We’re delighted to announce further details of the contributors who will take part in our forthcoming conference ‘Synergy 17: Promote inclusion…end exclusion’.

The conference will focus on behaviours that challenge schools and an approach that is rooted in ethical practice, the need to reduce stress and change the narrative around children who present with these difficulties. The primary aim is schools but autistic people, families, parents policy makers and those working with challenging behaviour in adulthood will find this conference of interest, bringing together autistic people, teachers, practitioners, academics and families in exploring solutions.

Katerina Laskaridou and Richard Mills will briefly outline the way the programme developed to promote and support local capacity and how the programme was awarded CPD status. Damian Milton and Richard Mills will then present a summary of their acclaimed book ‘10 rules to ensure challenging behaviour and maybe what to do about it’. This light hearted but thought provoking presentation is designed to challenge thinking around what sadly is standard practice in many schools struggling with the challenge of children who find school difficult. Young autistic Greek people will then discuss what they regard as their ideal school. It is so important to hear from the children themselves but how often is this ignored?

Sofia Kapnoyani and Anastasia Katsougri will introduce a discussion on culture and the importance of leadership. Head teachers have a critical role to play in determining the ethos and culture of the school.

Sofia Evanthia and Elena Giouroukou will present findings of applying Synergy in practice; the lessons learnt and challenges remaining before Zozefina Tzonaka describes in detail how the approach is working in Elementary schools.

Robert Mellon from the University of Athens will describe the importance of measuring progress and outline the data collected since the programme began.

Colleagues from Denmark, Birgit Isene and Susanne Hvidtfeldt will speak about the use of mindfulness in a specialist school for autistic and ADHD students and how these approaches are designed to reduce stress and improve wellbeing. Also from Denmark, Kasper Kock Neilson will present the Aarhus family programme designed to reduce stress and promote inclusion. This six month programme is the subject of a long-term evaluation.

Sadly, Joe Powell is unable to be with us but we have Paula Doumanov from Inspire Malta to present the challenge facing Maltese Schools concerning behaviours that challenge and the work of the foundation with the Maltese government.

Chris Atkins from the UK will then outline how the approach is being used with a young adult and how the change of narrative and reduction of personal stress is working to prevent his exclusion from his home and local services.

Download the conference programme