Making Sense of Autism

Available Sessions
by Jim Sinclair

Protecting and Promoting One's Needs

Autistic individuals, direct support workers, parents of adolescents or adults.

    • Parent-Profesional Partnerships: Who's Missing in This Picture?

    • Objectives:

    • Orientation to Self-Advocacy

    • Objectives:

    • Premises, Promises & Perils of Support Relationships:Can Dignity and Dependency Co-Exist?

    • Objectives:
      • Develop awareness of the dynamics between autistic people and support people

      • Explore common issues that may lead to conflict and blurring of roles

      • Identify appropriate boundaries and role definitions to promote dignity and autonomy in the provision of support.

      Workshop 8 (Jim):
    • Autism, Culture, and Community

    • Objectives:
      • Learn about the cultural model of autism, and how it differs from deficit models.

      • Consider ways that various autistic characteristics influence how autistic people relate to others.

      • Learn about some of the ways autistic people relate to each other in Autistic community settings, and the Autistic culture that has begun to emerge from the creation of shared Autistic spaces.

      Workshop 2 (Jim):
    • Applying Multicultural Awareness when Working with Autistic People [for those working with Autistic People])
      • Explore practical applications of the cultural model in creating positive family, school, workplace, and community connections.

      • Learn to use the cultural model as a lens through which to seek understanding of conflicts leading to communication and behavioral difficulties.

      • [Note: This is a companion workshop to "Autism, Culture, and Community" designed for those who work with Autistic people]

      Workshop 3 (Jim):
    • A Culture of One? Being Autistic in an NT World [for Autistic people]

    • Objectives:
      • Explore implications of the cultural model in terms of how autistic people think about themselves and about the ways they are different from non-autistic people.

      • Consider whether some of the customs that have developed in Autistic communities might be useful in participants' lives.

      • Develop skills and confidence in negotiating cultural differences with neurotypical people.

      • Learn about opportunities to meet other autistic people and experience Autistic community.
      • [Note: This is a companion workshop to "Autism, Culture, and Community" designed for Autistic people]


The Roles of Advocates, Allies and Support People

Autistic individuals, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, educators, clinicians, caseworkers, and administrators.

    • [2 hours] "High-Functioning" vs. "Low-Functioning" Autism: What's the Difference, and What Difference Does it Make?

    • Objectives:
      • Identify and understand the various criteria that are used to classify people as "high-" or "low-functioning."

      • Explore how these criteria and classifications are manifested in the every day lives of autistic people.

      • Develop a realistic understanding of support needs, capabilities, and limitations of autistic people classified as "low-functioning" or "high-functioning."

    • Parent-Profesional Partnerships: Who's Missing in This Picture?

    • Objectives:

    • Orientation to Self-Advocacy

    • Work Skill Awareness and Advocacy for Autistic Adults

    • Objectives:

Increasing Understanding and Decreasing Stress

Autistic individuals and/or those who live and work with them.

    • Autistic self-awareness and understanding of one's social environment

    • Objectives:
      • Increase awareness of those autistic characteristics that one has, that may bring one into conflict with one's environment

      • Increase awareness of the norms and expectations of one's social environment

      • Develop strategies for accommodating one's needs and processing styles within one's environment.

    • Interpersonal interactions and relationships

    • Objectives:
      • Increase awareness of one's own needs and preferences regarding interactins and relationships

      • Learn skills for identifying and understanding other people's needs and preferences.

      • Learn skills for negotiating within relationships

      [Note: "The Nature and Functions of Rules, Boundaries, and Social Conventions" is strongly recommended as a companion session to this one.]

    • Communicating with Neurotypical People

    • Objectives:
      • Increase awareness of common communication behaviors of neurotypical people.

      • Identify how one's own autistic communication style differs from common neurotypical communication.

      • Develop skills for understanding and translating between one's own communication style and NT communication styles.

    • The Nature and Functions of Rules, Boundaries, and Social Conventions

    • Objectives:
      • Understand the differences between different types of social expectations.

      • Learn to identify one's own personal boundaries and the boundaries of other people.

      • Learn to make responsible decisions in asserting one's own boundaries and respecting others' boundaries.


Practical Skills for Working with Autistic Children

Parents, grandparents, respite care and habilitation workers, day care workers, babysitters, group home workers, education and support staff, administrators, staff trainers, recreational program leaders.

    • A Portable Communication Toolkit
      • What communication is--and what it is not

      • Simple strategies to enhance communication with autistic children

      • Common autistic communication characteristics, and how to work with them

    • Social Behavior and Boundaries

    • Objectives:
      • Common patterns of autistic social behavior

      • Understanding the functions of boundaries, rules, and social conventions in teaching and interacting with autistic children

    • Guiding Behavior Responsibly

    • Objectives:
      • Ethical principles and practical approaches for helping autistic children to develop responsible self-management

      • Different levels of behavioral intervention that may be used in different situations

    • Adapting Group Activities to Facilitate Inclusion

    • Objectives:
      • Identifying important characteristics of the child and the activity

      • Adapting activities to successfully include an autistic child

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If you are interested in scheduling a Making Sense of Autism Workshop for your group, please contact us at or mail or fax Request Form to Making Sense of Autism, PO Box 11937, Chandler, AZ 85248-11937, fax: 480-802-9104