Axcis at the NAS Professional Conference and Autism Professionals Awards 2018

As ongoing supporters of the National Autistic Society, Axcis were proud to again be the headline sponsor of this years Professional Conference. We also sponsored an Autism Professionals Award. Find out who won as well as what else made this years event a great one!

Day 1

Mark Lever, Chief Executive.The National Autistic Society's Professional Conference 2017, Harrogate International Centre.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive. The National Autistic Society’s Professional Conference 2018, Harrogate International Centre.

Day 1 of the conference opened with Mark Lever (NAS CEO) talking about the many fantastic initiatives the charity has undertaken in the last year. 14,000 teachers have now signed up to their “My World” campaign, autism is set to become part of initial teacher training and their work on the APPGA enquiry has been invaluable. Along with many other initiatives, this means that autism is now recognised and understood by more people than ever before. Good work, guys!


Keynote speaker Owen Suskind and his mum, Cornelia followed, giving an emotive talk about their film “Life, Animated” and how it came about. Owen was diagnosed with autism as a young child, and when he lost all verbal ability, the family discovered that he could communicate with the help of Disney films. It’s a wonderful and moving story – if you are not familiar with their work, you can find out more here.


The day then broke into 4 streams. This allowed delegates to focus on their area of interest. I sat in on a range of talks and also had the lovely autism specialist Lynn McCann helping out with our Twitter commentary of the event. – you can look back over it using #profconf if you’d like to read more highlights. The presentations were varied and interesting, with subjects such as “The importance of emotional wellbeing in autistic students“, “Supporting Parents with their child’s sleep difficulties” and “Recognising and treating anxiety in autistic children and adults” among the topics that were discussed.


In the afternoon, Emily Lovegrove (AKA: The Bullying Doctor) gave a fascinating and interactive presentation on “Helping autistic children and adults to successfully cope with bullying“. I didn’t expect to find myself on stage, but I was happy to help out with a practical demonstration!


Behind the scenes of the Twitter Chat with Lynn at the conference.

For us, day one ended with a live Twitter Chat with Lynn  McCann, organised by our friends at Network Autism. It was an action-packed hour with loads of questions and some excellent, practical advice from Lynn. Take a look at the #autismedchat on Twitter if you’d like to find out more.

The Axcis Teddybear Picnic and Twitter Competition

While all these fascinating talks were going on, Mat and Cassie from Axcis were busy in the exhibition area talking to delegates about the service we offer. As specialist special needs recruiters, Axcis are very well placed to support schools and alternative provisions when they need to find SEND teachers and support staff.


During the conference, we also ran a Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Delegates had to find the six Axcis Andy bears hidden around the venue. Each was holding an item of picnic food. Delegates simply had to write down all 6 food items and hand in an entry form for a chance to win a £50 shopping voucher. There was a bonus voucher on offer for one lucky Twitter user – any comments with an @Axcis in them went into a

prize draw which took place after the conference ended.

The Autism Professionals Awards

Dean Beadle showed off his lovely voice during the mid-awards break!

On the evening of day 1 was the Autism Professionals Awards. Each year, the National Autistic Society hold this awards ceremony to celebrate the hard work and achievements of those working with people on the autism spectrum. Among the awards was the one we sponsor – the Axcis Award for Achievement by an Individual Education Professional. The winner was Adele Beeson from Spectrum First Ltd. Adele started her career as a primary teacher with an interest in special educational needs. With the diagnosis of her son she became interested in autism and retrained as an autism professional. She has since supported autistic people across the full age-range in a variety of settings. Adele now works as a Specialist Study Skills Tutor for Spectrum First Ltd, supporting university students to achieve their full potential. Her special interest within the field is sensory processing and she has been working with her students to develop a sensory curriculum as an awareness-building tool. She has recently led staff training in sensory processing. Adele was diagnosed with autism and ADHD while studying for the MA Autism Spectrum which she completed in 2017.

Day 2

Day 2 began with some excellent breakfast seminars – I sat in on “The Impact of stigma surrounding autism in ethnic communities in the UK?” This was followed by the keynote address from Michelle Garcia Winner, Founder and CEO of Social Thinking. She gave a fascinating presentation entitled “Social Thinking: developing social competencies to help people better interpret and respond to the social world.” This talk really got us thinking about how social understanding is taken for granted by so many of us, and what a minefield it can be for individuals on the autism spectrum.  


Mat and Cassie gave plenty of recruitment advice at the Axcis stand throughout the conference.

There were plenty of other fascinating talks, workshops and poster sessions throughout day 2 of the conference. One of my favourites was “Use of technology with children with severe communication impairments and challenging behaviour“, held by Dr Penny Williams. It was interesting to hear about some of the examples and case studies she has encountered as part of her research. One such example was a non-verbal young girl with autism and complex needs who would become so frustrated with her lack of ability to communicate verbally that she would lash out at her teachers and support staff in school, often hitting, biting, kicking etc. After they introduced an iPad with a visual communication programme on it, her behaviour was said to have improved by about 95%. What a fantastic example of how such devices can be put to good use!


A long journey home from Harrogate ended the conference for me, and although I was very tired, I came away feeling that I had learned a lot, met some lovely people and had plenty of ideas to share with my peers – a feeling which I am sure was shared by many of the other attendees to this years Autism Professionals Conference!



Would a career in recruitment suit you? If you answer “yes” to these 5 questions, then it probably would!

How do you know if a career in recruitment would suit you? What skills are needed and is it something you can do if you have no prior experience? Find out here by asking yourself these 5 key questions.

1. Are you a confident communicator?

Great communication skills are essential in recruitment.

Recruitment is essentially match-making between organisations and job seekers. Therefore, you spend much of your time communicating with people. This may be on the phone, in person or via email. You therefore need to have strong written English skills as well as a confident personality. Knowing when to listen is also crucial to the role, as you need to understand the needs of both your candidates and clients if you are going to do a great job matching them up. If you are a person who would rather spend time on a quiet project than talking on the phone, then recruitment probably isn’t the right job for you.

2. Do you stay strong under pressure?

Being a recruitment consultant can have it’s fair share of pressures – from juggling lots of requirements (or jobs) at once, to chasing up candidates who have not turned up for work, handling complaints (hopefully you won’t get too many of those!) and meeting management targets, the pressure can really mount up at times. You therefore need to be a fairly resilient person if you want to be a successful recruiter.

3. Are you good at multi-tasking and prioritising?

Following on from question 2, when you have lots on your plate, you need to be able to multi-task and prioritise effectively. You’ll need to be able to identify your most pressing tasks first, but also to know when to stop doing them and move onto the other items on your to-do list. This is especially important in recruitment as you may have more than one client waiting for you to send them candidates for a job, and keeping them waiting for too long may result in you damaging the relationship or even losing their business – and it’s likely that you worked very hard to win this business in the first place!

4. Do you have good attention to detail?

Understanding the needs of your candidates and clients and responding accordingly really is central to being an effective recruiter. For example, you may have a client who has asked you to fill in a form each time you submit a CV. If you forget to do this, your client may go elsewhere in future. Or you may have a candidate who has explicitly told you they can’t do Mondays, so if you contact them about full-time roles, it is clear to them that you’ve not listened to their needs – so attention to detail is hugely important in a recruitment role.

5. Do you care about providing a great service?

It’s easy to provide a great service to your “easy” candidates and clients. But In the world of recruitment, you will come across lots of clients who give you requirements which you know you can’t fill, and candidates who you know you can’t place. It’s easy to disregard these people in favour of the ones you know you can help. However, your reputation hinges on the level of customer service you provide. You must always remember that these individuals talk to other people in the sector, and they also shout loudly via poor reviews online if they feel that you haven’t looked after them. So you’ll need to be able to manage expectations effectively and find time for these people if you want to develop a good reputation (and get more business off the back of it!)


If you answered yes to these questions and would like to be considered for a role as a recruitment consultant with Axcis Education, why not send us your CV today? When doing so, please also take a moment to let us know which of our offices you’d be interested in working in.


Get involved with World Autism Awareness Week 2018

At Axcis, we are hugely proud to sponsor the National Autistic Society. That’s why we like to encourage the schools and candidates we work with, as well as the staff in our own offices, to get involved in World Autism Awareness Week. Find out more about it, as well as how you can get involved here.

What is World Autism Awareness Week?

Each year, in the week leading up to World Autism Awareness Day, our partners at the National Autistic Society encourage the public to take part in World Autism Awareness Week – a full seven days where schools, workplaces and individuals, along with their families and friends can take part in activities to raise money and awareness for The National Autistic Society.

Onesie Wednesday 2018 is sure to be a big success!

When is World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW) 2018?

World Autism Awareness week 2018 runs from the 26 March until the 2nd April

Why is it important to support this cause?

Around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum. Together with their families, this means autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people. It is therefore important not only to spread awareness of autism, but also about how to best support those who live with it every day.

How you can get involved

You can sign up for a fundraising pack here.


There are lots of organised activities you can choose from, including holding a bake sale, taking part in Onesie Wednesday or running a quiz. Or why not get creative and come up with your own fundraising ideas?

What will we be doing at Axcis?

It has become a bit of a tradition at Axcis to get involved with Onesie Wednesday – so our staff will be coming to work in their favourite PJ’s or Onesie for the day (watch our social media pages for pictures) on Wednesday 28th March.


Some of our teams will also be holding a bake sale – just like Kenny in the promotional film released by the National Autistic Society in support of World Autism Awareness Week 2018 – if you’ve not seen the film, why not take a look?



Autism resources

If you are not able to take part in WAAW 2018, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways you can spread autism awareness in your school at a time more convenient to you. Why not sign up for the National Autistic Society’s “MyWorld” teaching resources, which are excellent and completely free of charge?

Are you seeking work with young people with autism?


If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.




8 tips for working in a behavioural unit (guest post)


Clare Edmondson is an experienced behaviour consultant who runs a range of training for schools/settings around behaviour and mental health. In this guest blog, she shares 8 quick tips for working in such a setting.


Teaching in a behavioural unit brings its own challenges – here are some tips from an old hand.


1 – Don’t cry

I only cried once. In six years, that’s not bad. I pretty much had been called every name under the sun and had even been physically threatened by various teenagers but none of that really bothered me – there’s always a reason behind the behaviour. It was telling a young man that he couldn’t finish his coursework because the deadline had passed – that broke me. The disappointment in his face was enough for me to cry.

2 – Join in

The biggest accolade I ever received from my students, wasn’t for my meticulously planned English lessons, nor for my frankly super, exciting schemes of work, but for my ability on the football pitch. Having played to a quite a high level in the women’s game, I was able to give the teenage boys (and girls) quite the run around on the pitch. The teenage whispers of ‘miss is bear good at football’ spread and I was held in higher esteem just for joining in and showing myself as a whole person, not just a teacher.

3 – Don’t turn around

Six to ten students may not sound like a lot, but if you picture six of your most challenging pupils and put them into one, small, hot room with pens and pencils, you get the idea. I learned very quickly that writing ANYTHING on the board with my back turned could result in a riot of varying degrees. Pre written lesson objectives and typing onto powerpoint, facing my students became my friend.

4 – Use mini whiteboards sparingly

I’ve seen more badly drawn male genitalia (for some reason it was never female genitalia) on a whiteboard than any teacher should see. I’ve also seen a multitude of misspelt swear words, ‘No Jevan, that isn’t how you spell it and now wipe it off, thank you.’ Save the whiteboards for those you trust.

5 – Laughter is your friend

If you can’t laugh, a behavioural unit is not for you. I have had tears streaming down my face from laughing at some of the predicaments I have been in. From being asked how to spell ‘GCSE…’ to a student asking me ‘how hard do you have to concentrate in a concentration camp?’ to me tripping over a table and ending up crumbled on the floor. You have to laugh, or you will cry (see point 1).

6 – Tactical Ignoring is your friend

Do I deal with the swearing? Or the fact that he is wearing a hat? On the fact that he has just lobbed a paper aeroplane at his classmate? Without tactical ignoring I probably wouldn’t have taught my students a thing – sometimes I ignored a hat or a rogue swear word, so I could teach Shakespeare without having a fifteen minute battle. I’m proud to say my year 10 class could quote shakespeare to each other (granted it was usually insults) and it was tactical ignoring that helped me get the content in.

7 – Plan, plan plan

I remember teaching in mainstream school and sometimes being able to get away with an averagely planned lesson. In a behavioral unit, this is not the case – the lesson needs to be watertight and bullet proof. In fact, I remember naively thinking I could give one of my classes a ‘fun’ lesson on the last day of term. This ended up in chaos! Even fun needs structure in a behaviour unit.

8 – The kids will appreciate you – secretly

Don’t expect a barrage of thank you card and chocolate. In fact, I don’t think I received more than one card per year thanking me for my hard work. The gratitude sometimes came years afterwards – a former student (now a big burly man) stopped me in the high street and gave me a little hug and thanked me for helping him to get his grade C. He said he was always sad he never got the chance to thank me. That one moment was enough to keep me going for another year.


I wouldn’t change anything about working in a PRU – for each hard lesson would be a smile, a laugh or an achievement that wiped away the difficulties.


Thanks for a fab post Clare! To contact Clare or find out more about her work, why not check out her website or contact her on Twitter (@Change_Beh) or Facebook (@changingbehaviouruk)?

Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.


Introducing our new Midlands consultant…

Axcis is continuing to grow as more and more schools hear about us and start using our services. As a result, our Midlands office has a new consultant – Dave Meehan, so if you’re seeking work (or staff) in the Birmingham area, why not get in touch with Dave? Find out a bit more about him here.

We asked Dave to tell us about himself:

Dave Meehan

Prior to joining Axcis, I gained three years of experience in healthcare recruitment, which has a lot of overlap with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). As a result, I have an excellent grounding when it comes to recruiting specialist staff for schools and alternative provisions. I understand how important it is to listen carefully to the needs of both my candidates and clients in order to successfully match them together.


This is especially important when it comes to the education sector. I understand the disruption which can be caused by staff changes, and as a result I endeavour to “get it right first time” as often as I possibly can.


I am particularly passionate about special educational needs and disabilities because I struggled with dyslexia myself at school, and was not offered appropriate support. I also have a family member on the autism spectrum who can find education challenging at times.


In my spare time, I enjoy music and sports (especially football and cricket) and like to enjoy them at home as well as getting out to events whenever the opportunity presents itself.


Would you like to work with Dave?

Dave covers the Birmingham area for Axcis. If you are seeking work (or staff) in this location, then get in touch with Dave today to see how he can help. Or if you’re seeking work in any other area, register online and we will put you in touch with your personal consultant in your local office.


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Simple Mother’s Day craft gifts you can make with your class

Are you looking for simple, inexpensive Mother’s Day craft ideas? Then look no further! You’re sure to bring a smile to mum’s face with one of these projects. From paper flowers and pots of love to simple beauty treats for her skin and hair – you’re bound to find something suitable here to use with your children in class or at home.

1 – Sea Salt Spray

Give mum "beach hair" for Mothers Day by making this lovely salt spray. Credit Flickr CC

Give mum “beach hair” for Mother’s Day by making this lovely salt spray. Credit Flickr CC

Either save a spray bottle which can be re-used or buy an empty plastic spray bottle from your local chemist and you can make this incredibly easy gift which every mum will love!

What you’ll need:

  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Hot/warm water
  • Almond oil (or any type of conditioning oil will do)
  • Plain envelope labels/sticky labels to “brand” your product


  • Fill your spray bottle with warm/hot water almost to the top
  • Add a big pinch of sea salt and a couple of teaspoons of oil
  • SHAKE for a minute or two (you could do this to music to make it more fun for your class and keep them going for long enough to dissolve all the salt)
  • Design a label and stick it on
  • Voila! A simple yet desirable gift that mum will love (especially if you know she buys sea salt spray for her hair!)


2 – Forever Flowers

Tissue paper makes for a more delicate finish to your Mother’s Day forever flowers. Credit Flickr CC

Turn old newspapers or coloured tissue paper into a pretty bunch of flowers with this fun, simple craft project

What you’ll need:

  • Newspapers or coloured tissue paper
  • Poster paints
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scissors
  • Tape


  • Cut newspaper/tissue paper into circles (you could draw around a saucer or something of similar size like a roll of tape)
  • If using newspaper, paint and allow to dry. Skip this step if using tissue paper
  • Layer 2 circles of paper on top of each other and  fold in half
  • Lay a pipe cleaner in the middle (tape to secure) and then “roll” into a rose shape (it doesn’t matter if they are messy)
  • Pinch the bottom of the flower together and fix with a piece of tape
  • Fan out the top of the flower a bit with your fingers
  • Repeat until you have a bunch of pretty flowers!


3 – Toilet Roll Vase (ideal for your paper flowers)

What you’ll need:

  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Poster paints
  • Newspaper


  • Ball up some newspaper and shove it into the toilet roll tube to form a base (needs to be fairly tight) – put tape over bottom to hold in place
  • Paint pretty patterns or flowers onto toilet roll tube
  • Allow to dry
  • Voila – a vase for your paper flowers!

4 – Sugar and Spice Body Scrub

Make a simple body scrub for Mum which smells divine! Credit Flickr CC

A simple body scrub which can be made using cheap ingredients and which mum will love!

What you’ll need:

2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs almond oil
1 tbs ground oatmeal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A container with a lid or a small zip lock bag
Plain sticky labels


Mix all the ingredients together and spoon into your container. Design a pretty Mothers Day label for your body scrub. Give to mum!

5 – Love Pot

Turn an old flowerpot into a pot of love for Mother’s Day. Credit Flickr CC

Mum will love this flowerpot with love sprouting from it – a cute idea for a Mother’s Day gift

What you’ll need:

  • Small flowerpot
  • Stiff cardboard
  • Wooden skewers
  • Flower pot “oasis” foam or some polystyrene
  • Scissors
  • Double sided tape
  • Paint/glitter glue and any other craft items for embellishment


  • Either using a template, or by designing your own letters (teachers may need to differentiate on this one!), Cut out the letters L O V and E from your card TWICE
  • Layer the two L’s and sandwich a  wooden skewer between them. Use double sided tape to fix the two pieces of card together
  • Repeat for your other 3 letters (you could also do some added flowers for your pot – extension activity for teachers?)
  • Now cut a block of polystyrene or oasis to fit your flower pot
  • Paint and decorate your letters (and flowers if you’re adding some) and poke into the flower pot until dry


We hope you enjoy our Mother’s Day craft ideas – if you do these with your classes please send us photos – we’d love to see how you get on. Or post them on Twitter and @axcis in them to share your projects with us and the world.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Are you seeking work with SEND children? Axcis can help!

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a SEND teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.


New to autism? (Guest post)

Sue Goldman

Sue Goldman is an autism education specialist offering support, advice and teaching to autistic children, their families and educational settings (check out her website here). She has kindly written us this guest post which gives advice to those who are new to working with individuals on the autism spectrum.

New to Autism?

So – this is your first professional foray into the world of autism and you’re intrigued but unsure what to expect…? If this sounds familiar, welcome!



You’re about to experience the privilege of getting to know children or young people who perceive and understand life in a different way and, in doing so, your eyes will be opened to a wealth of human experience that you may not have imagined. But much of this will be hidden from you when you begin. You are setting out on a lifelong journey of listening (with all of your senses and intuition), learning, wishing that you could just get into a pupil’s head for a moment, and connecting dots to build a picture of each individual’s world so that you can understand and support them to the best of your ability.


Unique yet connected

Each autistic pupil is unique and will teach you something new, so this is a world in which – however long we have been part of it – we can never say that we know it all. Nevertheless there are ways of being that connect all autistic people, which are best expressed, I think, in this quote by Ashlea McKay, an autistic adult, who describes autism as “experiencing the world at a heightened level of intensity and not instinctively knowing and understanding the intricacies of human interaction.”


Understanding sensory differences

So – experiencing the world at a heightened level of intensity – what does that mean? It’s about your senses behaving differently and sometimes unpredictably. Most – or maybe all – autistic people have unusual sensory systems which affect the way they see, hear, taste, smell and feel the world. So sensory input may not feel stable, either in the same person or across time. This can lead to processing delays, difficulties with maintaining and shifting attention, sensory overload and dysregulation. Some autistic people talk about having ‘sensory days’ on which their sensory issues are more pronounced and they feel ‘more autistic’ on those days. I can only begin to imagine how this must feel, but it is likely that our pupils are experiencing the world in a way that’s sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes extraordinarily beautiful, often unpredictable and distracting. We need to be aware of this, pick up the clues, adjust the environment, adapt our expectations and offer appropriate accommodations in order to support them.


The way we communicate may well need to be adapted to better support those on the autism spectrum. Credit Flickr.

Adapting our communication

How about “not instinctively knowing and understanding the intricacies of human interaction”? That is to do – essentially – with difficulties in communicating and interacting in conventional ways. As non-autistics, our communication is often too fast, too noisy, too confusing, too full of unspoken rules. We need to adapt by slowing down, giving processing time, supporting our spoken language with visuals (which are often much easier for an autistic child to interpret), using positive language (tell pupils what you do want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do) and offering structured, supportive opportunities to practice interacting successfully with others. Remember that – contrary to popular opinion – autistic people do experience empathy, often very deeply, but their ways of perceiving and expressing that might be unconventional. Some autistic children begin speaking late, may never speak, or have limited or unreliable speech. That does not mean that they have nothing to say. So look into the many and varied methods of supporting communication with objects, photos, symbols, signs and technology, and do your best to find out what works for your pupil.


Creating a safe space

It’s not hard to see how experiencing the world in such a different way can lead to high levels of stress in our pupils. This is often when we see behaviour that concerns us and that we may feel unsure how to manage. Meltdowns, shutdowns, burnouts and regressions are often described by autistic people as being part of their experience of life. Living in a world that is not designed for the way their brains are wired means that just being with us can take a huge amount of energy and courage on a daily basis. We need to acknowledge that and work hard to make their experience of school – at least – one that is comfortable, safe, stimulating, meaningful, and which allows them to play to their strengths.


Listening to autistic voices

Those of us who are not autistic will always be at a disadvantage when it comes to really understanding how it feels. Therefore I would urge you to listen to autistic voices. There is now a passionate and vibrant autistic community out there on social media, speaking loud and clear. They want non-autistics – especially parents and professionals – to listen. They want us to try to understand their perspective. Follow the #actuallyautistic hashtag on Twitter and it will lead you to a rich seam of lived experience. Be respectful, be open to having your thinking challenged and you will become a precious ally for both your pupils and the wider autistic community.



*Note: I deliberately use identity-first language (‘autistic child’ rather than ‘child with autism’) as the autistic community expresses a clear and strong preference for this.






Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.

Axcis March Giveaway – Sensory Music Kit

Many of us are aware that music can be an effective teaching tool, and this is especially true for children with special needs. That’s why we have decided to offer a nifty sensory music kit as our Axcis March Giveaway prize.


5 Reasons why music helps children with special needs

Ryan Judd is a board certified music therapist with a master’s degree in Music Therapy. On his website, he gives us 5 reasons why music helps children with SEND. We have shared them here for you:

 1. Music Motivates

Finding ways to motivate children to work on challenging tasks or skills can be difficult. Music tends to be one of the top motivators for children with special needs so you can use this to your advantage by doing the following:


  • Use captivating instruments to prompt a child to make requests, i.e. holding out a drum and waiting for them to communicate, “I want the drum”
  • Use different instruments to encourage the development of motor skills
  • Sing a song during a challenging activity so a child is more willing to work through it


This list could go on and on, just remember that whether you use recorded music or make your own music, there are so many musical ways to motivate a child!

 2. Music is a Multi-Sensory Experience

Picture a child hitting a drum with a mallet. On the surface level most people would just see a kid playing a drum but hold on, there is so much more going on. Let’s break it down.


  • Their tactile system is engaged because they are feeling the mallet in their hand
  • Their kinesthetic system in engaged as they move their wrist and arm to strike the drum
  • Their auditory system is engaged as they listen to the sound of the drum
  • Their visual system is engaged as their eyes track the motion of their arm and the mallet in their hand


About the only thing missing is their sense of smell and taste, but hey, I’ve seen that happen too! All kidding aside, music making is a perfect fit for kids with special needs because it engages and appeals to many of their sensory strengths and needs.

3. Music is Processed in Both Hemispheres of the Brain

A classic line often heard is “oh yeah, music is sooooo powerful because it is processed in the right side of the brain!” Well yeah, that’s true, but it’s only half of the story. The remarkable thing about music is that it’s processed in many regions of the brain simultaneously. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music shows that when making music, the sensory cortex, auditory cortex, hippocampus, visual cortex, cerebellum, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and motor cortex are all firing at once. Amazing! This relates to the multi-sensory experience of making music because each of these sensory systems is tied into a specific part of the brain.

4. Music is Non-verbal

Hans Christian Anderson once said, “where words fail, music speaks.”  For many of the children I work with, words fail them daily. Either they can’t get the words out or can’t process the words coming in. I always think about how maddening it must be to have limited speech skills and yet get bombarded by speech and words all day long. The only personal experience I can relate this to is when my wife and I had our rental scooter stolen during our first day in Venezuela. We desperately tried to communicate with locals and police officers, but as their words sprayed out of their mouths like machine-gun fire, we felt confused, frustrated and helpless.  We just couldn’t understand each other.


I often reflect upon this experience when I make music with a child who is non-verbal. When we connect with each other and express ourselves without words, it feels more powerful and effective than spoken language. I can’t help but think that this type of therapy and interaction is a huge relief for them.

5. Music Helps You Bond

Music is a rich and beautiful way to connect with your child and deepen your bond. Mothers have known this for centuries and now the science is showing us that Oxytocin, known as the “bonding” or “cuddle” hormone, is released when listening to and making music. Some musical ways that you can bond with your child include:


  • Getting into a routine of singing to your child throughout the day
  • Moving and dancing with them to their favorite recorded music
  • Using simple instruments such as rhythm sticks to create your own music or to jam along to some recorded music


The most important thing is to try different ways of connecting through music. During this process, you will discover more about what your child likes and dislikes. Once you have a few musical activities that your child enjoys, you are all set!

Music is Powerful

To sum it up, music ROCKS! Not only are there mountains of anecdotal evidence that tell us this, but now through the fields of Neuroscience and Music Therapy, the data shows us why music is so powerful. Music is an easy, fun and motivating way to connect with children and motivate them to develop new skills. So grab your child, grab some instruments and let’s make some music!


How to enter the Axcis March Giveaway

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this great prize, why not enter our March giveaway? all you need to do is follow THIS LINK and select how you’d like to enter. It takes just a few seconds and is entirely FREE of charge. So why not take a peek now and get yourself entered into this month’s Axcis Giveaway?


Terms and Conditions are applicable to all giveaway entrants.

Introducing our new Axcis South West Consultant…

Axcis is continuing to grow as more and more schools hear about us and start using our services. As a result, our South West & Wales office has a new consultant – Evie North, so if you’re seeking work (or staff) in the Swindon & Wiltshire areas, why not get in touch with Evie? Find out a bit more about her here.

We asked Evie to tell us about herself:

Evie North

I have a degree in Theatre & Performance from Plymouth University and a PGCE in Primary Education. During my initial teacher training, I volunteered to be part of an inclusion project. As part of this, I received additional SEND training. And from it, I gained an incredible insight into supporting pupils with a range of complex needs including ASD, Down’s syndrome, visual impairment, dyslexia and cerebral palsy.


As a class teacher for four years, I adored the opportunity to attend and lead residential camps. I directed a lower school Christmas production and enjoyed running a series of after school clubs such as sock puppets and a drama club. My favourite subjects to teach are art and drama as pupils often surprise themselves in what they can achieve, which is lovely to see and be a part of.


In my third year of teaching, I worked at a school with an ASD and DLB resource base. This was a fantastic opportunity to support children with a range of needs and the chance to learn from many professionals within the SEND sector.


Seeing children flourish when they have a supportive team of staff around them has given me the drive to work closely with schools to help them find only the best employees for their SEND provisions.


I feel passionate about supporting children with SEND as children rarely come to school with a diagnosis so it’s up to staff to be sensitive and proactive in recognising their pupil’s needs.


In my spare time, I like to be active through hiking and attending exercise classes. I enjoy being creative and like to paint, make cards and knit. I’m an avid reader and relish challenging my friends to board games.


Would you like to work with Evie?

Evie covers the Swindon & Wiltshire areas for Axcis. If you are seeking work (or staff) in those locations, then get in touch with Evie today to see how she can help. Or if you’re seeking work in any other area, register online and we will put you in touch with your personal consultant in your local office.


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An Italian art teacher’s journey into the UK education system with Axcis. (Guest post)

Axcis candidate Emanuela Di Filippo shares the story of her journey into the UK education system in this guest blog.

About me

Ema has kindly shared her story of what it’s like to work with Axcis.

My roots run deep in Italy. Born and raised in Rome, I experienced a wonderful education in the public school and University system while enjoying the local artistic scene – such as the fantastic Roman ancient ruins, the local museums and art galleries, the wonderful weather and the Italian lifestyle. Since 2010 I have been living between England and Rome. Studying English and enthusiastic about the British culture, I started my first teaching experience in local English schools and my first art exhibitions in the local museums. I have obtained a BA in Painting and a MA from Academy of Fine Arts in Rome in 2009, and qualified teacher status (QTS) in 2012. Currently, I am working as an online tutor and as an artist. However, I am also looking for a position as an art teacher, Being both an artist and a teacher has accentuated my ability to perceive, understand, and create art. I am registered with Axcis in Bristol, and I invite you to visit my next artshow: Biba Inspiration, The Vestibules, City Hall, Bristol, supporting Studio Upstairs a Bristol and London art therapy charity.

My journey into the UK education system

Knowing of the teacher shortage in England and the difficult situation for teachers in Italy, in 2012 I gained my QTS in order to teach in England, and I started my new British adventure ….


In 2013 I moved to London looking to build my experience in the British school system, I started sending my CV to some local schools, but only a few answered and there were disappointments. I found lots of education recruitment agencies but I did not know which were the the most professional and honest so I felt lost and confused. This resulted in spending my first weeks in limbo in the vortex of voracious London, with only my hopes and dreams to support me.


One afternoon, I was in a photocopy shop in Ealing to print my CV for my next interview where I met by chance a lovely young lady who suggested  Axcis Education to me.  So I went home and  I sent my application … after a few hours I received an invitation for an interview at the main office in London …. and from there everything changed: I felt protected as an EU trained teacher, receiving understanding and support  from consultants. I started to work immediately as a TA in some special schools for the first months with the aim of working  as a teacher in the new school year.


My first day as a TA was in an SLD college in London –  I will never forget it. It was an intense and difficult day. I was thinking it could have been a very tough  journey in these schools but thanks to my determination and the support of the Axcis consultants, I went on collecting different experiences in different SEN schools – ranging from an SLD (specialist provision) to Primary (mainstream) They helped me to develop more skills and after six months of working as a TA, I moved to Essex and Axcis offered  me my first teaching role in a happy school in Romford. This gave me the opportunity to learn many more new things, and to meet teachers and support staff who dedicated their lives to these wonderful special students.


Today I am in Bristol – enrolled with the local Axcis office and looking to get closer to my goal of working as an art teacher and in the meantime carrying on my artistic research between fashion and art, aware of the importance of art as therapy, especially with some students.


I do not know if in the future I will have a career as an art teacher but I will never forget the support and professionalism of all the people who contribute to Axcis education. Many Thanks!

Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.