Empowering Parents to realise the full potential of children and young people on the Autism Spectrum with Moderate to Severe Learning Disability


This self-paced online masterclass course is designed to provide parents the knowledge and skills required to support the educational and social needs of children and young people on the autism spectrum with learning disabilities in order to achieve their full potential.

Empowering Parents to realise the full potential of children and young people on the Autism Spectrum with Moderate to Severe Learning Disability consists of five modules. Each module has a specific aim and learning targets and concludes with further reading or resources which the learner may find helpful. Each module builds on what was learnt in the previous module. This results to a broad and in-depth knowledge & understanding of a series of important aspects and challenges faced by students on the autism spectrum in an education setting.

More specifically, the course aims to increase knowledge and understanding of the signs and symptoms of the autism spectrum; this is achieved via a detailed analysis of Special educational Needs (SEN), neurodiversity & Autism. To this extent, the course provides detailed references on how the autistic brain functions as well as the importance of co-occurring conditions to individuals on the autism spectrum.

Moreover, this masterclass course places emphasis in increasing the knowledge and understanding of the informal assessment and diagnosis of the autism spectrum. This is achieved through examining the diagnostic process of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) as well as issues related to the diagnosis of ASC and importance of IQ, SPLD’s and educational skills tests.

Furthermore, in this masterclass course there is a dedicated module on the importance of visual communication, which studies the importance of structured approaches for orientation and communication, among others. Parents will acquire an in depth understanding of how they can use structure and visuals ‘on the go’ and specifically visual communication, supporting change & increasing motivation.  

Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) often deal with a variety of social & emotional challenges and difficulties. It is for this reason that this masterclass course aims to increase the knowledge and understanding of parents with regards to the social and emotional difficulties of children and young people on the autism spectrum and how to support them efficiently & effectively. Parents will acquire valuable knowledge and understanding on anxiety led behaviours and various interventions in order to reduce anxiety.

Finally, the course includes a dedicated module on Education and family support, including the ever-important aspect of Inclusive Education. The module goes through the importance of transition planning, with emphasis on the transition into Adulthood. Moreover, it discusses the most important aspects of Person-Centred Planning (PCP) and the impact of Autism on the family and how parents can deal with this.

Empowering Parents to realise the full potential of children and young people on the Autism Spectrum with Moderate to Severe Learning Disability is an indispensable tool for parents to acquire the necessary in-depth knowledge to support the educational and social needs of children and young people on the autism spectrum with learning disabilities.

All presentations in this course are both visual and audio. The course is being developed by highly experienced tutors with vast expertise in the area of Special Educational Needs (SEN).

This course is part of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) online academy of ShipCon.


  • Recognize the early signs and symptoms of the autism spectrum and co-occurring conditions
  • Respond to the impact of the autism spectrum condition on a child’s overall functioning
  • Understand the importance of a formal diagnosis
  • Understand the difference between learning difficulty and learning disability
  • Develop parent’s knowledge and understanding the definition and diagnosis of the autism spectrum and the conditions that fall within this umbrella
  • Recognize the appropriate assessments required to fully understand the individual profile of each child on the Autism Spectrum
  • Understanding and responding to the distinct cognitive differences of children and young people on the autism spectrum
  • Understanding the social and emotional difficulties that children and young people on the autism spectrum face
  • Implement strategies to help children and young people develop emotional resilience, social understanding and friendship skills which is essential for their wellbeing and academic achievement
  • Develop parent’s knowledge and understanding of aspects related to inclusive education and the range of strategies to achieve this
  • Develop parent’s understanding for the concept of Transition Planning with emphasis on Transition into Adulthood.
  • Comprehend the concept of Person-Centered Planning (PCP) and how parents can deal with the impact of Autism in the family.

WHY this course?

Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees.

According to a 2018 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 59 – twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125.  

Although autism impacts people regardless of race or ethnicity, there are racial and ethnic disparities in diagnosis. According to the CDC, ADDM reports have consistently noted that more white children are identified with ASD than black or Hispanic children. Previous studies have shown that stigma, lack of access to healthcare services due to non-citizenship or low-income, and non-English primary language are potential barriers to the identification of children with ASD, especially among Hispanic children. A difference in identifying black and Hispanic children with ASD relative to white children means these children may not be getting the services they need to reach their full potential.

Currently, boys are also approximately 4.5 times more likely to have an autism diagnosis than girls of the same age. However, recent research suggests that girls may not show autism in the same way as boys and might go undiagnosed because of that. 

Autism is characterized by persistent differences in communication, interpersonal relationships, and social interaction across different environments. When it comes to education, individuals on Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) are confronted with ‘learning difficulties’ or ‘learning disabilities’.

A ‘learning disability’ is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities which affects someone throughout their life (Mencap) It can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and children. A ‘learning ‘disability’ is linked to overall cognitive impairment. On the other hand, a ‘learning difficulty’ refers to conditions that affect the person’s ability to learn. A ‘learning ‘difficulty’ does not affect a person’s general intelligence. Specific learning difficulties include Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

Empowering Parents to realise the full potential of children and young people on the Autism Spectrum with Moderate to Severe Learning Disability focuses on autistic children and young people with ‘learning disabilities’, hence, children and young people with cognitive impairment.

Therefore, the overall goal of this masterclass course is to provide parents the knowledge and skills required to support the educational and social needs of children and young people on the autism spectrum who have learning disabilities in order to achieve their full potential.


  • Parents
  • Guardians


Empowering Parents to realise the full potential of children and young people on the Autism Spectrum with Moderate to Severe Learning Disability is an online self-paced (asynchronous) course. All presentations are both visual and audio.

It consists of xxx hours of video covering five (5) distinct modules. Highly experienced tutor goes through the whole course, providing ample explanation – in an easy-to-follow manner – to all the areas & concepts covered by the course. Moreover, the tutor will provide a significant amount of useful background information and explanations throughout the course and in a way which is easy to follow and understand.

Each module has a specific area to cover and consists of various learning Units. Each Unit has its own distinct objective (Unit Learning Objective). Finally, each Unit has its own topics, each one with a specific objective (Topic Learning Objective). 

Therefore, each Module has its own distinct aim/outcome, which is being served by distinct Units and Topics.

In this way, the attendee can easily follow the tutor as he/she goes through the whole material of the course.

The attendees of the course will be hugely benefited from the fact that they can have a 3-month online support by the responsible tutor of the course. This is very important to all those with busy working or personal schedule who need to go through the material at their own pace. 

The methodology of the course is based on a combination of three important elements:

  • Provision of knowledge required
  • Use of training tools, such as case studies, videos, games, animations & exercises (practice – hands on experience)
  • Feedback/reflection (review)


  • Certificate of attendance/competence (skills & competences acquired) by ShipCon with CPD units


Module I: Introduction to Autism Spectrum Condition

                  Unit I: Introduction to Autism Spectrum  Conditions

                             Topic I:  Background to Autism and the spectrum

                             Topic II: Autism causation and impacts on processing

                             Topic III: Possible co morbid conditions

                  Unit II: Seeing the world from the point of view of the Autistic Individual

                              Topic I:   How the ‘autistic brain’ functions

                              Topic II:  Characteristics associated with Autism Conditions

                              Topic III: Key impacted areas in development

                  Unit III: The main areas of difficulty

                               Topic I:     Impacts on communication

                               Topic II:    Impacts on Social Imagination

                               Topic III:  Impacts on imaginative thinking

                               Topic IV:  Supporting people on the autism spectrum

 Module II: Support and diagnosis

                  Unit I: The definition of an autism spectrum condition

                               Topic I:    The importance of a definition

                               Topic II:   The main components of the definition and diagnosis

                  Unit II: The assessment and diagnostic process

                              Topic I:    The diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition

                              Topic II:  Issues with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Conditions

                              Topic III: Tests for Specific Learning Difficulties and Educational skills

                  Unit III: Diagnostic signposts

                         Topic I:    The autism spectrum as a continuum & co-occurring conditions

                                    Topic II:   Working together with school

Module III: Introducing Visual Structure

                  Unit I: The importance of visual communication

                            Topic I:  Exploring Communication

                            Topic II: Augmentative & Alternative Communication

         Unit II: Structured approaches – using structure for orientation and communication

                             Topic I:   Using visual systems

                             Topic II:  Using the environment

                             Topic III: Adaptations which make a difference

                   Unit III: Using structure and visuals ‘on the go’

                             Topic I:     Visual Communication

                             Topic II:    Supporting change

                             Topic III:   Work systems

                             Topic IV:   Increasing motivation

Module IV: The impact of Anxiety on behaviours

                    Unit I: Autism and behaviours

                             Topic I:   Introduction to anxiety led behaviours

                     Unit II: The impact of anxiety on behaviour

                             Topic I:   Anxiety explained

                             Topic II:  Mental Health in Autism

                     Unit III: Education and family support

                           Topic I:      Obsessive and ritualistic behaviours                                                                    Topic II:     Depression in Autism

                           Topic III:    Interventions to reduce Anxiety

Module V: Inclusive Education – Best practice

                Unit I: Understanding the infrastructure underpinning Inclusive education

                             Topic I:  Inclusive education and SEN provision

                             Topic II: What really gets in the way of achievement and attainment?

                             Topic III: The catalytic teacher in the world of autism

                 Unit II: Routes to Inclusion

                              Topic I:  Autism specific good practice

                              Topic II: The importance of Transition planning

                              Topic III: Transition into Adulthood

                 Unit III: Living with Autism – Life and beyond

                             Topic I:     Person Centered Planning

                              Topic II:    Autism and Culture

                              Topic III:   Autism and impacts on the family


Angela Winstanley is a highly experienced Trainer/Consultant in Operations Management and Care Services with particular specialism in Autism.

Qualified in Social Work and a degree level qualified Operations Manager, with a background predominantly in care services. For a period of 24 years Angela managed teams and Operations, including all aspects of business development, Strategic Planning and implementation, and Operational Management, at Senior level.

Angela has worked with UK Investors in People as an Assessor, and trained as a Health and Safety/Risk Manager, – she is highly experienced in Quality Audit including Care Quality Commission (CQC) UK, for whom she was Registered as a Service Manager. During her long career Angela has worked within UK Social Services, Health Service, Education and the Voluntary Sector – she has also been seconded to the UK the Prison Service.

In her work for a UK National Charity Angela was trained in ‘Facing the Media’ and undertook numerous TV and Radio interviews, also being published in journals, and National Press.

Since relocating full time to Cyprus in 2012 Angela has delivered both Management and Autism training as a freelance trainer, in UK. Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates. Angela is currently involved in the development of specific Training Within a 3 year ERASMUS project and will be delivering training in Cyprus, Croatia and FYR Macedonia.


  • ShipCon Head Trainer, 2016 – Present

Responsible for developing and delivering a range of Education based training across Europe. Involvement in Project development.

  • Freelance Consultant / Trainer – ACCREDO Support Services (Mental Health / Learning disability / Autism).  United Kingdom    – 2011 – 2016
  • Freelance Trainer – Focus – Abu Dhabi – UAE – Delivering Management training to Abu Dhabi Police force. – 2012 – 2016
  • Freelance Consultant / Trainer – ASSP (Autism Assessment Support Practise) Centre Limassol, Cyprus

Responsible for Assessments, responsive programme setting, supporting key staff in interventions, training.  –   2011 – 2017

  • Area Manager, National Autistic Society, UK. 2003 – April 2011
    • Responsible for Operational and Strategic Management of Autism Specific Services across the midlands / East Midlands area
  • Locality Manager – National Autistic Society UK. 1998 –2003

              Responsible for Management of Adult Autism services across 4 UK countries, including

              Residential Homes, Outreach and Supported Living Services, University Support Services,

              Day Services

  • Registered Manager – National Autistic Society UK. March 1996 –1998

Responsible for start – up and Management of first Residential and Day Services for Adults with Autism, Northamptonshire. Registered as Manager with UK Care Quality Commission.

Supported development of NAS Hayes Special Hospital, Bristol UK

  • Team Leader – Northamptonshire Social Services. UK. 1988 – 1996

Responsible for Management of Service for Young adults with disabilities, Co- ordination of Social Work, Nursing and Education Teams and project lead on relocation from Hospital campus to community services. 

Change Management in Northamptonshire Day Services. – as part of a specifically recruited management team to identify the need for and implement change processes within Social Services Departments.

Internal Trainer

Management of Generic Unit for adults with Special Care needs and Challenging Behaviour.


  • Qualified Social Worker,- Selly Oak Colleges, United Kingdom.
  • Applied Psychology,- Selly Oak Colleges, United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • Degree in Operational and Strategic Management – United Kingdom
  • Certificate in Management Studies. United Kingdom
  • Investors in People Assessor – United Kingdom
  • A range of CPD certificates pertinent to the field of autism, Asperger syndrome.
  • Training the Trainer

Achievements & awards:

  • Part of the team who developed the National Autistic Society SPELL framework.
  • Part of the team who conducted the Autism Accreditation assessments and panel member.
  • Investors in People Assessor
  • EarlyBird Trainer (Autism Parent Training, NAS)
  • SocialEyes facilitator (Social programmes for Asperger individuals, NAS)
  • PCP (Person Centered Planning) facilitator
  • Autism Support Counsellor (NAS PROJECT) to RELATE – marriage guidance council
  • Regulation 26 (CQC standards UK) -Appointed Visitor

Publications and Media:

  • Daily Telegraph – Supporting Parents with transition to residential Services. Article May 1998
  • Community Care Magazine – Parents of autistic children urged to use support schemes August 2002
  • Observer / Guardian – Asperger Syndrome- May 19, 2001 – ‘Angela Finne, a social worker who specialises in autism, notes that her clients have difficulty understanding surreal humour’
  • Daily Mail – Starting up Residential Services for Autism – Article – 1999
  • Contributor -The process of Ageing and Autism – .2003
  • Contributor – Ignored and Ineligible? The reality for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders- 2001 (Angela Finne)
  • BBC Channel 5 TV – Gloria Hunniford Show – Interview on Diet and Autism
  • BBC Radio – You and Yours – Interview on the impacts of Autism on families
  • ITV Breakfast TV – A look behind the doors of Residential Autism Services
  • Cyprus Radio – Phone in Q & A for Autism parents
  • UK House of Commons – Presentation to MP’s on Autism and Mental Capacity.

Training delivered:

United Kingdom:

  • National Autistic Society:
    • Delivered a range of training in autism, Asperger syndrome, behaviour, social understanding, mental health, transition planning, Person Centered Planning, Leadership and management,
    • NAS accredited SPELL trainer
    • Training the trainer.
  • ACCREDO Support & Development:
    • Staff training in Autism, Mental Health approaches and Management
  • Sussex Autism Society
    • Staff training on a range of Autism specific themes
  • Northamptonshire Social Services
    • Delivered a range of courses on Learning Difficulties, including Sexuality and Relationships


  • Abu Dhabi – UAE – Management and Soft Skills Training to Abu Dhabi Police Force
  • CyprusAASP – Introduction to Autism, Using visual Structures, Communication in Autism

Famagusta Autism Society – a range of Autism specific courses, Supervisory Management, Person Centered Planning

  • ESIPP – (Equity and Social Inclusion through Positive Parenting)

Autism 5 day training delivered to professionals and parents in North Macedonia, Croatia and Cyprus. Included Training Trainers

  • ShipCon – Cyprus
    • Special Educational Needs
    • Autism
    • Soft Skills
    • Management

Conference presentations:

United Kingdom:

  • Presented at a range of conferences including:
    • Partnership working between Local Authorities and Autism Providers- National Autistic Society conferences
    • Leicester University Diversity Conference – ‘All about Autism’
    • United Kingdom – ESIPP – Working with Structure in Autism


  • North Macedonia – ESIPP Conference – Sensory Impacts in Autism
  • Croatia – ESIPP – Sensory Impacts in Autism
  • Cyprus – ESIPP – Joint working with Parents in Autism
  • Cyprus – SENPower – The impacts of Special Educational Needs on Development and overview of the programme
  • Portugal- SENPower – The impacts of SENPower on young people with Special Educational Needs on Development and overview of the programme

Research programmes and collaborative work:

  • ESIPP Project – Partners – UK, Cyprus, North Macedonia, Croatia – Developing Autism research- based training for Parents and training trainers in each partner country
  • SENPower – Partners from Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Italy. Developing tools to support young adults with Specific Learning Difficulties and Entrepreneurship.
  • PCP Autism – Partners – Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, North Macedonia Cyprus, Greece – Developing Person Centered Planning tools and training with relation to children and adults with Autism
  • Ageing in Autism Project – National Autistic Society
  • Grendon Underwood Prison, UK. – Therapeutic approaches with Cat A. B prisoners (Selly Oak Colleges and the Prison Services)
  • Cyprus Ministry for Education – Environment and Practise Assessments in Paphos Area Special Needs provision in schools – comprehensive reports.

Memberships & Collorations:

  • Autism Accreditation- Panel member: 100 – 2007– 2011.
  • Famagusta Autism Support Group – Board Member – 2017 – Present.

What is included?

Life time access 15:25:00 hours of video 5 Modules,

 15 Units,

41 Topics

Three months online support Certificate/CPD