I Am Me - Staff Blog
We have just finished our latest programme of I Am Me - a 6 week programme aimed at secondary aged young people to explore their knowledge, thoughts and feelings around their diagnosis, think about the brilliant strengths they have and think about some strategies for dealing with friendships, emotional regulation and managing anxiety.
The latest course was led by our Chief Executive, Angie, who developed the course six years ago now! The course has developed over time and we are always keen to encourage as many of our staff team to get involved in learning to facilitate the course. So, for this programme Angie was joined by Lisa, from our Young Adult team and Elaine, our Community Development Manager. Lisa and Elaine wanted to share their experiences of learning to facilitate a new programme, so ladies it's over to you!
"This term we have had the great opportunity to help deliver the I Am Me course. This is a course aimed at secondary aged young people with a diagnosis of Autism and runs for 6 weeks. This is the first time we have been a part of delivering this course, therefore we didn’t really know what to expect.
We had a sit down beforehand as a staff team and planned what we were going to be doing. We were as prepared as we could be. Each young person attending had filled out information about themselves and we familiarised ourselves with what they were looking to get out of the course.
The first week is all about getting to know each other and finding our feet together as a group. We played different games, testing out our drawing skills, which some staff members may have found a little bit tricky but it was ok as we were able to laugh together about it and it probably broke the ice a little bit more. We played games like the ‘M&M’ game which let us find out a little bit more about each other. At the end of the first week we were both really happy about how it went and any worries we had around delivering the course were completely eased. This was going to be a great 6 weeks.
The weeks following we covered topics around friendships, emotions, facts about autism, what they know and don’t know about others with autism. We played different games each week, which naming no names some staff members got a little bit competitive at (don't have a clue who they mean - Angie).
This was a great group of young people who engaged with every task we gave them, even with us trialling a new online tool and having moments of technical difficulties. As staff members we felt we have learnt loads individually as well as noticing ‘lightbulb’ moments when something clicks in with the young person.
Now we are at the end of the 6 weeks and it is time to celebrate. The young people decide what they would like to do. On this occasion they chose to have a games and pizza night. Although everyone except Lisa agreed that pineapple does not belong on pizza!
We celebrated each of them individually and made plans around what they could do next at PAS.
They were a fantastic group to work with for our first experience of I Am Me, and with them being so open and honest we were able to get to know them all on an individual basis. We are all looking forward to seeing the next steps in their journey to adulthood. We are all going to miss our Wednesday evenings together however we hope to see them all in different groups at PAS."
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