggesting
Lego character role play. Some people are saying it’s okay now. Okay, we’ll keep going and please let me know
if it does get any worse. Okay, so some great ideas in there. Role playing is a really great idea and so
is video modelling is another great idea. Using social stories and social scripts is
also a very good tool especially when (inaudible) can explain the benefits of using that particular
social idea, teaching explicit rules. Even role playing how to join in on the game
is really important. Sometimes very structured role play around
certain scenarios. Teaching children to actually read social
cues and how to start a game or join in a conversation. Some young people need skills broken down
into really small steps. We can never assume that they know these things. Often children are unaware of those hidden
social rules. So visual reminders and visual prompts are
all great tools. So what we’re going to look at now is a short
clip of a young adult on the spectrum called Robyn and she discusses friendships and strategies
that she’s implemented in making and maintaining friends. So again, we’ll ask you to turn up the sound. I will put myself on mute and turn up the
sound on your laptops or computers or iPads and just have a look at what whether there
are any things that you might try whilst watching the video. [VIDEO PLAYS] ROBYN: Friendships can be quite difficult
sometimes for people on the autism spectrum and sometimes people find it difficult to
make friends. But also sometimes people on the autism spectrum
can find it difficult to maintain a friendship. So how do you make sure over a long period
of time that you keep being friends with the person, that you spend time with them and
they spend time with you and that you both get a lot out of being friends with each other. Some problems that people might experience
are things like being able to understand somebody else’s perspective of a situation. So particularly when things go wrong or when
you’re trying to talk to somebody, knowing, for example, if they want to talk to you or
if they are enjoying the conversation with you. In terms of maintaining friendships, I think
it’s very important that you do learn how to maintain friendships because I think that’s
a different skill set to making friends. There are some people on the autism spectrum
who are happy in their own company and don’t want to make friends. One of those reasons might be because they’ve
experienced a lot of bullying and rejection and actually need to have some support on
working on some social skills to be able to use to make friends and really it’s not the
friendships that are the problem, it’s more the rejection and the negative experiences
that they’ve had. It’s totally fine if a young person doesn’t
want to make friends, but I think we need to find out why and also you still need to
work on teamwork and being able to work with other people. Firstly, if you don’t want to make friends
that’s totally fine. Think about why you don’t want to make friends. If it’s that you’ve been bullied then maybe
it’s just about looking for different places to make friends. Tip number 2 is to go to groups that or clubs
that are around your special interests. So that might be a really good place to make
friends. Tip number 3 is if you’re comfortable to explain
to people that you’re on the autism spectrum, there shouldn’t be any shame in it. You might not do it the first time you meet
somebody, make sure you trust that person first and if you’re unsure then ask somebody
who you trust, so your parents or a teacher. Tip number 4, Jennifer Cook O’Toole has written
lots of very useful books, she’s got a series called Asperkids published by Jessica Kingsley
Publishers. Tip number 5 is Comic Strip Conversations
by Carol Gray and Tony Attwood and Social Stories which is also by Carol Gray. RACHAEL DILLION: Okay, did anyone hear any
great ideas that Robyn talked about or hear of anything they hadn’t heard of before? Maybe just pop a couple of things or notes
or phrases into the text box. Perhaps you hadn’t heard of Carol Gray, she’s
quite famous for her social stories and social scripts. Was there anything there, any comments that
Robyn made that might be helpful for you? Quite a few people just jotting down, typing
in now. I’m hoping you can all hear me better. Whilst we are watching that I’ve moved to
a better spot in my office so I’m really hoping that the sound is better quality now. Oh, good, it’s sounding like everybody is
thinking it’s better. “So it’s still important to work on team work”,
absolutely. Bullying, yes, bullying is the big issue. “Comic Strip Conversations”, yes, Deanna they’re
really great tools, especially for teenagers. And MM has suggested needing scaffolding at
school. They’re really important to work together
with parents and families. We will talk about that in a moment. Yes, and important, that’s really great point,
Katelyn, that it’s important to communicate effectively, even if the person does not want
to make friends. This is actually a really important thing
for us all to be aware of with children. They may say that they’re not interested in
being friends or they may say that they don’t need friends, but this could just be a way
of protecting themselves. There’s been some research with older adults
on the spectrum and they’ve often said that their school years were quite lonely and that
they really did want to make friends, that they just didn’t know how. So really important for us to be aware of
that. Lots of great comments there, that’s fantastic. Thank you, everyone. It’s a great clip and she gives some fantastic
ideas. So we’ll move on now. We did mention just now about the importance
of working in partnership with school. So parents and teachers both need to be working
together to support our young people socially and emotionally. Families need to have a really strong partnership
with their schools and vice versa and this will create a supportive environment that
helps our young people feel confident, both socially and emotionally in school. Again, we will be sharing another list of
strategies with you via email just post this webinar, but now, it’s an opportunity for
you to type in any ideas or strategies and ways that you’ve possibly worked with your
parents or if you’re a parent, ways that you’ve worked with teachers in the past. Current ideas that you use to support your
students and how have you worked well together. So in other words, answering the question
what have I done to work in partnership with parents or teachers to support our young people
socially and emotionally. Just pop in some ideas in the text box. One idea, whilst people are typing, is to
work for parents to work with teachers and vice versa to develop visual cue cards and
materials together. Often what works at home can work well at
school and vice versa. So Leanne has said, “Creating profiles of
children’s strengths”, really important to know children’s strengths as well as weaknesses. And Linda has suggested “Letting the school
know what works at home” and that’s a really important thing and vice versa. We can’t assume that teachers know all of
the strategies that are working well and so sharing that with your teachers is really
important and vice versa, if a teacher finds something’s working well at school, to make
sure that you share that with your parents. Communication book, Michelle has used, lots
of ideas coming through. Yeah, communication is definitely the key,
Katelyn. I couldn’t agree more. “Assisting with school games group”, yes,
that’s a great idea. “A picnic concept, eating lunches”, that’s
a really nice idea, thank you for sharing. And Rakoola has suggested her preschool has
taken up some of the same visuals. Excellent, fantastic. And that just really provides some consistency
for the child, doesn’t it, to allow them to know exactly what those visuals mean at home
and at school. Great ideas. Thank you all so much. School groups, that suits the children with
ASD, alert secret yes, Secret Agent Society is a great game. I know a lot of schools and parents have taken
that onboard. So thank you all for sharing. That’s fantastic. We’ve mentioned quite a lot of the ones that
we have in our document which we will be emailing to you. Like I said, it’s titled How Can We Work in
Partnership With Our Schools. So we’ve mentioned some of those already. So developing visual materials together, teaching
students rules of social interaction, really explicitly, teaching the whole class different
social rules and that therefore is benefitting all students. Role playing, talking to the school about
organising a buddy program is a great idea. This may be a buddy that’s older or more mature,
a friend, helping them to join in at playtime. Helping your young person, we’ve talked about
lunch clubs, access clubs, activities, they’re great ideas. It’s also really important for adults, parents
and school staff to model appropriate behaviour so that young people are aware of what is
expected in different social situations. So as we were saying before, I think it’s
really important as adults, and we forget this sometimes, to be really mindful of when
we tease or joke or use sarcasm with individuals on the spectrum and especially making sure
that we’re also aware of the difference between that and distinguishing behaviours that are
socially unacceptable versus socially acceptable versus bullying. So making sure our children on the spectrum
are aware of what really constitutes bullying. So just summing up when talking about partnerships. When schools really embrace diversity and
they have that open arms approach in all forms, it creates an environment which is accepting
a difference, provides a wonderful platform for students on the spectrum to develop and
thrive socially and emotionally. It won’t immediately be a solution for every
social interaction but you should feel confident that the additional supports and strategies
are encouraging to be put in place and aren’t being undermined by a school culture in contradiction
with what you’re trying to achieve. So it’s really all about working together. In fact, they should complement what the school
is striving to achieve for every student. We actually have a wonderful resource called
Djarmbi the Different Kookaburra. It’s a storybook developed in conjunction
with the community in Victoria that sends many messages about difference and acceptance. You can access this storybook as a free app
on your iPads or tablets with interactive game. Our website also showcases this book, we’re
soon going to have an ebook reader version online. We’ve also got a live reading of the book
that demonstrates how to use a sensory bag which has key messages. It’s a great whole class tool to teach about
difference and acceptance. So we’re going to actually share the link
to our Djarmbi recording again in an email. The name of the book is actually Djarmbi,
it’s spelt DJRMBI, MM was asking what the resource was called. So like I said we will share with you the
link to Djarmbi following this webinar. Renee’s just popped the name in there for
you. So where do we go from here? Asking the question what are some good resources
and books to use? There are so many out there but what are some
of the ones that come with recommendations from different people and what do I start
what tools do I start with. Here are a few of the books which we share
during our workshops. We’ve had a book list in the past and we’ve
often shared these also on our display table. So we’ve shared some of the titles. So please pop in the text box if anyone has
actually used these and if they found them useful. We have certainly found that these come recommended. They’re useful in exploring and teaching a
variety of skills, including friendship and social skills. So please also feel free to share titles of
any other books that you may have found useful in your journey with autism. We have a book list which we will send to
you as well Making Friends reading list. Here are a few more and thank you, Rakoola,
the social flexible youth series. We’ve got Taking Care of Myself Here, Luke
Jackson’s Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome is fantastic book for teenagers. Really great in talking about some of those
social hidden social cues. It makes quite it’s a good read, a good laugh
around those sorts of things. Max and Barnaby, a book about joining in the
playground, thank you, Karen. Great to see you all sharing different books. Here are a few more. Bullying in Schools, Words Will Really Hurt
Me, a few others here. We forget to mention as well that you will
receive a PDF version of all of these slides. So if you didn’t get a chance to take note
of any of the books again, or any of the slides really, the information on the slides will
actually be sent to you along with the book list. A few more here. Some of you may have seen some. This book here, The Hidden Curriculum: Practical
Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations. We’re surrounded in daily life by unstated
rules and customs that can make the world a confusing place for people on the spectrum. So to help individuals understand and deal
with this ever elusive hidden curriculum, this is a book that offers practical suggestions
and advice for how teachers, parents and other professionals can teach these subtle cues. So a fantastic book. Leanne is asking if there are any helpful
apps. We’re about to show you some websites but
please feel free to share if anyone does have any apps that they’ve used. Again share in the text box, we can always
hear about more and different resources. This is a great book too, The Social Skills
Picture Book. These actually there’s two of them. These two picture books, one is for high school. They actually appeal to the visual strengths
of students on the spectrum, coloured photos of students demonstrating a variety of social
skills in the correct and also in the incorrect way. So on the next slide we’ve got on the next
few slides we’ve got a few pages copied from this book, just so that you can see. So the skills depicted here are meant to be
read, roll played and corrected when necessary and role played some more and finally, to
be practised by the student in real life social situations. So these particular pages are from the high
school and beyond book, just to give you a bit of a snapshot. You can see here there’s the right way and
the wrong way and they have the pages have thought bubbles to show what people are thinking
during these interactions and obviously for children they’re not always what they hoped
for. So this book is really practical and engaging
and down to earth. It’s very real. It’s a valuable tool for teens to help them
navigate that often very mysterious rules of social conduct in everyday situations. So we highly recommend this one. Visual tools and strategies, we’ve already
mentioned how useful these can be. You’ve heard it many times through the webinar
and you may have different experiences of your understanding and uses of visual supports
and strategies. They can assist the teaching of friendship,
emotional and social skills. They can also assist consolidation of knowledge
and skills and increase a child’s independence so that hopefully, one day they may not even
need them. So some of the examples here are Social Stories,
the circle program, and Comic Strip Conversations which was mentioned before too. While the strategies may look and appear the
same, there’s differences depending on the age of your individual and the diversity of
the situation. We’ve got a tip sheet on social stories and
visual supports on our website. We’ll also share with you again, via email
process webinar, two examples of a social script. One is a primary school example and one is
secondary. We’ve also got another tool which we’ll send
you called The Playdate Sandwich and it’s an article that highlights the careful planning
and layering of elements that go into a successful playdate and how it takes the form of a visually
structured playdate. So some great tips and tools coming your way. You will be inundated with lots of information
following this webinar but we’d really like to hear from you as well. So I know lots of people have been writing
in the text box. Just to let you know if you miss something
somebody said or a tip or perhaps a resource someone’s mentioned, you can scroll back using
your little bar on the side of your text window so that you can and we’ll leave the webinar
open for a few minutes following the end of the webinar so that you have time to scroll
back and jot down anything that you might see or you might have missed. Here are some more additional visual strategies. There’s The Hassle Log, The Social Autopsy. This is a secondary example, questions can
be used via this tool to assist students to debrief about an incident once a student is
calm and discuss what could have been done better if the incident was to occur again. On the righthand side you will see hot spot
card. This is an appropriate card for students that
it teaches them how to use it, about the strategies and cool hints they might even be able to
practice their strategy with a small group. The cards are small enough that a child can
carry them around in their pocket so that they’re on hand to be used but not too obvious
for other students. Here we’ve got a list of really useful websites
and I do know someone said about apps, so please feel free to write any apps that you
might have around making friends, or that you’ve used on your iPads or tablets that
you’d like to share. But these are some really great websites. Starting with the CASEL Collaborative For
Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. They’ve identified five interrelated core
competencies social awareness selfawareness, selfmanagement, responsible decision making
and relationship skills so there’s lots of great information about these skills for students
and supporting their learning outcomes and general life skills. The second one is the Aspect Launchpad, a
useful website for older students to prepare for the transition of out of school with a
tab dedicated to social life, conversations, dating and social media. The third website there is the National Autistic
Society. This is a fantastic UK organisation who offer
a range of resources written for people on the spectrum as well as their families and
schools. The link takes you to a helpful page that
suggests strategies to young people on the spectrum to help them understand social skills. You can also access information on a range
of topics here. Cybersmart website provides interactive learning
activities, an online resource centre and Cybersmart parent blog and outreach program. That’s very useful for all children, not just
children on the spectrum, it’s something that we all need to be aware of today. And the last one there is the National Safe
Schools Framework, again really suitable for all children. It provides Australian schools with a vision
and a set of guiding principles that assist assist school communities to develop positive
and practical student safety. Very important for schools to be aware of. So somebody has shared an app there, the Wonkidos
app, sounds very interesting, Leanne, I’ll have to check it out. I haven’t heard of that one. And Leanne’s also asking if anyone out there
might have any activities that develop joint tension. So please jot them down for her. There are also a range of useful programs
that are already up and running within schools across Australia. These programs empower young people to develop
resiliency, selfadvocacy, social skills, selfknowledge and an understanding of other’s points of
view. Just let you know, we do have a couple of
typos, we apologise for that. Kids Matters shouldn’t have an S on the end
there and it’s actually should say McGrath Material with a TH so apologies for that. Reachout supports teenagers in a range of
issues and concerns. A new program specifically supports parents
through these tough times with a range of strategies and resources. Kids Matter, and Mind Matter, Mind Matter
is program, great information on whole school approaches to support mental health and well
being. It’s great resources including video clips
around the importance of social and emotional learning and programs such as Heart Matters. Bounce Back, educators and psychologists who
share a common goal to support children and adults to develop a stronger sense of well
being and to be more resilient, confident and successful and Helen McGrath’s material
has programs for schools to support students on the spectrum. We’ve also got Secret Agent Society, somebody
actually mentioned that a little earlier. A great program that schools use as well as
parents use and it teaches students how to recognise emotion in themselves, to express
feelings in appropriate ways, how to start, continue, and end conversations and employ
activities with others. It also teaches them how to tell the difference
between friendly joking and mean teasing and how to manage bullying and how to cope with
making mistakes, a really important concept and how to handle new situations. If anyone knows of any other programs other
than these that they’d like to share, please feel free to pop them in the text box. We obviously have a great website ourselves
with lots of courses for parents and professionals as well as fact sheets, one of which I mentioned
before. There is a particular information module on
making friends and bullying as well as a range of other topics. We’ve also got a Making Friends app available
from the app store to download free on your iPhone. As well as an app around Djarmbi the Different
Kookaburra and that’s available on iPads. Our home page which you see here is where
parents and careers can register for upcoming workshops as well in the righthand side there
and we will share the State and Territory fliers as well so school staff must contact
their sector leaders if they’re interested in professional learning opportunities. So we will email out the links to the Making
Friends and Djarmbi app. Lastly, our Facebook page is a great resource
especially for asking questions. So if you felt you didn’t get a question answered
because I know there were lots of people typing away, this is a great place to put out there
and possibly get 7,000 responses to any questions or ideas or tools and resources, particularly
around what have you tried, are there any apps making friends other than the positive
partnerships app that could be a good question to post on our Facebook page. There’s lots of tips and information and conversations
regarding supporting schoolage children on the spectrum on our Facebook page. We ensure that this page offers evidencebased
resources around autism. So we encourage you to leave comments, photos,
videos and links here however all posts are reviewed to remain constructive and positive. Finally, we’d really like you all to take
a moment to complete our survey. It’s completely anonymous and it will only
take you two minutes. Our moderator will upload the link to the
text box which you just need to click on it and open in another browser. You can also even click on the link displayed
on the slide. On the screen and open it in another browser
as well. Does anybody have we’ve literally gotten to
5 o’clock already so the hour has flown past but if anyone has any final thoughts or questions
that they’d like to pose please pop them in the text box now. Renee has popped our survey in for you to
click on and just to repeat, for anyone that might have missed it, we will be sending you
a copy of all of the slides covered today as well as the tip sheets, strategy sheets,
the book list, links to our apps as well as links to all of the websites and all of the
program websites that we covered. So I’m sure that once you receive your email,
that you will have a great range of tools and ideas for supporting your children to
make friends and keep friends. I will take your lack of typing to mean that
we’ve covered everything, which is really great. So thanks, Jessica, she’s just reminded us
that a friend does not have to be the same age as you, that is so true and I’m exactly
the same. I have older friends and younger friends,
so we need to remember that for children as well. So I’d like to really thank you all and on
behalf of Renee and the Positive Partnerships team, thank you all for joining us this afternoon. Please do take the time to fill in our survey. We really want to continually improve what
we do and know what we’re doing well. So it’s a really good opportunity for us to
ensure that we have that continuous improvement. So please do take the time and thank you all
for joining us this afternoon and we hope you have a wonderful evening. We’re going to leave the text box open for
you to scroll through and back and see if you have missed anything that you’d like to
jot down, especially some of the great ideas that you all shared. So thank you, everyone. 23

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