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Engagement & Creativity for Young People on the Autism Spectrum

Most of Bamboozle’s training sessions for schools happen on the ground in the classroom with the students and the staff team. We spend time working with a group of students – with staff on hand – and then we spend time with the staff team analysing sessions and looking at how the strategies and techniques of the Bamboozle Approach can be used in day-to-day practice.

As well as the behavioural and linguistic strategies of the Approach all of our sessions have a creative starting point and can be adapted to suit any area of the curriculum.

We have done a number of projects that have concentrated on the learning environment for students who are on the Autism Spectrum – especially for those who are described as being hard-to-reach. Areas of focus have included:

  • Working with behaviour that challenges us – considering all aspects of the teaching and learning environment to explore how to reduce anxiety levels and reduce the need for resistance as well as create a safer and more productive working atmosphere.
  • Communication – recognising, exploring and responding to all forms and modes of communication.
  • The learning environment – as well as exploring behavioural and linguistic techniques – looking at how the physical environment affects learning outcomes and how classroom geography can be adapted to suit learners’ needs – especially for young, dynamic learners.
  • Creativity and creative expression – exploring ways of enabling students to express their own creativity and produce their own creative work.
  • Engagement and experiential learning – creating immersive learning scenarios where children are fully involved and have the opportunity to make decisions, express themselves and explore their potential.
  • Child-initiated and child-centred learning – ways of facilitating rich learning experiences that put the child at the centre of their own learning with space for exploration, communication and autonomy.

“The Bamboozle project has been a real “eye opener” for me. Being given the opportunity to observe, practise & then reflect has been really useful and has given me tools to use especially with our more challenging pupils. Using non-directive offers has definitely reduced the number of violent incidents with some children. I feel that having the chance or permission to just “be” with a child has been so rewarding. Some of the battles I had before are now non-existent. Our children are much calmer and happier and it has taught me approaches which support this. From September I will be helping to plan a Bamboozle session weekly and train staff who have not had the opportunity to be involved with the project so far. I am so looking forward to this.” Autism Lead – Lakeside School, Welwyn.

The Consultancy Model

Often the most effective way of delivering training is to spend time with groups of students and staff in the environment that they work in every day. Training sessions are practical and hands-on so that students get to experience a novel workshop session while staff get to try out different techniques in a supportive working environment. A typical training day for a project using the consultancy model looks like this:

  • 8.00 – The Bamboozle team arrives to set up the workshop resources.
  • 8.30 – Briefing – the Bamboozle team meets with the staff taking part in the day’s workshops to go through what will be happening and talk about the creative set-up and the strategies that will be focussed on.
  • 9.30 – Session one – the Bamboozle team, in conjunction with the staff team, lead an hour-long workshop session with the students.
  • 11.30 – Breakout for session one – after a break the Bamboozle team meets with the staff team for an hour to analyse the workshop and look at how techniques and strategies can be adapted for further use in day-to-day practice.
  • 1.30 – Session two – as session one.
  • 2.30 – Breakout for session two – as above.

This model allows us to work with two different groups of students and two staff teams on each day we spend in school. In some long term projects we work with only two groups and visit the school at regular intervals throughout the year for one day at a time. If we work with four groups we’ll visit the school for two days at a time – again at regular intervals throughout the year.

Each session provides the opportunity to explore a new creative technique – adapted for the needs of the group – along with the behavioural and linguistic strategies of the Bamboozle Approach.

“I have gained a lot from this project. It has enabled me to think and plan more for each individual learner – thinking about safe spaces and using tools to enable confidence in learners. It has given me confidence to step back and allow each learner to be more spontaneous and also initiate learning as well as communication. I wish as a school we had more time to debrief with the team about learning and also allow one member to observe and capture evidence. I also know I can continue this in my practice as I have already started embedding it in a different class and have already seen results in engagement and self-regulation”. Class Lead – Greenside School, Stevenage.

Available course formats

As well as the consultancy model described above we can also deliver training in a variety of ways tailored to your school’s needs:

  • INSET days and twilight sessions
  • Short term pilot projects
  • Long term culture change projects

There’s more detail about all of these courses in this website section.

Dates, venues and fees

Training programmes usually take place at your school by arrangement. Fees depend largely on the requirements for the training sessions which are different for every school – to discuss your school’s training needs please contact our education co-ordinator nicole@bamboozletheatre.co.uk. Due to the COVID situation many schools are restricting the visitors who access their sites during the school day. We are however still visiting schools for training purposes when the children are not present. If you would like to explore possibilities for setting up a socially distanced training session at your school please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact page. Alternatively you might like to investigate our Online Course offering.

Read about a year-long culture change project in the Autism learning environment.

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