SuperValu and AsIAm launch ‘Bridge Back to School’ learning resource

Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm, with James Moriarty of SuperValu Skerries, launching the 'Bridge Back to School' learning resource

Autism-friendly Bridge Back to School resource available in SuperValu stores nationwide from 6 July

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3 July 2020 | 0

SuperValu and AsIAm have launched a learning resource toolkit, developed with Mary Immaculate College, in order to help those with high support needs prepare during the summer months to return to school in September.

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.

20,000 ‘Bridge Back to School’ resource booklets will be distributed to SuperValu stores nationwide and will be available to pick up from Monday, 6 July in every store at identifiable points. The resource can also be accessed online from the SuperValu website.

Essential guidance from experts

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.

“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,” said Profesor Ring.

“Whilst we welcome the reopening of businesses and society, we must be mindful that this is not a simple transition for many people,” she added. “This resource we have developed with SuperValu and AsIAm offers essential guidance for those with high support needs that will find the transition back to school a particular challenge.”

“The summer months present an important opportunity for Summer Provision facilitators and family members to help prepare children for the transition back to education in September, but materials and guidance are needed to do so,” said CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris. “The Bridge Back to School resource we’re launching today will support a young person to understand, prepare and manage the return to school.”

Navigating the challenges

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 of SuperValu expressed the group’s pride in its work to raise awareness of autism in communities throughout Ireland. “We are delighted to partner with Mary Immaculate College and AsIAm to develop this resource from the experienced knowledge of a pool of experts,” he said. “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.”

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