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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March 2016

Viewpoint: 'Children see a person not a disability’ Read this really thought provoking blog about how children and adults ‘see’ disability differently. More


Smells like success! Everybody loves a good coffee and one barista with autism is making the news as well as great java “Sam really stood out to me when I actually met him. He told me one of his dreams – he wanted to be a barista and I tried to make that happen”. More


Difficult age Many older people have lived a life with undiagnosed autism, leading to isolated and neglected lives in the community. Can they depend on social care to understand? More


Tough call Take a look at this survey of people on the spectrum who have had phone interviews with the Department of Work and Pensions about benefits. More


Don’t judge “As I watched this conversation unfold I was struck, once again, by the disconnect between what most of the world believes about autism and Autistic people and the reality”. Emma Zurcher-Long is a thirteen-year old Autistic girl living in NYC. She is a public speaker, writer and likes to sing on stage. Emma applauds those who have found, or are in the process of finding, their individual voice, as she has through typing. More


Respite fight Short breaks are among the most fundamental services for supporting families with disabled children. They provide a lifeline for many families, helping to hold them together and preventing them from reaching breaking point. More


Lives uncovered When Rashmi Becker had to step up and care for her autistic brother she had no idea it would lead her to a PhD at Cambridge University, but after a two-year project capturing the real lives of people with learning disabilities she is committed to help improve the treatment they receive. More


Play has it Preschool teachers may be able to play a significant role in helping kids with autism improve their language and social skills by using a play-based intervention called Joint Attention Symbolic Play Engagement and Regulation, or JASPER. More



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March 2016

It’s childs play! Well actually responding to the unique play style in autism is far from easy. Learn more and explore resources on the Big Autism Play Day. More


Thinking sensory, learning sensory
That’s what kids on the spectrum do so that’s what we’ll be doing on these great sensory awareness days. There’s one near you so come along. More


Great sister - great app
A 12-year-old girl was inspired to develop an app with her friends thanks to her sister, who is on the autism spectrum. Eashana Subramanian said she noticed how having a routine was important to her 9-year-old sister, Meghana. More


Same for girls?
Well it’s still an area that needs some hard research - do girls get a different style or blend of autism? Take a look at some recent research. More


Swift response Taylor swift has helped one young fellow on the spectrum try a therapy dog. More


Brain explained We might think we know the brain but we probably know more about the solar system! Here’s a piece of science that moves our understanding of the brain and autism a tad further forward. More


Training downer Specialist autism training for social workers declined in the year before Care Act reforms. The proportion of local authorities with 75% of assessors trained up in autism fell last year, finds Public Health England report. More


Help police Police officers should be helped to show greater sensitivity and awareness when dealing with autistic adults, according to a groundbreaking study that found most had never had any training on the condition. More


One life Folk on the spectrum are living their autism one day at a time. Follow Imogen’s story. “Having high functioning Autism and Tourette’s just makes life just a little bit difficult and interesting”. More


Good nights behaviour Many children with autism have difficulty sleeping and new research suggests that such nighttime troubles may be directly tied to behavioural issues. More




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January 2016


Making waves
Autism and sporting excellence. Here’s a bunch of great young people with autism going against the tide of low expectation. More

What’s in a name? Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community. More

Take care
Children who are sentenced to a period in secure care are automatically categorised as looked-after children (if they were not before), not prisoners. Therefore, they should expect the same level of care and protection as all children in our care system. More

Sound sense "The sounds of our lives change our brain, in our lab, we investigate how our life in sound changes the brain, and how different forms of enrichment or decline influence how our brain processes sound." Nina Kraus. More

Lots more ideas and resources at the Big Autism Play Day - coming soon!

Early diagnosis Donald Grey Triplett was the first person to be diagnosed with autism. The fulfilling life he has led offers an important lesson for today, John Donvan and Caren Zucker write. More

Gender gap Autism is much more common in males than females. Leading researchers talk about their recent work into understanding the sex/gender differences in autism on this podcast. More




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