Independent Autism Advice Limited
Established in South Warwickshire by Trudi Rainsberry, with the aim of supporting the needs of autistic children and young people: Providing training, advice and services to educational settings, parents and carers.
BPhil & MEd Special Education Autism (Children)
My involvement in the field of autism began over 25 years ago, with members of my close and extended family on the autism spectrum. It changed my life, and was the start of learning positive and practical ways to support autistic children and young people. My passion for autism led me into the world of academia, providing me with knowledge that underpins my professional practice.
As a specialist in autism, I have a degree and Master’s degree in Special Education, Autism (Children), both with Distinction, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Education; receiving a Distinguished Alumni Scholarship for my Master’s degree. Whilst at university, I was mentored by members of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER), including Dr Glenys Jones, Dr Kerstin Wittemeyer and Dr Despina Papoudi. I was proud to have a paper published in the Good Autism Practice (GAP) Journal in 2017, following a collaborative research project with teenage girls on the autism spectrum (see diaries below). Continuing to develop my understanding of autism is important to me, particularly in relation to the views and perspectives of autistic people.
My progression into education began over fifteen years ago, when I supported children on the autism spectrum with extreme demand avoidance. After training to be a teacher, I taught in both mainstream and special schools, and as a specialist teacher for a local authority.
Alongside my academic studies, I trained in Video Interaction Guidance™ (VIG™), and I am currently working towards accreditation. Trained in Tacpac® (communicating through touch and music), a 1:1 communication and sensory resource, and Intensive Interaction (a practical technique to create opportunities to communicate and connect), I consider making genuine and positive connections to be essential. In addition, I am trained and experienced in using a range of interventions and approaches such as SCERTS® (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support), Social stories™, Attention Autism, Lego® Therapy and the TEACCH® approach. I am a trained Mental Health First Aider (MHFA England™) and have experience and training in areas, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attachment Theory, Selective Mutism, Inference Training, InPrint 3 and Developmental Language Delay (DLD). I use Sensory Screening tools to support the identification of sensory processing differences, to provide practical recommendations. As a teacher, I have used Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) systems, such as Proloquo2Go (iPad app), InPrint/Widgit Software, PECS® and Makaton signing.
I tailor and deliver bespoke training and workshops, developing the skills of individuals to support and meet the needs of autistic children and young people, providing practical solutions based on a child/person-centred approach, aimed at building an inclusive and supportive environment. For over two years I delivered the Autism Education Trust (AET) schools programme for a local authority, sharing good autism practice and personal experiences.
Working with individuals and groups, I aim to develop the understanding of autistic children/young people, respecting their values and interests, whilst incorporating aspects of evidence-based practice, such as Educating and Supporting Girls with Asperger’s And Autism by Victoria Honeybourne or Exploring Feelings by Tony Attwood;
Through observation, assessment and analysis, detailed recommendations and reports can be provided to support the positive inclusion of an autistic child/young person in their learning environment. Reports and advice may be used in the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ process, for the development of ILPs, EHCPs and to support Annual Reviews. Detailed reports include liaising with key adults, using observations, informal and/or standardised assessments, alongside working with relevant professional agencies, to ensure the needs of the child/young person are supported.
It is important to note, that I recommend the use of observation and assessment, to build a profile of the autistic child/young person, to better understand their strengths, needs and the possible causes of stress and anxiety, alongside the negative impact of the environment, such as transitions or sensory hyper and hyposensitivities. I do not use Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), or endorse the prevention of autistic children/young people in expressing themselves.