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Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis

Director of Training and Development, Geneva Centre for Autism

With the right training and tools, teachers can help students with autism spectrum disorder succeed at school.

“Next to parents, educators have the greatest opportunity to impact the lives of kids with autism,” says Andrew Davis, Director of Training and Development at the Geneva Centre for Autism. “Unfortunately, teachers’ college doesn’t train or prepare them.”

The Geneva Centre for Autism serves this need. It delivers clinical services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) while its learning and training division, Sonderly, runs online training in autism and applied behavioural analysis (ABA) geared towards educators.

Ensuring a smooth transition

Transitioning into the school system is a major milestone for any child. For children with ASD, the transition is even more challenging.

Children on the spectrum face many difficulties that can impact their school life. These include challenges with social communication and interaction, rigidity or the need for sameness and routine, anxiety, difficulties with cognitive functioning, trouble taking in directions, and sensory processing challenges.

ASD students’ challenges in transitioning smoothly into the school system put them at a disadvantage. Fortunately, parents and teachers can help close the gap, promoting successful inclusion and making a lifetime impact.

Empowering educators with practical tools

Teachers need support in understanding how children on the spectrum experience the world and how to communicate with them, so they don’t feel misunderstood or left out. Sonderly educates teachers and professionals to help empower individuals with ASD, and their families, to fully participate in their communities. It also understands that teachers want practical, effective tools that can be put to use in classroom settings — not just theoretical knowledge.

“We translate the latest clinical and academic information into something that’s meaningful and useful for teachers,” says Davis.

“Over the years, we’ve been able to marry our clinical and hands-on expertise with our knowledge of delivering training and workshops that are engaging,” Davis adds. “We constantly hear from educators that they’ve taken several courses on applied behaviour analysis and this is the first one that makes sense.”

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