Positive Sensory Approaches for Autism

Sensory Autism
For individuals with autism who are sensory ‘seekers’ or sensory ‘avoiders,’ we share how to develop positive sensory environments to promote engagement & learning.
See the advertising movie at the bottom of this page…
With Richard Hirstwood & Chris Barson.

This practical day with Richard and Chris will explore sensory issues and autism in depth.  We’ll share a range of ideas & approaches, which will enable you to create sensory activities and environments that will build on the individual’s learning strengths. We’ll base these on evidence gained from sensory investigation and profiling, so that your strategies are appropriately focused and recordable.  You’ll leave with a range of multi sensory ideas that you will be able to use to promote attention, engagement, learning and communication.

Learning outcomes

How to –

  • investigate, profile and plan for an individual’s sensory needs
  • create an individualised ‘sensory diet’
  • design your sensory room/space for individuals with autism
  • modify/manipulate the sensory environment to promote active learning
  • create a ‘toolkit’ of multi sensory ideas & activities – from expensive to cheap & cheerful
  • use mobile technology to achieve ‘real’ engagement
  • interpret a pattern of behaviours within a sensory context
  • identify learning preferences
  • introduce practical activities to help individual’s self regulate sensory input
Who will be presenting?

Richard Hirstwood is a motivational and accomplished international presenter in the field of sensory learning.  His twenty five years of  experience is based upon practical knowledge – giving him the insight into what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t in multi sensory practice.

Chris Barson founded Positive About Autism in January 2009. Prior to that, Chris was External Training Manager for the National Autistic Society and has a long involvement with disability and autism.

Why ‘Positive Sensory Approaches to Autism’?

When working with folk on the spectrum it soon becomes obvious that  we have individuals whose sensory system works too well and those whose sensory systems doesn’t work well enough! The first kind of problem tends to lead to ‘sensory avoiding’ behaviour and the second, ‘sensory seeking’ behaviour. On the course we will look at how to protect individuals with autism from sensory stuff that they just can’t handle, and how to build a positive programme of sensory inputs that help with attention, relaxation and above all, learning.

There’s increasing evidence that the sensory differences in autism are experienced right across the spectrum and can in fact be the biggest part of a persons autism. So come on the course and learn all about the latest theories and what they might mean for the person with autism you know.

Sensory therapies, sensory learning and sensory fun are part of a growing toolkit that therapists, teachers and parents can use to get the best possible outcomes for young people and adults on the spectrum. On the course we’ll show you how to investigate, profile and plan for sensory needs so that you can tailor great sensory experiences for all the individuals you work with.

What do you do with a bubble tube? It’s not a silly question. We’ve all got sensory kit and even sensory rooms that we are not sure how to get the best out of. Well the course will inform, inspire and instruct you in best multi-sensory practice.

Ever get stuck for multi-sensory ideas? We are going to show you how to create great sensory opportunities with the cheapest and easiest to find sensory resources.

What about ipads? Yeah, got one of those. Or even lots of those. But what’s the way to use them with young people and adults with autism? What shouldn’t they be used for? How do we use the iPad to get real, synchronous engagement with us, rather than just a “tune out”? Apps for sensory fun and exploration, apps for learning about faces, apps for getting used to the stuff that drives me nuts! We’ll show you them all. Well some of them!

When and where?

Manchester –  21 November 2016

Redbank House,
4 St.Chad’s Street,

Venue phone number 0161 214 5959

London –  25 November 2016


Society Building
8 All Saints Street
N1 9RL

Venue phone number 020 7520 2404

Who Should attend?

This will be appropriate for colleagues from special schools, mainstream schools, EYFS services and adult provision.

Course notes?

All pertinent presentations & movies from the day will be available to you on our website to continue your learning journey long after the training has finished!

Times & housekeeping?

The day begins from 9am for coffee and registration, with the course starting at 9.30am. We will finish around 3.30pm. All refreshments & a lovely lunch will be provided.


The course costs £245 plus VAT per place, including lunch & all refreshments.