Today I especially welcome the students of the London Post Graduate Certificate in Autism and Asperger’s. I write this the night before the last day of the course, when I am scheduled to present. Sadly, I have been suffering with a chronic chest infection for a week already and I am in no fit state to travel to London right now. Therefore I have had to speak to Dr Luke Beardon, Course Director and we have mutually agreed I won’t travel this time. By the time I publish this, you will have just finished and be about to leave for home after three days of intensive work.
I love to present to this course and have been doing so for some years. The course literally (I don’t use this word lightly) changed my life. It was at the course, during the sensory lecture especially, that I had a lightbulb moment and realised that my darling husband had Asperger’s. So much of what was being said was relevant to him. After some time for both of us to adjust to this possibility, he sought clinical diagnosis. A few months later and I started my doctorate at Sheffield Hallam; it apparently became clear to many that I might also have the syndrome. Later that year I was also diagnosed.
This course for me involved three separate trips to Hertfordshire (192 miles round trip), followed by two papers of based on research and literature reviews. The course opened my eyes to the good, the bad and the ugly of autism and even more of the attitudes others have towards it. It enabled me to really look at my teaching, to listen to my students and to explore the autistic teacher’s experiences as well. It was a good grounding for me to move onto my EdD, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As you finish your teaching day, and leave your new found group ‘siblings’ (thanks Jenni for the phrase I know you use for your fellow autistics) ready to go off and get on with your research, may I give you a few tips from experience?
- Be really clear about what you want to research, and think how it may fit into any future study (Masters and beyond).
- Type up your references as you go – we always think it will be quick to gather them at the end, but believe me… IT ISN’T and there is always one missing which will take you hours to find!
- Take note of the list I offered in the second of my presentation slides within your pack. This is so important when considering, working with, researching or writing about us autists ( I hate both terms of aspies and auties). (Apologies, the rest of the slides were not offered as it would have given my game away; as it turned out this was futile).
- Read as much as you can around your subject. If you happen to be researching any kind of sport, physical activity or martial arts, my third slide may be of use. Also consider my doctoral thesis which uses ethnography, reflective practice and auto-ethnography as research methods. The link to this is on my website.
- Use Blackboard. I found it really useful but was so frustrated that it was only utilised by a few. As a distance learning course, I really needed to debate certain issues with someone in the know, and there never seemed to be anyone else available.
- If you have questions, are unsure, or need support and advice, contact your tutor without fear or anxiety.
- Enjoy the process.
I am so sorry I wasn’t able to be there for you today. You are very welcome to contact me if you have questions, comments or just need to sound off about an aspect of your study. You can find me via this blog, of course; my website www.theautisticvoice.co.uk; twitter @Beale/Ellis or Facebook www.facebook.com/theautisticvoice. All of these links are on my website as well.
Hope to ‘see you’ here soon
Until next time…