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Twilight Talks Research Series: Do you understand, or do you just listen? – Co-producing research in Specialist (Autism) Mentoring

  • Online
  • 12 Jun 2024 (16:00 - 17:00)
Research Series
Live Webinar
Twilight Talks

Session delivered by Dr Brian Irvine from Institute of Education, UCL’s faculty for Education and Society

Universities in the UK have seen a remarkable increase in the number of autistic students, with some 18,800+ in attendance. More than half receive funding for Specialist (Autism) Mentoring to “remove barriers to learning”. Until recently, little research has looked at what this mentoring entails and how it may join up with students’ experience of SEND provision.

In developing a framework for mentoring practice, students acted as autistic hypotheses, asking the questions that they wanted to see answered. These questions became the scaffold to analyse the diaries of 28 mentors, of whom 8 themselves were autistic. From this work, a Framework of Reframing was co-produced with an autistic-majority forum of master mentors.

Perhaps the model of mentoring that was constructed has use beyond HE. Specialist (Autism) Mentoring seems to work in three modes: diagnostic framing, the joys and problems of institutions; prognostic framing, how to develop strategies and workarounds; and motivational framing, having someone there for you. Through the nurturing of advocacy autistic students are not simply inducted into institutional culture, they are equipped to change it.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Gain a wider view of many students’ journeys into HE; perhaps even some insight on how to help prepare your own students for university life.
  2. Have time to consider the impact of research that is directed by questions from those in the groups themselves.
  3. Have a model of reflexive mentoring that may be of use in other educational settings.

To view other events in the research series, please visit our dedicated page.

Suitable for: A parent/carer, Administration Staff, Assistant Head Teacher, Consultant, Deputy Head Teacher, Early Years Practitioner, Education psychologist, Head Teacher, Inclusion Manager/Leader, Newly Qualified Teacher, Senior Leader, Support staff, Teacher, Teaching Assistant

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Meet your trainer

Dr Brian Irvine

Dr Brian Irvine works at UCL at CRAE, the Centre of Research in Autism and Education. There he works as an Early Career Researcher on the ESRC funded Superior Perceptual Capacity in Autism, SUPER. For his doctoral thesis at the University of Birmingham he investigated Specialist (Autism) Mentoring in UK Higher Education. Over the last decade he was a mentor himself, where he had had the pleasure of regular meetings with many brilliant students as they journeyed through their university life. He has a background as a teacher in a primary school inclusion provision and – last century – was Head of Philosophy and Religious Education at a secondary modern school.

For fun, he keeps bees, as it guarantees not being interrupted for a few hours. Twitter: @BigBadBee

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