An evaluation of a short training course on autism for preschool personnel

Summary
A 10-hour training course on autism was devised and evaluated with a self-selected group of 62 preschool personnel from a range of facilities. It aimed to enhance participant’s knowledge about autism and of the intervention strategies that are effective in assisting young children with this condition to communicate and interact with others as well as structuring their learning through play and more formal tasks.
The course was well received by the participants who three months later had implemented much of the advice given on the course. Course participants appeared more willing to enroll children with autistic spectrum disorders in their groups although a minority did express some reservations.
A resource pack for tutors has been prepared so that similar courses can be delivered elsewhere in the future. Issues relating to the provision of in-service training courses for preschool personnel are discussed.