August 2016

Better buddies Research by Missouri scientists found that many young adults with autism used animals of all sizes as a source of companionship. More

Education gap Councils are not meeting their legal obligations to people with high functioning autism. The move to education health and care (EHC) plans in 2014 might mean that some young people with autism are missing out on vital support. More

Help early It seems there is strong support for the link between early diagnosis and getting appropriate help. More

Law to act Countries around the world are finally getting around to banning the fake ‘bleach cure’ that has harmed people with autism. More

Apply the facts So does Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) work with autism or not? Let’s revisit some of the theory. More

It could be a big umbrella ASC may be a pattern of conditions that sit under an umbrella with some other “near cousins”. American researchers have suggested that Autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may have more in common than previously thought. 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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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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