September 2016

Art spectrum Niam Jain doesn't speak much. But ever since the 13-year-old picked up a paintbrush last summer, he's found a way to express himself, and the art world is listening More

Great courses Here’s a range of autism training opportunities to suit everyones needs. Use the summer months to plan which workshop is for you. More

Stand up for autism Like many stand-up comics, John Williams wanted to talk about his family in his show – but his son has autism. He explains why it’s OK to laugh during his act More

Pokémon Go Released in the UK in earlier this month, is played by users walking around the real world to catch virtual Pokémon animals. It appears the game's mix of real and virtual reality has helped to break down many of the social barriers autistic people feel when they are out in public More

Female fact there is growing evidence that more girls and women have the condition than was originally thought and that it is being significantly under-diagnosed. More

Thinking sleep Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term form of therapy that focuses on changing how a person thinks about and reacts to specific situations. Research seems to suggest it is effective with sleep problems in autism. More

More mental health Families of people with autism have expressed concern about a lack of research and specialism into treating mental illness. Four out of five people with the condition will suffer from mental health problems at some point in their lives More

Tough job Microsoft wants autistic coders. Can it find them and keep them? Job interviews can be especially hard if you're autistic. A Microsoft effort aimed at a wider spectrum of the workforce wants to solve that More

Autism creates Research has long shown a link between certain neurological conditions and artistic skills, which comes as no surprise to some creative directors. More

Finding friends When Bob Cornelius went to his youngest son's back-to-school night, he stopped to admire their projects displayed on the wall. He spotted his little boy's assignment and hurriedly snapped a proud photo of the completed questionnaire. However, when Bob took a second look at the image later that night, he realized something heartbreaking. More

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July 2016

Great ‘communicationship’ That’s what we will be talking about on a new series of workshops for parents and professionals. Using technology to get better connection and understanding with young people with autism is a great idea. Teaming up with Tobii Dynavox we will be ‘appy to show you how! Workshops are in Manchester and Birmingham

Taking it home A University of Manchester-led study is testing whether an intervention with parents and teachers can help children with autism transfer newly acquired social communication skills from home into school. More

Safe healthcare for all Nurses and healthcare workers have been issued with new guidance on caring for people with learning disabilities. The toolkit provides advice on health issues ranging from how to take someone's temperature to how to resuscitate them. It has been drawn up by social care organisation Turning Point with the aim of helping services improve the physical health of people with learning disabilities and their quality of life. More

No stereotypes please Somehow it’s seen as OK to caricature people with autism – they’re cold, they’re savants, they’re IT geniuses who fill Silicon Valley. It’s time to call out these lazy stereotypes that do real damage. More

Quest for quality services Three residential centres for people with autism have been taken over by the Health Service Executive at the direction of the Health Information and Quality Authority. An unannounced inspection of Dunfirth Farm, the biggest of the three centres with 34 residents, was triggered by a notification of significant incidents of concern leading to injuries to residents. More

Skills for hire What are the benefits of employing someone with autism? Many employers aren’t aware that people with autism, including those with Asperger syndrome, can be extremely well-skilled, highly qualified and employable individuals. More

Learn with BBC Some really good interactive learning resources to raise awareness and understanding on the BBC website. More

Great courses Here’s a range of autism training opportunities to suit everyones needs. Use the summer months to plan which workshop is for you. More

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June 2016

Play to learn Play provides some of a child’s first opportunities to rehearse social interactions, generate novel ideas, toy with symbolism and develop narratives — skills that serve us later in life, particularly in our highly social world. Indeed, children who engage in more complex play early in development show greater social competence at later ages. For children with autism, however, these opportunities do not present themselves so easily. More

Teachers get it Teachers will be taught how to support children with autism for the first time following months of campaigning from charities, parents and MPs, it has emerged. Campaigners have said that with more than one in 100 children on the autism spectrum and over 70 per cent of them going to mainstream schools every teacher will have autistic students in their classes at some point. Yet, autism training is not mandatory for teachers and some have no special educational needs training at all, leaving them unable to deal with complex issues that could damage a child’s education. More

Super Sensory 1k! Part of Parallel London, this race encourages participants to exercise their senses over a course comprised of a multitude of sensory experiences. Use the code ”positive” in the coupon box to get a 20% discount! More

Autism’s a drama A coming-of-age documentary about a man with autism is set to debut at theatres across the US this summer. “Life, Animated” will be released starting July 1 at movie theatres in New York and Los Angeles, with at least a dozen other markets already committed to showing the film later in July and August. The film is based on the best-selling book “Life Animated: a story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism” by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind about his son, Owen, who has autism. More

That’s quality! People with a learning disability are being asked to contribute to new tests that will help improve NHS services ranging from dentistry to acute care, NHS England has announced.The NHS Quality Checkers programme employs people with a learning disability to inspect local NHS services and provide advice on how they can better meet their needs and those of other patients. More

SAP and autism’s strengths Cloud and software company SAP has employed 100 members of staff who are on the autistic spectrum through a targeted recruitment initiative. The tech giant’s diversity director urges firms to ‘look beyond the qualifications and interview skills’ that autistic people struggle with. More

Mask for the world “It doesn’t matter if a kid is high or low functioning, they are a person, a conscious person who simply operates on different rules than you. It’s not their fault you don’t get it. High-functioning people are sometimes lucky enough to learn how to hide it. That’s the mask. The fact that we have to hide, that we ever felt we wouldn’t be accepted for who we are, is a tragedy.”. Read this great blog on Wrong Planet. More

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May 2016

Being a good sport “The intrinsic importance of social skills in sport means it can be a more effective approach than traditional therapies to improve social skills, anxiety - and bring many other benefits besides”. More

Gaze with words A new study has found that children with autism are capable of learning new words the same way any child would -- by following someone's gaze as they name an object. They just take longer to pick up the skill. More

Chance for dancer A young man who is "autistic and proud" has been chosen as a charity ambassador. Aston-Martin Avery, 24, from Pitsea will help children and adults adjusting to the condition after being chosen to represent Anna Kennedy Online. The charity works to make people on the autism spectrum feel included in society, and aims to raise awareness of the challenges they face daily. More

Differently abled Work programmes are so important. Economically and psychologically they hold the answer for so many people on the spectrum. With over 85% unemployment in ASC there’s plenty of scope! More

Thinking visually “Many autistic people think visually. As a young child who thought visually I was often thought to be stubborn and insisting upon my own way when in reality I was merely trying to keep ahold of a thought.” Judy Endow explains how to work with visual thinking and deploy simple strategies to deflect potential meltdowns. More

Too much information The National Autistic Society campaign has got everyone thinking. Kane is 19 and has Asperger syndrome. He’s a student and lives at home with his family. His care worker challenged him to spend a day map-reading in London. He describes his reactions to uncertainty, complex and seemingly illogical decisions of where to go and why, combined with an overload of visual stimulation, noise and feeling singled out and stared at. More

Caring about canines A 6-year-old California boy is helping shy rescue dogs come out of their shells by reading them storybooks. Jacob Tumalan, 6, who has autism, began reading to pups after his aunt, Lisa Dekowski-Ferranti, brought him to Carson Animal Shelter in Gardena, California, where she and her daughter Lindsay volunteer. More

Different for girls? The NHS released a report on autism at the beginning of this year that for the first time discusses addressing the specific needs of autistic women. But Carol Povey of the National Autistic Society (NAS), who contributed to the report, says many in the medical profession still fail to recognise the condition in women.“I think there is still a long way to go,” Povey says. “For your average GP I think they still have this picture of autism being a young child and a boy.” More

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April 2016

Sailing on the spectrum “It's not plain sailing by any means and being a parent of an autistic child while wanting to help your child and going through the process of diagnosis into this unknown world can be, and is, very scary.” Read a great blog by Jo as part of the National Autistic Society - Too Much Information campaign. More

Eye gaze finds New findings about where children with autism look during conversations could lead to changes in programmes designed to help them, researchers say. More

Easy as AAC Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is one of the most important strategies we adopt to help kids and adults with autism, especially with difficult behaviour. Or put it the other way… Good communication strategies really help limit frustration and this has a positive effect on behaviour and happiness! If you missed our webinar then you can watch it on YouTube. More

Great (Sensory) Story Sensory stories are a brilliantly simple resource: they are stories that use concise text, which is great for individuals who struggle to process language. Not having to cope with lots and lots of words means you have more time to focus on and understand their meaning. The stories are usually under ten sentences long. Each sentence is paired with a sensory experience that represents the meaning of the sentence. More

Garden and grow Gardening has the potential to empower those with autism, building their confidence to cope with the outside world. More

Parenting from inside autism For Dena Gassner, a mother of two, being diagnosed with autism at 38 years old was a game-changer. “It doesn’t define me, but it explains me... I’ve been able to see how my autism affects me, and I’ve been able to adapt for it,” she says. More

The E word We may have been wrong about autism and empathy. Or at least explained it poorly. People with autism make moral decisions in a similar manner to those without the condition, according to a new study. Difficulties with certain “mind reading” abilities doesn’t mean folk on the spectrum are without feelings for others! More

No party for students How to help autistic students succeed at university? Campus life can be particularly challenging for those with autism, but there are simple steps academics can take to reduce anxiety and confusion. More

Work waste Globally, the United Nations reckons that 80% of those with autism are not in the workforce.These numbers represent a tragic human toll, as millions of people live isolated from the world of work. More

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