This module explores the importance of teaching the basic skills of movement to participants with autism as these do not come to them naturally. These skills include running, catching, throwing, coordination and balance to mention but a few and are the building blocks for participation in quality physical activity and sport and developing overall physical literacy. We now know that people with autism are presenting with obesity and patterns of inactivity which can further hinder their chances to develop social skills, language and communication and increase their risk of anxiety and depression. This module explores the background to skills, programme preparation and planning and session evaluation.
Dr. Susan Crawford
I originally trained as a general nurse and midwife and worked in these combined fields both nationally and internationally before returning to complete a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Limerick. On graduating, I worked in exercise prescription and sport injury management. I completed my Ph.D. in Autism and movement impairment in the University of Limerick. From here I went on to join the Staff of The School of Education in U.C.C from 2008-2019 where I worked as a lecturer and researcher. I lectured on the B.Ed Sports Studies and Physical Education and the Masters in Education programmes. I continued my research particularly in the combined areas of Autism, movement and university/School/Community collaboration. I received a number of awards and recognition for this work to include The President’s Award, Digital Champion and Fulbright Scholarship and Fulbright Alumni award. After becoming became a Fulbright Scholar in 2015, I travelled and worked with the University of San Francisco to go on to create and develop the “GetAutismActive” online resource kit. In 2019, I left UCC and went into full autism training and consulting fulltime. I have presented workshops, keynote addresses, motivational speeches to both parents and professionals in a variety of disciplines. I have also published and engaged with diverse groups and communities both nationally and internationally across different disciplines and ages. I am the mother of a young man Tomás with autism. Together we have completed runs, hikes, trails, swims and more all over the world. My philosophy is very much about celebrating ability and I firmly believe “it’s never too late to learn a new skill”.
I think this is a timely opportunity to address supporting our students/adults returning to school environments/care settings while also promoting their holistic health, learning and well-being in the process. Equally it provides our Parents, Professionals, teachers and SNAs with the knowledge, skills and resources to engage meaningfully and without stress with their students/service users especially in this Covid 19 era.