8. Autism 101: Creating an Autism Friendly Learning Environment

How to create a learning environment where all children, including children with autism, can thrive and learn

Inclusive teaching requires an array of skills, not least of which is helping children with different needs. The aim of this EPV course is to use the Actualise Academy Model of Neuroscience, Clinical/Emotional Psychology and Behavioural Science to introduce teachers to the cognitive, emotional and behavioural factors that can contribute to maximising the learning experience of students with Autism at school.

The course focuses on practical strategies that you can use not only at work, but in all aspects of your life.

Topics covered include understanding how autism is diagnosed, how to set up an autism-friendly environment, how to consider sensory needs and teaching skills using Applied Behaviour Analysis.

Our comprehensive lesson plans and resources provide you and your learners with the skills to overcome challenges and thrive both at home and in school. The aim of this course is to use the Actualise Academy Model of Neuroscience, Clinical/Emotional Psychology and Behavioural Science to introduce Teachers to the various mechanisms and actions that can help all children in your classroom.


Here is a list of the modules in this course, with the learning outcomes of each. We also build in School Self Evaluation into all courses, making the SSE Process as smooth as possible:

Module 1: What is Autism. Participants will learn

  • Diagnostic criteria of ASD
  • Perceptions of ASD in society
  • Features of Autism

Module 2: Setting Up An ASD-Friendly Environment 1. Participants will:

  • The important features of an ASD friendly environment
  • Physical Environmental Accommodations
  • How interactions & visual supports create a total communication approach
  • How routines, schedules and rituals can be used to build predictability
  • Changes to school-work & activities to improve

Module 3: Setting Up An ASD-Friendly Environment 2.

  • Continuation of Module 2

Module 4: Considering Sensory Needs. Participants learn:

  • The impact of over-stimulation
  • Impact of under-stimulation
  • Consider sensations through all 7 senses through the prism of autism
  • Adaptations for students

Module 5: Teaching Skills Using Applied Behaviour Analysis. Participants will:

  • Be introduced to the fundamentals of teaching using ABA, DTT, NET
  • Consider the role of prompts and reinforcement
  • Consider & use task analysis as a method for teaching complex skill

Additional Resources Available With This Course:

Additional resources include lesson plans, classroom schedules, an ASD Guide, subject cards, and much more.

" Thank you for all your hard work. Course was excellent and comfortably the most interesting one I have done."

- Ms. Una Ryan

Your Instructor

Pádraig Walsh BCBA
Pádraig Walsh BCBA

Pádraig Walsh BA, MSc, BCBA, A.F.Ps.S.I. is Actualise Academy's Behaviour Specialist. He is intrigued by people, their behaviour and his expertise lies in helping people to understand why we do what we do. His range of knowledge and experience is diverse, working with both children and adults across educational, clinical and residential settings.

Pádraig qualified with a Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis after completing his degree in Psychology (both at NUI Galway). He has worked as a Behaviour Specialist for organisations across Ireland as well as working for 2 years in Melbourne, Australia as a consultant to an early intervention clinic for children. Pádraig has presented his research extensively at conferences on the effectiveness of Positive Behaviour Support in Ireland, Australia, Singapore and the UK. He is part of the MSc (ABA) interview panel at NUI Galway and also lectures on the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis in NUI Galway and on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in the University of Limerick.

Pádraig is the founder of the podcast series All About Dis' exploring disability issues in Ireland today. You can find the episodes on iTunes and on Soundcloud. Having spent most of his early life playing GAA in his native Westmeath, Pádraig has more recently discovered his artistic side performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his Improv group Kirsty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the Actualise Academy Courses approved by the DES for EPV days?
Yes, all 10 courses are approved for EPV days. The courses (20 hours) carry the entitlement of 3 EPV days for Primary Teachers.
Is there a limit to how many courses can I do for EPV days?
Yes, the DES has imposed a limit of 5 EPV days in any one year. This 5 day entitlement can be reached by doing any 3 of our courses: 1 ONLINE COURSE entitles you to claim 3 EPV DAYS 2 ONLINE COURSES entitles you to claim 4 EPV DAYS 3 ONLINE COURSES entitles you to claim 5 EPV DAYS
How much do the courses cost?
Courses cost €75 for one, €100 for two and €120 for three. If you pre-register and book early, or if you took one of our courses last year, you can avail of a €20 discount.
What are the course completion requirements? How much work is involved?
Courses are run online. Courses consist of a total of 20 hours each, with 20 hours of optional material and resources for you. There will be lots of complementary material for you online too. The course is divided into 5 modules x 4 hours each. Each module module breaks down into some hours of online work (lectures, MCQs) and some offline for self-directed learning (e.g. recommended videos, reading, etc.). You can do the course entirely at your own pace, and can even do it on mobile if you are on the move! Assessment of the course is as follows: 1. Multiple choice questions and short answer questions are interspersed through the 5 modules on each course, and are based on the content you will have just seen; 2. Each module requires a short reflective piece, asking you to think through how you will apply the material you have just learned to your own learning environment; 3. You must engage with the online forums for each course. Please note: You must must complete assignments for each module before moving to the next module.
When can I access my course?
All courses will be accessible from July to August 2019. Once you buy a place, you will be able to begin almost immediately.
How do I access my course?
Once you purchase a course, the material will be available to you almost immediately.
How do I deal with passwords/logins? I’m not very tech-savvy!
Our new platform is really simple to use, and the whole course runs automatically. It will pick up where you left off before, and it is really intuitive to use.
How much time is required of me?
All EPV courses must be scheduled for 20 hours. In our courses, only some of that time is online, and some is done in your own time offline. with optional work offline, We have also made sure there are lots of practical, complimentary resources available for you.
How will I get my certificate of completion?
Once you successfully complete the course, a certificate will be generated for you within a short time.

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