SuperValu and AsIAm launch autism-friendly learning resources for summer

SuperValu & AsIAm have launched an autism-friendly learning resource toolkit, developed with Mary Immaculate College. COVID-19 has posed challenges for every household in Ireland and for many autistic people, the loss of structure and routine has been particularly tough. While many have been struggling there are also many who find the lack of pressure to go to school, social events and everyday activities a relief. However, as people return to education re-establishing routines in settings that may have changed substantially will be a challenge. The Bridge Back to School learning resource has been developed to help those with high support needs prepare during the summer months to return to school in September.

20,000 of the resource booklets will be distributed to SuperValu stores nationwide and be available to pick up from Monday, July 6 in every store at identifiable points. The resource can also be accessed online from the SuperValu website. AsIAm worked in collaboration with Professor Emer Ring of Mary Immaculate College who has extensive experience in education including working with the Department of Education and Skills, as a primary mainstream class teacher and as learning & support resource, teacher to develop the resource. At the launch Professor Ring said, “Every person around the country has experienced some obstruction to their routine due to the pandemic, however many do not consider how the changes that may seem minor to some, can pose serious stress to others in their community.  Whilst we welcome the reopening of businesses and society, we must be mindful that this is not a simple transition for many people. This resource we have developed with SuperValu & AsIAm offers essential guidance for those with high support needs that will find the transition back to school a particular challenge.”

In developing the resources some of the most challenging elements of the current ever-changing circumstances which autistic students might find difficult to navigate were identified. The "Bridge Back to School”- An Autism-Friendly Learning Resource for Summer 2020 offers support and guidance in these areas as we move through the phases of reopening Ireland and will focus on:

1.           Sensory integration

2.           Preparing for the new year

3.           Dealing with worry and anxiety

4.           Explaining the “new normal”

5.           Social skills

6.           Self-regulation

7.           Use of visuals

8.           Clear communication

SuperValu is dedicated to making communities around Ireland more inclusive and is leading the way in autism friendly shopping by continuously raising understanding and awareness of autism among its customers and staff. Martin Kelleher Managing Director, SuperValu said “We are proud of the work we are doing to raise awareness of autism in all SuperValu communities around the country. SuperValu and AsIAm are committed to the journey of making our communities more autism friendly and inclusive of all members."

"We are delighted to partner with Mary Immaculate College and AsIAm to develop this resource from the experienced knowledge of a pool of experts. SuperValu recognises the challenges for families as they prepare for the return to school and hope that this useful and practical learning resource will be an essential support for them over the coming months. The resource will be available for all to pick up in their local SuperValu from Monday, July 6th.”

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