Autism Spectrum Interviewing & Communications Skills Training – More Information

Having to communicate with a professional can be a challenge for a person with an autistic spectrum condition (ASC) and the professional concerned. The duties and obligations placed on public authorities to educate their staff about autism and, in turn, ensure that their staff can communicate effectively with individuals with ASC’s, are underpinned by way of primary legislation such as the Autism Act 2009, The Care Act 2014 and the Equality Act 2010.

This four day course aims to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the Autistic Spectrum Condition and the skills to communicate more effectively with individuals with an ASC. Although primarily directed at individuals who will be required to interview people with autism for evidential purposes, this course will also provide a valuable insight and skills to other professionals who are required in their professional role to communicate with individuals with an ASC.

The course explains autism in detail looking at the condition’s psychological theories and its epidemiology. It explains the various different types of autism conditions, their clinical features and the communication issues that are typically associated with them. More importantly it will provide communication strategies that will enhance the communication skills of the participants.

The course continues its journey looking at the interaction between people with an ASC and the criminal justice process before moving into the area of memory function and investigative interviewing techniques, covering issues such as the PEACE framework, conversation management and cognitive interviewing.

Each participant will be required to conduct an interview with an actor in a role play scenario on the last day of the course. Each interview will be reviewed by the Trainer with detailed individual written feedback provided.

On completion of the course each participant will be awarded a certificate of attendance.

Information about this course

Training will take place in Manchester at the Holiday Inn Express Manchester TRAFFORDCITY. View Website

Price: £770
(Incl. refreshment and buffet lunch)

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Aims

To provide participants with an understanding of autism and the ability to adapt their communication style, therefore improving their communication skills with people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition.

Objectives

By the end of the training the participants will be able to;

  • State the different types of Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Describe the common psychological theories and communication features associated with Autism
  • Display an awareness of the current epidemiology of the autistic condition
  • Explain the relationship between autism and the criminal justice system
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the memory process
  • Describe all the elements of the PEACE framework of interviewing
  • State the principles relating to interviewing autistic victims and witnesses in accordance with the Youth
  • Justice & Criminal Evidence Act 1999 and Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings
  • Describe and demonstrate the preferred methods of interviewing an autistic interviewee

Course Outline

Day 1

09.00: Opening Remarks & Introductions
10.45: An introduction to the Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)

  • What is the Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)
  • The triad of impairments
  • Sensory Sensitivity
  • Psychological Theories underpinning ASC’s:
 Theory of Mind, Executive Functioning and Central Coherence
  • The term ‘Pervasive Developmental Disorder’
  • Kanner’s (Classic) Autism
 Clinical features including communication, motor co-ordination and sensory issues
  • Savant Syndrome
  • Asperger Syndrome: 
Clinical features including onset recognition, social deficits, communication and obsessive interests and literal interpretation

12.15:An introduction to the Autistic Spectrum Condition (continued)

  • Prevalence and Diagnosis
  • Diagnostics manuals (ICD10, DSM 5) and tools (DISCO, ADI-R, ADOS)
  • Is Autism more prevalent in Males?
  • Autism: Women and Girls
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Premature Mortality
  • Stimming
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) 
Characteristics and Communication Strategies
  • Contrasting with Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Meltdowns
  • Co-occurring Conditions

13.00: Lunch
14.00: Autism and the Criminal Justice System

  • Autism and being a victim/witness to a crime

15.15: Refreshment Break
15.30: Autism and the Criminal Justice System (cont.)

  • Autism and criminality
  • Experiences of people with ASC’s coming into contact with the police
  • How autistic traits may bring people with ASC’s into contact with the police
  • Police misinterpreting autistic behaviours
  • People with ASC’s – detention and custody issues
  • Improving the way police deal with people with ASC’s

16.45: Questions arising from the day
17.00: Finish for the day

Day 2

09.00: Any issues arising from the previous day

09.15: The Importance of Planning and Preparation for Forensic Interviews

  • Location of interviews (unfamiliar locations, presence of stimuli including noise, colours and smells)
  • Eye contact
  • Avoiding physical contact
  • Attention span and the need for breaks
  • Preferred names within the interview
  • The use of sketches
  • Interviewee behaviour
  • Interviewer behaviour
  • Early identification of needs
  • Sources of information including family members, professionals and the interviewee themselves
  • Keeping the interviewee informed of what’s going to happen and what is expected of them
  • Interruptions
  • Questioning styles
  • Pre-visits to interview location
  • Interview supporters
  • Appropriate Adults
  • Registered Intermediaries
  • Co-morbidities

10.45: The Memory Process and Autism

  • Why an Investigative Interviewer needs to know about the memory process
  • Declarative and Non declarative memory function
  • Memory, storage and retrieval
  • The Autistic Memory and its ability to recall events. What does the psychological research tell us?

13.15: Lunch

14.00 Investigative Interviewing with Autism in Mind

  • Receptive communication issues of people with ASC’s
  • Expressive Communication issues of people with ASC’s
  • Social Interaction issues of people with ASC’s
  • Meltdowns
  • The Enhanced Cognitive Interview model and its limitations within an interview of a person with ASC
  • Free recall and open questions and their limitations within an interview of an autistic interviewee
  • The advantage of specific closed questions
  • Avoidance of leading, closed, choice, repeat and multiple questions
  • Summarising an autistic interviewees account – the forensic implications

16.50 Questions arising from the day
17.00 Finish for the day

Day 3

09.00: Any issues arising from the previous day
09.15: Investigative Interviewing with Autism in Mind (cont)

  • A Structured Interview approach
  • Conversation Management
  • Enhancing the communication process with someone with an ASC

12.00 Lunch
14.00 Role Play Scenarios – Planning and Preparation
17.00 Finish for the day

Day 4

Witness Interview Role Plays

All students will conduct an interview of a professionally trained actor performing the part of an autistic witness. The students will be required to use techniques highlighted on the course and to take regard of details provided within their planning and preparation packs. Trainer and peer feedback will be provided after each interview and written feedback supplied to each student in due course

09.00: Role Plays and Feedback

10.30: Refreshment Break

10.45: Role Plays and Feedback

12.15: Lunch

13.00: Role Plays and Feedback

14.30: Refreshment Break

14.45: Role Plays and Feedback

17.00 : Finish for Day and Course Closure

Underpinning Legislation

The Autism Act 2009

The Autism Act 2009 was the first ever disability-specific law in England. The Act placed a duty on the Government to produce statutory guidance for local councils and local health bodies on implementing an adult autism strategy to make sure that autistic adults get the help that they need. The government has published statutory guidance to assist local authorities, NHS bodies and NHS Foundation Trusts what actions should be taken to meet the needs of autistic people living in their area.

In March 2015 the government published new statutory guidance that included how these agencies should provide:

  • Autism Awareness Training for all staff
  • Specialist autism training for key staff, such as GPs and community care assessors.
  • As the guidance is statutory, local councils and local health bodies have a legal duty to implement it.

The Equality Act 2010

People with autism are covered under S6(1) of the act which states that a protected characteristic will include someone who has; ‘A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities’

Under the Equality Act 2010, public authorities (including the police and NCS) are required to meet the three aims of the general equality duty, namely to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by or under the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it.

Under the Equality Act 2010, public authorities are required to meet the three aims of the general equality duty, namely to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by or under the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it.