CRAE Webinar Series: Brian Irvine

Purple poster advertising the February CRAE Webinar. Brian Irvine will be talking about "Framing and reframing: Specialist (Autism) Mentoring in UK higher education institutions" on Thursday 2nd February 2023 at 4pm, GMT.

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TITLE: Framing and reframing: Specialist (Autism) Mentoring in UK HEIs

In this webinar, Brian Irvine will discuss his work in creating a framework for Specialist (Autism) Mentoring. This year more than 16,000 autistic students are attending universities in the UK alone. The students receive funding for a Specialist (Autism) Mentor who they meet with once or twice a week to talk about well … everything. Brian’s research with autistic mentee hypothesisers, mentor diaries and an autistic majority forum of master mentors started to look at what was going on. It might be best to describe mentoring as a process of framing and reframing in which mentees identify and speak about joys and hurdles, mentees and mentors together develop strategies for thriving or surviving University, and mentors have a special role in having the mentees back as a source of gentle encouragement and motivation. If we think about these three things as diagnostic, prognostic and motivational it’s situates mentoring as an outworking of a social frame alignment. Perhaps then, mentoring in other spheres can learn from this paradigm. Perhaps mentoring – in whatever sphere you find yourself – should be a little less concerned about inducting a protégé to an institution culture, and more about empowering mentee to change that culture.

Brian joined the Superior Perceptual Capacity in Autism project at CRAE, UCL last summer after submitting his PhD in A Framework for Specialist (Autism) Mentoring at ACER at the University of Birmingham. He is a proponent of autism gain – where the compassion, certainty and calm of institutions that are working on their autism appreciation become better for everyone who works there.

He has mentored autistic students at Royal Holloway, University of London where, over the last decade, he has had the pleasure of regular meetings with many brilliant students as they journeyed through their university life. Before then, he worked in an autism inclusion unit in a primary school, was a child minder who called himself a manny, and – last century – was Head of RE in a secondary modern. For fun he creates quiet by keeping bees.

The webinar will take place online on Thursday, 2nd February 2023, at 16.00 -17.00 GMT.

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