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Certificate in Autistic Wellbeing for Autistics 

If you are an Australian Autistic adult who is passionate about embarking on, or strengthening your existing, advocacy for the Autistic community, with a focus on organic, authentic Autistic wellbeing, this course is a perfect choice for you. 

The Certificate in Autistic Wellbeing for Autistics is an intensive but practical and rewarding course consisting of 8 Modules, covering various aspects of Autistic lived experience which impact on Autistic flourishing and wellbeing. It is aimed at Autistic adults who want to work for and with their Autistic community, whilst enhancing their own personal wellbeing. 

Unlike other courses offered on Autism, Reframing Autism’s Certificate in Autistic Wellbeing is run by Autistics for Autistics. It is not only information-rich, but actively centres Autistic experience as meaningful, and approaches Autism from a perspective of building broad and genuine wellbeing for the whole Autistic community. During the Certificate, then, you will have access both to academic research, as well as to other Autistic lived expertise, which is considered as equally – if not more – valuable and valued as peer-reviewed academic literature. You will have access to Autistic facilitators and their experiential knowledge, and you will have many opportunities to interact with your Autistic peers.

Awarded by: Reframing Autism

Delivery: Online

Duration: 8 weeks, 10-12 hours per week

Qualification: Certificate

Price: FREE

Start Date: September 27, 2021 

Applications for this course are due by COB Monday August 16, 2021. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications by Monday August 30, 2021.

Build your own self-knowledge and launch your advocacy career through this online Certificate in Autistic Wellbeing for Autistics from Reframing Autism. 

This Certificate is suited for emerging advocates and Autistic adults who are looking for the foundational skills and knowledge to understand their own Autistic identity, and to apply that knowledge to improving the lives of Autistic individuals of all ages and their families. It is best suited to those who are new or early in their advocacy journeys. 

In this 8-week intensive course, you will build the theoretical and scientific knowledge, as well as the practical application, to support your Autistic neurokindred to fulfil the conditions necessary for wellbeing in ways that are Autistically organic, respectful, and culturally sensitive. This Certificate will thus foster your own advocacy skills and empower you to use those skills to help the Autistic community to experience acceptance, authenticity, autonomy and inclusion. 

Through this online course – developed, designed, convened, presented and facilitated by an all-Autistic team – you’ll learn how to help Autistic individuals across support and communication needs in respectful and uplifting ways that actively build their – and your – wellbeing, using best practices endorsed by the Autistic community as well as innovative Autism research. Your learning will be grounded in neuroscience and positive psychology, within the overarching frame of the neurodiversity paradigm. 

Delivered online for flexible learning, this course will take between 80 and 100 hours of intensive learning. You’ll complete this course ready to embrace your own Autistic identity and to make a genuine difference to Autistic lives. 

The Certificate in Autistic Wellbeing is specifically for Autistic individuals, whether formally or self-identified. If you are an Autistic adult over 18 years of age living in Australia, you are welcome to apply to the Certificate.  

The only other prerequisite for this Certificate is a commitment to Reframing Autism’s core values of respect, accept, embrace and empower through gentle influence. Reframing Autism has a commitment to respecting diversity across intersectional and marginalised minorities and to providing a safe space for everyone; all participants in the Certificate will be expected to interact respectfully and courteously with their peers, regardless of sexuality, gender, race, religion, communication and support needs, culture, disability, or any other intersectionality.  

In this 8-week course, you will study the following subjects: 

  1. A shared understanding 

This module will establish a shared understanding with which to progress through the remainder of the course. We will thus cover the topics of person-first and identity-first language, a sociology of diagnosis and its application to the DSM 5, an Autistic experiential definition of Autism, neurodiversity, social identity theory, and the importance of acceptance, authenticity and autonomy.  

  1. The brain 

This module builds the scientific basis for the course. It is an introduction to the neurobiology of Autism and will address brain structure, Autistic neuroanatomy, Autistic brain hyper- and hypoconnectivity, intrinsic neural timescales, interpersonal neurobiology, models of attachment, and trauma’s impact on the brain. 

  1. Autistic communication 

In this module, we rethink the basics of communication and introduce the concept of non-traditional communication and non-traditional approaches to communication. By examining Autistic body language, stimming, prosody, echolalia, complex communication needs, facilitated communication and social pragmatics, we will reframe what communication is and what marks its success. 

  1. Emotional regulation 

This week we look at the relationship between Autistic behaviours and emotional regulation. To that end, we examine the differences between tantrums, meltdowns, shutdowns, burnout, and overwhelm (including sensory and social overload). We then consider behaviours within the frame of “can’t” or “won’t”, and discuss the issues with pathologising Autistic behaviours as challenging or problematic. This module also addresses self-regulation, co-regulation, PDA, anxiety and inertia. 

  1. Parenting and education 

Our parenting and education module will give participants the skills to advocate directly with the families of, and institutions involved with, Autistic individuals across the lifespan. This module recognises that wellbeing begins at home, with educational inclusion another significant factor in Autistic flourishing (or lack thereof). Thus, this module has a focus on making meaningful connections through unconditional love, parenting for happiness, establishing attachment relationships, inclusion, and understanding the double-empathy problem. We then look at respectful interactions through examining Autistic social skills, motivation and goal-setting. 

  1. Radical intersectionality 

In this module we consider the theory of intersectionality, and its relevance to disability studies and the Autistic community. Through engaging with the lived experience knowledge of Autistic adults who live as multiply marginalised, we will discuss how intersectionality impacts Autistic lives and how an understanding of intersectionality can lead to radical emancipation and disability justice. 

  1. Positive psychology 

Positive psychology is the focus of our penultimate module. We will look at the theory of PERMA, character strengths, flow, and post-traumatic growth, and we will apply these positive psychology principles to you and to the Autistic community more broadly. We will also consider the ways in which positive psychology as a field can benefit the Autistic community. 

  1. Facilitation 

Our final module addresses facilitation and the ways that you can work with allies and families to make a difference for your Autistic neurokindred. Beginning with an examination of person-centred facilitation, we will consider holding space, goal-setting and public speaking to give you the skills to translate your knowledge into compelling teaching for others. In this module we will also briefly touch on your legal responsibilities in terms of child and vulnerable person protection if you choose to go on to work with the Autistic community.  

The course objectives include to: 

  • Create a shared understanding of the Autistic experience and its neurological underpinnings, 
  • Build participants’ capacity to understand and apply academic research meaningfully to their advocacy, 
  • Understand the key necessary conditions to foster Autistic wellbeing and thriving, and 
  • Explore the frameworks of neuroscience and positive-psychology from a strengths-based, pro-neurodiversity paradigm to counter pathologised, stigmatising narratives. 

Reframing Autism in an Australian Autistic-led and staffed not-for-profit charity organisation, which aims to disrupt the status quo for the Autistic community by providing Autistic-led research, therapies, and education. Thus, this Certificate has been created and endorsed by the Autistic community with input from Autistic individuals from across a diversity of communication and support needs. 

This Certificate will foster your transferable employability skills, building generic skills with applicability across a multiple of jobs and contexts, including communication skills, people-related skills, conceptual and thinking skills, personal skills and attributes, and community-mindedness.

Reframing Autism is committed to supporting advocates to understand the advocacy avenue best suited to their interest and skills, and we hope all successful graduates leave the Certificate with a strong sense of their advocacy purpose. Additionally, Reframing Autism is constantly searching for new Autistic contractors (bloggers, presenters, podcast guests) and employees to deliver our programs and support us in our mission. Please note that undertaking this Certificate is not a guarantee or prerequisite of employment with Reframing Autism.

This course is offered free to Autistic adults (whether formally identified or self-identifying) over 18 years of age, residing in Australia. 

Reframing Autism is a registered charity, with funding administered by the Department of Social Security to subsidise our costs so that we can offer this Certificate to the Autistic community free of charge.  

A version of this course will be available for families of Autistic individuals and for professionals working with Autistic individuals, both of which are fee-paying. 

If we haven’t answered your question here, please contact Sharon Fraser who will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Applications for this course are due by COB Monday August 16, 2021. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications by Monday August 30, 2021.

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