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Bridge Back to School

My blog published on Cobh News on 26th August 2020

2020 Bridge Back to School
Check out this link to this guide and even though you might feel an Autism Guide isn’t relevant for you or your family I think you WILL get something from taking a quick look at it…
How did I come across this?
In my voluntary work we work with such an authentic bunch of people and they are always motivating me along with their great input into our latest awareness campaign or something like “Avril did you see the latest thing I spotted when in Super Valu? Look at this..” as a recent example!
And on this occasion the “Look at this” was indeed this guide “Bridge Back to School”. Designed specifically to support students with an Autism diagnosis but the reality is the advice could be used by EVERYBODY!
When reading this guide it reminded me of:

  1. How much is involved in getting through a regular school day
  2. This is everything from vast mental planning to the number of physical transitions during the day
  3. How much can change during a “regular” school day
  4. The many considerations I (and maybe others but I do) take for granted that children have to deal with and they do such an incredible job of this; they are told what to do, where to go, how to behave , who to talk to etc.
    Children at all ages navigate their days with such grace it puts an adult to me to shame if I am honest. As an adult I get to be the boss most of the time. This is so much more freedom without question. This guide reminded me of what great beings children are and its usually done with minimal fuss and I give out about the occasional moaning? (note to self Avril – get a grip!).
    I would recommend any parent to take a look at this guide. Its great as an overall reminder of what to be aware of in supporting your family in the transition back to school.
    And what about Autism? In my view it does a great job of reminding us of BACK TO BASICS. Look at the very basics of what we need to do to get through our day, then think about what you and others might need to get through the day in the best way for YOU.
    Autism on this occasion has given us a supportive bridge in driving the need for this preparation guide.
    Thank you to the As I Am Team, Super Valu and the research team at Mary Immaculate College.

SuperValu & AsIAm are delighted to announce the launch of a learning resource toolkit, developed with Mary Immaculate College. Covid-19 has posed challenges for every household in Ireland and for many autistic people, the loss of structure and routine has been particularly tough. While many have been struggling there are also many who find the lack of pressure to go to school, social events and everyday activities a relief. However, as people return to education re-establishing routines in settings that may have changed substantially will be a challenge. The Bridge Back to School learning resource has been developed to help those with high support needs prepare during the summer months to return to school in September.

20,000 of the resource booklets will be distributed to SuperValu stores nationwide and be available to pick up from Monday, July 6th in every store at identifiable points. The resource can also be accessed online from the SuperValu website. AsIAm worked in collaboration with Professor Emer Ring of Mary Immaculate College who has extensive experience in education including working with the Department of Education and Skills, as a primary mainstream class teacher and as learning & support resource, teacher to develop the resource. At the launch Professor Ring said, “Every person around the country has experienced some obstruction to their routine due to the pandemic, however many do not consider how the changes that may seem minor to some, can pose serious stress to others in their community.  Whilst we welcome the reopening of businesses and society, we must be mindful that this is not a simple transition for many people. This resource we have developed with SuperValu & AsIAm offers essential guidance for those with high support needs that will find the transition back to school a particular challenge.”

CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris said, “Not only have the changes in routine and lack of support been a challenge for autistic students but re-establishing routine will be just as challenging. The summer months present an important opportunity for Summer Provision facilitators and family members to help prepare children for the transition back to education in September, but materials and guidance are needed to do so. The Bridge Back to School resource we’re launching today will support a young person to understand, prepare and manage the return to school.”

Link to the book and additional activities

  • The book can be downloaded here


Additional activity sheets for the following areas can be downloaded at the links below:

  • Strength based approach: here
  • Transition back to school: here  
  • Executive Functioning: here
  • Communication and Social Skills: here
  • Self-regulation – Sensory and Emotional: here
  • Motor skills: here
  • Self Care: here


Additional resources can be downloaded here

The bibliography for the book can be downloaded here

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