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Animated explanation of Autism

This You Tube video demonstrates very easily what autism is all about, without lengthy explanations.It was made in April this year, by a group of professionals who want better understanding of autism to reach the masses. Click here

The company who put the video together have many other plans and projects currently being worked on.This is a quote from their website:

"We aim to plant a little understanding and acceptance of autism in future generations. There's a big lack of engaging visual material about autism for children, and we want to help fill this gap. By addressing this difficult topic at an early age we hope to help children understand the strengths, as well as the difficulties, associated with autism while preventing stigmas and erroneous stereotypes, which are usually borne out of misinformation.

Here's what we want to do

With help from various autism experts, we are inviting children on the autistic spectrum to share their own stories, experiences and view of the world, in their own words. We'll animate their words and put together 5 additional instalments to complete a 6 part series. The animations will be published online for free without geographic restrictions or advertising. It will be downloadable for use in locations without internet access and released under a Creative Commons license, therefore anyone will be able to use it anywhere as long as it's not being used for profit.

Will it work?

It's already working. This series is a follow-up project to Alex Amelines' introduction to autism for children by the same name: Amazing Things Happen. Since its release in April 2017 it has been viewed over 50 million times, dubbed into 19 languages and shared over a million times. We have been overwhelmed by positive, supportive messages from individuals on the spectrum, parents, teachers and autism professionals describing how it has helped them to explain and promote understanding of autism.

The company Kickstarter have other projects in hand that you or your children with autism may be able to be part of, so please check out their website to enable greater understanding and help for those affected by autism.
Click here

Autism in Action film available from April 2017

Take a look at this film, shot locally by Rural Media in Herefordshire
This film was made working with people on the spectrum, who know first hand what it is like to be unemployed, yet are desperate to get a job
Rural Media also involved the Hereford branch of the NAS, and the Autism Partnership Board..
Click here to view

Flight cards for people with Autism

If you are travelling on board a flight with someone who has autism, did you know there are picture cards available to help explain what is happening as you board and take off?
The cards have been developed by a former British Airways stewardess, who now has a son with autism.
The laminated picture cards also have simplistic written sentences to help travellers cope better with the strange happenings around them. There are different versions to cater for the various levels of reading age. They are also suitable for adults with autism too.

Click here to view the link.

GP satisfaction for Autism patients/ their family carers

From time to time, it's important to get information out and feedback from those who are at the forefront of autism, and this is one such time!

It was identified at the Autism Partnership Board recently that GPs are very important people with regard to those on the spectrum, and in collaboration with Healthwatch the Board are seeking those who are either on the spectrum or their parent/ carers to participate in a survey online. It asks:

What do you think about GP services in Herefordshire?

This survey is based on the recommendations from the Royal College of GPs, because they made Autism a clinical priority 2014-2017. Were you even aware of this or perhaps have noticed a change in approach/ understanding towards you?

It's very important to get the picture right across the country, so that both good practise and need is demonstrated. Is rural Herefordshire achieving or neglecting the needs of those on the spectrum? Money or cuts should not come in to this priority. Simple actions by GPs can make such a difference.

You will see from articles in this magazine the effect it has when people receive an assessment and diagnosis.

The survey asks questions such as:

Is your GP aware of your condition or need for assessment?
Do your medical notes reflect the diagnosis? (at the top)
Is a specific code on your notes indicating to the diagnosis to the receptionist?
Do you have a Patient Passport, and do you use it?
Are appointments lengthened to accommodate your need?
Has your GP practice had autism awareness training?
Are there good or bad things you would like to mention about the GP practice?
Your age and sex
The name of the practice

All answers are confidential to the survey, but without them, making Autism a clinical priority will not succeed. Just check out the online link, it will only take a few minutes!

to view the link.

Autism Seminar 18th November

HDU are holding an Autism Seminar at Hinton Community Centre, Hereford from 11.00- 2.30 pm
This is a free event with guest speakers and a networking lunch. Further details available soon

New NAS branch for Hereford

Starting September 2015, at long last we have a local branch of the National Autistic Society specifically set up in Herefordshire.

Click here to open their welcoming letter

Autism news....Autism Grounds Plane

This was not Juliette Beegle's first rodeo. Well-travelled, she had 22 states and 8 countries under her 15-year-old belt. But last week was the very first time an airline opted for an emergency, mid-flight landing so that they could usher her and her family off the plane. Why? Heartbreakingly, it seems it was because of her autism

If you would like to read the whole article from the United States then check out this link
click here

Welcome to the autism@icn December 2014 newsletter!

UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience issues regular newsletters following research they are undertaking in cognitive studeies of autism.
Click here
to view

Being diagnosed with Autism aged 55

An article in the Mail on Sunday on 26th October 2014, highlights the issues which one female had when not being diagnosed until the age of 55

Click here
to view

Autism Passports to help when out and about or going to hospital

The NAS has produced some very useful personal passport templates which may be useful when going to new or stressful places. This might include hospital, the police,the doctors, or the job centre as well as other new surroundings.

The idea is that you can show the person who greets you, your NAS passport, in which you will have entered special information about yourself. It advises what upsets you, how stress affects your mood, and the fact that you do not have issues with mental capacity.

The personal passport can show simple pictures or icons which explain the difficulties you may experience. This might be the fact that touch by others disturbs you, which of course is something doctors and nurses may not realise, but need to do in order to help get treatment.

Some local GP surgeries are starting to realise these passports are important and copies may be in their racks of useful information leaflets.

However if you would like to download your own, then click on the links below to open, read and download both examples

Click here
to view

Click here
to view

Test the local Offer for pupils and students up to age 25 years

Access the Local Offer pages:
click here
to view the link.

Accessible autism friendly cinema screenings,Hereford

Once a month friendly screenings at the Odeon Hereford are now in operation
They differ by having less sound and lights not so dimly lit. Also no adverts, just the film you want to see

Click here
to view the link.

NAS Campaign for Change

You have until 15th August to make sure the new care system takes autism into account
Check out the NAS website and give your opinion on four questions

click here
to view the link.

Autism Partnership Draft Minutes

The second meeting of the Autism Partnership met at the Shire Hall in Hereford on 5th June

Click here
to view June 2014 draft minutes.

2nd Autism issue newsletter

Click Here for further details

HDU 2nd Autism Seminar 25th June

The venue is Hinton Community Centre, Hereford from 10.30- 2.30 pm.
Click here
to view the poster
This FREE event will include information on the new Education Health care Plan which will replace "Statementing" in schools from September 2014. To contact for futher information email: or ring 07817 473813

Autism Awareness Sessions

Monthly advise sessions on educational issues for parents of children and young adults with autism in Herefordshire.
The sessions are part of a new government-funded project that has been set up as part of the education and health reforms, with a move towards "Education Health Care Plans being implemented nationally from September 2014.
Next session 12th May.Follow the link to check out what Autism West Midlands are doing.

click here
to view the link.

Think Autism update April 2014

.Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives, the strategy for adults in England April 2014.

Click here
to open the report

World Autism Day 2014 Celebration

Watch the BBC2 Horizon programme at 9.00 pm on Tuesday 1st April which covers 50 years of autism. On the BBC website there is a clip and the programme available to view for a limited period.

Horizon programme on autism details
Click here
to view the link

Latest from Herefordshire on Autism March 2014

What the National Autistic Society say about Herefordshire and autism

Click here
to open the report

Department of Health discussion document on Adult Autism Strategy

Click here
to read the report

Two events have taken place in February which show hopeful signs of movement on how autism is percieved locally, and how national intervention may push forward change.

The first on 13th February saw the bringing together of people from public services, support organisations, people on the autistic spectrum and their family carers at a meeting held at the council Brockington Offices.

The meeting chaired by Bob Parker, Interim Director of Safeguarding and Transformation in Herefordsire kicked off with a round table introduction by each attendee, explaining their reason for being present as well as personal circumstances in relation to autism.

This laid the foundation of deep knowledge and lived experiences for those in power to understand more of the condition. It was well tempered with no one taking centre stage and a mutual understanding that those on the autistic spectrum need respect and a life which rebefits their intelligence.

Whilst the Terms of Reference to establish a Steering Group were provided for discussion this was not the time to agree them, as more time was needed plus other essential areas to be established. Although twenty three people were present, there was a noticable lack of anyone representing the police/ criminal justice system and this will be amended for the next meeting.

John Gorman Support Commissioning Officer, took notes
Click here
to read the minutes

It is hoped that from this the Steering Group for Autism will be formed, to co-operate in the development of the local action plan.

As the meeting closed we were then invited to be present on 19th February when a delegation from the Department of health were due to discuss the local/ national autism strategy. Many people stayed longer to further develop networking opportuniities and contact details.

The meeting held on 19th February when delegates from the Department of Health came to Hereford and meet with local reprresentatives proved a worthy event.
Click here
to read the minutes

Autism why champion the cause?

The implementation of the Autism Act, passed in 20009 was intended to lead the way in improving the lives of those with autism. Signalled as a new starting point the National Autistic Society (NAS) hoped to see changes throughout the country and conducted a national consultation to see the state of provision in each county with a repeat planned in summer 2013.

In July 2013, Hereford Council conducted a draft autism strategy consultation utilising the Engagement Team to collate information. Local groups could offer to hold events/ meetings to gain insight into the needs/ state of autism provision, with the strategic team drawing evidence/ needs together as part of implementing the Autism Act. This is where Herefordshire Disability United (HDU) became interested.

HDU being aware of the local consultation at our open Meeting in July invited John Gorman (Adult Well -being Directorate) to speak and explain the intent and reasoning for the consultation. Only one of the fifty strong audience had heard of this consultation, this person has a son with autism. Others wanted to know more and be involved. Word spread, interested support groups offered arrangements for meetings one of which was attended by committee members of HDU. The compilation of the strategy was due out by November 2013.

Late July 2013 the NAS policy officer contacted the chair of HDU to see what was known about local implementation of the Autism Act. This formed part of the NAS national consultation for summer 2013. They were keen to see what progress had been made in each county location. From here, to ensure action happened in Hereford, HDU organised a seminar for 27th November inviting the NAS, Hereford Council Strategy Team, support organisation and of course those affected by autism along with the family carers. This proved to be a wise move as a sixty strong audience came together at Hinton Community centre for four hours, to question the state of autism in Herefordshire. Response was far in excess of expectation, which can only be seen as a clear indication of the strength of feeling for action

The NAS provided two speakers, Tom Purser the Policy Officer and Lesley Waugh lead for Personalisation. John Gorman also briefly outlined the state of implementation currently during the morning session, whilst after lunch defined anticipated action. Also speaking was Martin Titcombe who a gave a brief synopsis of training staff who are employed in the care of those with profound autism

Workshops saw provision of set questions to each table, where facilitators encouraged open discussion steering the conversation to benefit all, whilst note takers were kept busy recording appropriate points. These are the questions used.

Question 1. Think about the following groups of people, and discuss how you rate their response to autism in your experience: The health service Job centres Police/courts Employers Education Public Libraries Public Service employees
Question 2 How would you improve their response?
Question 3 Are you aware of any adjustments made by the above groups to aid access to those with autism?
Question 4 Referrals/ diagnosis, do you have knowledge of how the procedure works in Herefordshire, and how can this be improved?
Question 5 Crisis management. Have you found the structure functions or does it need amending?
Question 6 What good practice has been uncovered locally/ further afield?
Question 7 Any other comments
Question 8 If an Autism Board is set up in Herefordshire who should be involved?
Question 9 How often should the Board meet and on what focus with possible references to other rural boards
Question 10
Where /when should the Board meet, and how would it feedback to local people?

Feedback at the end of the day asked for one positive and one negative comment from each table. This one sums up the mood of the day:
“There was more expertise around the tables than found in those running service provision ” Attendees were asked to complete brief feedback forms so that HDU could be sure the seminar had covered what it set out to do as well as plan for the future.