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Learning Together, Working Together? Charlene Tait Background. Multi-professional Postgraduate Study in autism (ASD) Established 1998 Campus and outreach delivery 500 + participants to date.

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Learning Together, Working Together?

Charlene Tait

  • Multi-professional Postgraduate Study in autism (ASD)
  • Established 1998
  • Campus and outreach delivery
  • 500 + participants to date
  • Shift towards multi-professional working and training
  • Development of National Training Framework for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Mackay & Dunlop 2004)
  • Policy flow & legislative drivers
  • The broader issue of inclusion ( Florian 1998)
  • Diverse needs of student body
  • Range of experience of working with individuals with ASD
  • Addressing needs of practitioners working with people across the lifespan
  • Previous experience (or lack of experience ) of Multi-professional working
  • Collaborative learning (Gokhale 1995)
  • Development of common knowledge & common professional goals (Hutchings & Feaver 2002)
  • Overcoming professional misconceptions
  • Development of individual professional role
  • Peers living with ASD
approaches to teaching learning in a multi professional context concepts
Approaches to Teaching & Learning in a Multi-professional Context - Concepts
  • Ethos – Surrender the “expert” label but own your expertise
  • Commit to knowledge exchange
  • Reflect on roles – Teacher? Learner?
  • Acknowledge the need for professional socialization (Wood 2000)
  • Cultivate collaboration - core
  • Social Constructivist “leanings”
approaches to teaching learning in a multi professional context practice
Approaches to Teaching & Learning in a Multi-professional Context - Practice
  • Action Learning Sets– case based collaborative tasks
  • Peer Critique
  • Workshop approaches – task based work
  • Student directed work – learners as teachers – “Co-educators”
  • Time to talk
  • Supported by a multi-professional teaching team
student perceptions learning into practice
Student Perceptions – Learning into Practice

I am confident in discussions with colleagues from various disciplines with regard to my knowledge about ASD and in suggesting various strategies”

Learning Disabilities Nurse

“Multi- Professional opportunities enhance greater understanding of support in different contexts”

Speech & Language Therapist

“... People come to me, even psychiatrists will come because they don’t know. I have referred people on for diagnosis, I recognise people coming in who have ASD”

Learning Disabilities Nurse

“… I needed general knowledge of ASD. The course helped me keep up with current research, I gained from the multi-professional dimension. It has changed aspects of my practice, I have developed as a professional… I have realised what kind of professional I want to be, there is not just one methodology, you need

to look at the bigger picture”

“All aspects (of knowledge and practice) needed developed. I had a little knowledge of Asperger’s syndrome from reading. It was vital that I did the course; I needed an understanding of ASD. It has all had an impact…the biggest thing is working with parents, listening to their point of view. It made me review the way I dealt with parents.”


student perceptions learning and the lived experience of families
Student Perceptions – Learning and the lived experience of families

“I have increased my understanding of professional perspectives. The idea of a multi-professional, multi-agency team; you don’t really feel part of that as a parent. Now I feel I could be, I am more confident. I didn’t think I lacked confidence but now that it has increased I see that I did”

“I am not taking it personally anymore…I can see where he is coming from. I understand the psychology of it more”

“…I feel what I have to say is said with emotion, I am not just saying something that happens, there is a lot of feeling…there is a family, it is quite involved, there is pain, there is hurt…”

“…I see other parents fighting professionals all the time and I want to say, don’t do that. I know this is part of the guilt, I can see that process. Because I have been in the team with all the professionals I feel I can see the bigger picture. I can see it from both sides not just as a parent.”
learning impact on strategic planning
Learning – Impact on strategic planning

Aberdeenshire Model:

  • Course embedded in education authority ASD strategy
  • Strong commitment to parental participation
  • Development of local networks – Paired graduates supporting local initiatives
  • E.g. support groups, training
reflections conclusions
Reflections & Conclusions
  • Reflect on terminology? Shift from multi-professional to inter professional- emphasis on participation rather than presence
  • Facilitation of “corporate” shift in thinking – individual construction of knowledge can lead to shared
  • Process is crucial – content is the vehicle
  • Timing of exposure – professional socialization, collaborative practice
Value of “stakeholder” involvement
  • Need for more detailed “Impact” research – perceptions of the consumers of services
  • Transfer of principles into CPD, staff development and pre-service training

Florian, L. (1998) Inclusive Practice What, why, and how? In C Tilstone, L Florian & R Rose (Eds) Promoting Inclusive Practice. London: Routledge Falmer

Gokhale, A. (1995) Collaborative learning enhances critical thinking. Journal of Technology Education.7: 22 – 30.

Hutching, S. Feaver, S (2002) “Wedded”, “Bedded”, or “Simply Flirting” Teaching Forum.50:9 – 11

Mackay, T. & Dunlop, A W (2004) The Development of a National Training Framework For Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Glasgow: National Autistic Society

Wood, D F (2000) Inter –professional Education – Still More Questions than Answers? Medical Education 2001:35: 816