Richard Hirstwood is the founder of and lead consultant for Hirstwood Training.
He is passionate about enabling educators/practitioners to maximise the impact of delivering sensory learning opportunities, in a sensory room or other learning environment, with the resources available to them. He has developed innovative ways of delivering key skills and competencies via face to face training, coaching sessions and hands-on work with teachers and teaching assistants, as well as creating bespoke portfolios of training videos for more than a hundred individual schools and settings.
His extensive experience is based on practical knowledge, giving him insight into what works and what doesn’t in multi sensory practice. Regular sessions with children and adults with autism and all additional needs in a variety of multi sensory and classroom settings enable him to maintain this level of excellent practice.
Along with Mark Gray, Richard was the co-author of ‘The practical guide to multi sensory rooms’ (1995) and contributed a chapter in ‘Dual Sensory Impairment’ (1995) with Clive Smith. His most recent published work is a featured chapter in ‘Technology for SEND in Primary Schools: A Guide for Best Practice’ (2017) .
Richard continues to create both offline and online learning content. He believes in the importance of freely sharing new ideas, training strategies & resources via social media, especially through his YouTube channel, which currently has 3252 subscribers and over a million views!
In 2019 he completed an online training resource for London Grid for Learning (LGFL) called ‘Multi sensory learning,’ which is now accessible to over 700 mainstream and special schools. ‘Multi sensory learning’ provides a structured approach, which is split into different modules and provides video, text, photographs, key points and thinking points for professionals to work through to gain an understanding of how to implement changes to their practice to benefit their learners.
Recently, Richard has been at the forefront of the recent changes in the UK special education curriculum hosting conferences; bringing schools together to share experiences and facilitate further discussion.