Rachael Howe

Name Rachael Howe
Job Title and Organisation

Research Assistant Intern for NeurALS project and Richard Taunton College transition project

Introduction/Background (experience, qualifications, current work/research, etc.)

I am a final year student at the University of Southampton studying for an MLang in German, Spanish, and Linguistics. I really enjoy working with young people and helping them to realise their full potential and will be commencing a PGCE in MFL this September. I also thoroughly enjoy research and the opportunity this provides to both expand and challenge my knowledge, and therefore it is my long-term ambition to undertake a PhD in Linguistics. 

I am a Research Assistant for the NeurALS project, which features an Action Learning group of colleagues from across the University and local FE colleges to help develop strategies that focus on both identifying and improving teaching, learning and awareness for students on the autism spectrum. The project is also working closely with Dr Marc Fabri from Leeds Beckett University who, along with European partners, has developed an online toolkit called Autism&Uni aimed at improving the transition experience of autistic students. Through the Action Learning Set meetings, we aim to all come together and reflect on the changes we have made and to establish next steps to continue to raise awareness of inclusive teaching and learning strategies.  

I am also involved in a transition project with Richard Taunton College and the University of Southampton. This is investigating how college students with additional needs feel about the transition to University and aims to gather their feedback through interviews and visits to the University, as well as through their evaluation of a bespoke transition programme that has been developed. As a part of the project, I will be carrying out semi-structured interviews with staff from the University and Richard Taunton College to gather further feedback and perspectives about the project.
What does the ACoRNS project mean to you? I really value the concept of inclusive educational environments and am looking forward to gaining more of an insight into this field and to use the skills and knowledge in my own teaching practises. I believe the emphasis on collaborative working between many different organisations within the ACoRNs project is what makes it so unique and I hope to be a part of engaging with others to find the best possible outcomes for children and young people with autism.    
Areas of interest I have a keen interest in language acquisition and psycholinguistics, especially concerning how language specific areas of the brain may become affected through language disorders. I would like to build on this knowledge to develop an understanding of neurodiversity in relation to the autism spectrum and contribute to finding strategies that support the educational experience for such students.

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