UK National Autistic Society Begins Training and Consultancy in Malta

Tailor-made training for INCOs to start developing skills to help children with autism


Back in October, the UK National Autistic Society (NAS) conducted a scoping exercise in Malta in order to familiarise themselves with the education system in Malta and visit different schools from the three sectors to produce a tailor-made training programme for INCOs to help children with invisible disabilities. The training was attended by 45 INCOs from church, public and private schools in order to target the different needs required by different educational institutions in Malta. Following the general scoping session, which took place at the Luzzu Conference Centre in Qawra and at the Hilltop Gardens in Naxxar, the NAS returned to Malta to deliver tailor-made training in November at AX The Victoria Hotel and AX The Palace in Sliema.


“We are proud to have embarked on this important journey by taking a holistic approach to help our educators better understand how to provide adequate support to autistic children in our schools,” said Ms Claire Zammit Xuereb, Chairperson of AX Foundation. “The NAS have created a specific programme based on the key points that they noted during an intensive scoping phase, and will be delivering the necessary training to help make a change towards a better society.”


The NAS has been working closely with the AX Foundation and the Ministry of Education to equip educators with the necessary skill sets to help children on the autism spectrum, as part of the AX Foundation’s latest project aimed at fighting Invisible Disabilities.

During the scoping phase, which took place between the 3rd and 4th October 2019, the NAS held meetings with INCOs and education professionals to conduct interviews and questionnaires focused on the current understanding and confidence in supporting autistic students. On the second day, the NAS held one-to-one meetings with other professionals, educators, members of the community and parents to understand their experience of support that children are receiving. The scoping phase showed that INCOs possessed a good understanding of autism and a willingness to develop their skills sets, while LSEs and teachers often have a limited knowledge of autism. Thus, the NAS sought to curate a specific training programme based on their findings that INCOs require support to adapt the curriculum, provide education-specific strategies as a model for good autism practice, and improve communication between families and schools.


The tailor-made training programme took place on the 11th-13th November 2019, in the form of presentations, films, case studies, and other activities to encourage co-learning. The programme revolved around four themes; The Individual Pupil, Building Relationships, Curriculum and Learning, and Enabling Environments.


The NAS will be returning to Malta in March 2020, in order to implement the third phase of the training programme. Meanwhile, INCOs are using their newly-acquired skills to help train LSAs to provide better support to autistic children within the educational system. Step by step, this will help to pave the way for people on the autistic spectrum to become more understood within society, and help to defeat the stigma of Invisible Disabilities.

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