Autism Events I: Norwich

The first in a series of posts about a couple of autism events that I ahve attemded recently.


I have had the good fortune to attend two autism events in the last few days. NAS West Norfolk, of which I am branch secertary funded my attendance at both events, and so I travelled with a bundle of NAS West Norfolk leaflets as well as my own personal cards. This is the first of  a series of blog posts I will be writing about these events, and therefore includes a…


  • Thursday daytime: Autism Anglia information sharing event at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
  • Thursday evening: public meeting on trans liberation at the Vauxhall Community Centre, Norwich
  • Friday daytime: work day.
  • Friday evening: supper at my aunt’s house.
  • Saturday all day: Anna Kennedy Autism Expo at the Eastern Gateway Building, Brunel University, nr Uxbridge

I hope that the above makes it clear why I am only just starting this series of posts and why I still have a large number of photos from the last few days to edit.


The bus ran a bit late, which meant that I arrived at the venue later than I would have liked. However, I was in time to get into the first talk I had booked for, Alan Bicknell of Autism Anglia talking about “The Uniqueness of Autism”. I impressed the speaker with three useful interventions – first up responsing to his request for a ‘guess’ as to how many people in the UK were likely to be on the autistic spectrum. I reasoned in Holmesian fashion that given the UK’s overall population and the popularly reckoned instance of autism being 1 in 68 the figure was likely to be somewhere in the region of 1,000,000. I was in the right ball park, with the speaker’s own reckoning being somewhere in the region of 800,000. My second intervention was to identify the author of the the ‘Thomas the Tank Engine‘ stories (Reverend W Awdry – his son Christopher continuing the family tradition). My third and final intervention was in response to his question “Can we all be a little bit autistic?” To which I said a very firm no, and backed this up when asked to expand on that answer by stating that ‘we are all a little bit autistic’ cheapens and demeans the very real difficulties faced by those of who are #actuallyautistic. He thanked me for making those points, and subsequently when I spoke to him after the talk he again thanked me for my contributions.


Alan Bicknell speaking

Uniqueness of Autism


Ms Hutchings is autistic herself, and her talk was based around her own life and experiences, before focussing on educating autistic people. This was in the same venue as the first talk I had booked to attend. Sian’s talk was absolutely amazing, and although the photographs with which I end this post give you some basic idea of it, you really had to be there to hear it.

Autism Education & Me
These big screens look a lot like giant Ipads, and as I saw when one speaker poked the screen in making a point they also work a bit like giant Ipads – he was a bit discombobulated when the next slide appeared early.
Their size is not the only thing about this screens the connects them to giants!
Sian Hutchings
Sian Hutchings

Sian and hatsHelping Autistic StudentsSian's social media


Midweek Medley III

A little bit of everything.


A sharing post again! I am doing stuff first tomorrow and then Saturday that will provide material for a number of blog posts, so watch this space…


Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK is working on (among many other things) a project he calls the Ten Commandments of Tax. Below is a graphic of his first draft.

My next piece comes from The Guardian, and is Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley on why the Greens will not simply fold into Labour. It is an excellent piece, well worth  reading. I would say that Labour and the Greens can work together, and that if Labour are able to form a government after the next General Election they should still seek to put Ms Lucas in charge of environmental policy even if they have an outright majority that would entitle them appoint ministers exclusively from their own ranks.

This feeds nicely into the final piece in this section, a petition calling for Environmental Studies to be part of the National Curriculum. As this petition is on the official site for petitiions to the UK parliament only UK citizens can sign it – if you are one and want to sign it please click on the screenshot below:



We begin this section with a link to a post on Cambria’s Big Fat Autistic Blog titled “Preparing for April, the Trauma Month“. It sets out in detail just why “Autism Awareness Month” is actually not a good time for autistic people, and I recommend everyone to read it. Below is the infographic that heads the post:

My next link is from the the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and is titled “The Toxicity of “Autism Parent” Memoirs“. Please note that this piece does not at any point even suggest that parents of autistic children should not write about their children’s experiences – it merely points out recent examples where this has been done in a way that is not acceptable.

My next post, courtesy of Fire Bright Star Soul, is an example of a parent of an autistic child writing about one of said child’s experiences in exactly the right way. “Autistic and Suspended” could serve as a model for how to write such stories. Below is a quote from the middle of the piece (the first of the two paragraphs is italicised in the original as well):

I spoke with the assistant principal of her grade, and he was compassionate, thoughtful and had an easy way with B. After speaking with both him and me, she decided not to have me take her home from school but try to push through it and stay the rest of the day. I was extremely proud of her for making that effort, and it worked. It’s a step toward success for her, because she is making progress to self regulation and learning that even if she has a meltdown, it doesn’t mean the ruin of the rest of her day. She can calm down, pick herself up and keep going. This won’t always be the case of course, but it’s an achievement on her part that I am happy to celebrate for the victory that it absolutely is. A year ago she would have been down for the entire day.

A word: By now you are probably aware that I follow a strict self-restraining policy of not posting any detail of my daughter’s life as an autistic without her express consent, and this is no different. We discussed this last night, and I explained why I wanted to write about it. She was amenable to this, so here we are.


In “Midweek Medley II” I posed the following problem from brilliant:

the cube

Below is the answer and then one of the published solutions:


Here is Geoff Pilling’s very succinct explanation:

There is 1 way you can have three reds all adjacent, and 2 ways you can have two of the reds be on opposite edges (distinguished by whether the green is opposite the third red or not). That gives,

1+2 = 3
My new problem for you, also from brilliant, is a variation on a very old theme, which caught a surprising number of solvers on the hop:


As the world knows (since many of us Brits are absolute drama queens about such matters) we have recently had some rough weather, which means I do not have as many pictures at my disposal as usual, but here are some:

Sandringham Railway Path
Although the weather had definitely eased by Saturday not all the snow had melted

Snowy walksblackbirdGulls in the snowWillows and snowFlowers IThe Walks floral sign

I-pad 1
Musical keys ran as normal.

Yellow flowersMoorhen

gull and lapwing
Today was wet at times, but never really cold (though I would have advised against anyone going out without a coat)
A redshank near the Nar outfall, earlier today.

Midweek Medley II

A mixed bag of bits and pieces from around the net and some of my own stuff, including photographs.


Yes folks it is time for sharing post, including some of my own photographs. I have a lot of interesting stuff to share, starting with…


The bodytext of this section is in #RedInstead because it relates to Autism. To be exact, today marks 20 years since Andrew Wakefield published his “research” indicating a link between autism and vaccines. One impact his decision to go straight to the press without having his “research” peer reviewed first (it was badly flawed, and that is being kind) had was to cause measles to become a significant factor in parts of the UK as parents declined to have their children vaccinated. There can be no comparison between autism (a neurological DIFFERENCE – and don’t forget that different is not a synonym for lesser) and measles (a dangerous illness). However, in the minds of some parents, fear of autism has been sufficient to prevent them from vaccinating. Mr Wakefield has since decamped to the US (Texas to be exact), and he has just weighed in on an election in his new home, supporting the challenger against the current incumbent, republican Sarah Davis, who has supported vaccines. I am not USian, nor based in the area where this election is taking place, but if there is anything that could induce to me to vote for a republican it would the likes of Wakefield urging a vote for their opponent.

I end this section with some links:


I start with a link to a piece by John Jonasson of The Photo Bloggers, titled “En dag med uttrarna – A day with the otters” – as an aperitif here is a picture showing two of the creatures:

Having just celebrated nature with the above link, here from closer to home, is a link to a petition by the Green Party calling for a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century. Please sign and share.

I finish this mini section back here in Norfolk, bringing up a topic close to my heart. Stagecoach are closing their King’s Lynn depot on April 30th (a king sized betrayal of Norfolk Green, the company they bought to get that depot) and will not be running any Norfolk routes thereafter. This leaves Konect, Lynx Buses, First, Sanders Coach Services and West Norfolk Community Transport to pick up the pieces. Our bus routes are very important to us, not least since thanks to Dr Beeching our county has no train routes to speak of. Thus I bring you a 38 Degrees petition calling on the council to work with these companies to ensure that the Coasthopper service (under threat of being entirely shut down) keeps running. Please sign and share the petition, via the screenshot below:



Autistic Bill of

There have been two posts created by people responding to my Sunshine Blogger Award nominations. Anna’s response which handles the entire brief is also titled “Sunshine Blogger Award” and is an excellent effort. I have already reblogged stimtheline’s Sunshine Blogger Questions“, which does a magnificent job of answering my questions, and I share it once again now. 

The Autism Women’s Network have recently produced a piece titled “Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group?” (spoiler: the answer is yes).

I end with a link to the petition to save the Morley House Respite Unit, which now has just over 3,200 signatures – please sign and share!


This meeting will be taking place in Norwich on the evening of March 8th (I will be in Norwich that day on behalf of NAS West Norfolk and will stay on for the meeting):

Norwich Trans liberation 2018 A6 cmyk


This is not too difficult IMO, from my regular source,

the cube


These are all from Monday:

BriggsSun on waterCormorantsCormorantCormorants and gullsNeck StretchflappingGreat OuseCormoranr vignettedMoorhenfemale blackbirdMoon 1Moon 2CMsCM x 5CM brownCM x 3CM whiteCM black


Autism Acceptance Months II – Luke Beardon Joins The Fray

Sharing a wonderful post on the theme of autism accpetance from Luke Beardon. As this is a pure sharing post comments are closed – please comment on the original.


Yesterday I was inspired by a wonderful piece of work done by Jennifer Lisi to create a blog post titled “Autism Acceptance Months“. Well I was not alone in being inspired by it, and I now share with you a post created by Luke Beardon titled “Inspired by Jennifer Lisi“. Because this is a pure sharing post I am closing it for comments – to comment please visit Luke’s post, linked to above and in the next section.


Below is the opening of the post, and a screenshot showing a bit more of it:

Are you aware that there are moons and stars?
Are you aware that there is a theory of relativity?
Are you aware of the music of Mozart?
Are you aware that cars have engines?
Are you aware that houses need careful planning when built so they don’t fall down?
Are you aware that there are creatures living in the sea?
Are you aware that pacemakers help people with heart problems?
Are you aware of Harry Potter?



Having set the ball rolling by providing the inspiration for both my and Luke’s posts, Jennifer has subsequently created this lovely meme:


Autism Acceptance Months

Inspired by Jennifer Lisi on twitter, who created the graphic at the heart of it, this post sets out’s stall, taking autism acceptance is starting point and looking ahead to autism appreciation.


This is a post about something magnificent I have just seen on twitter and wish to share with all of you. The text of this post is #RedInstead because it is specifically about autism.


To start with, below is a screenshot of the tweet, by Jennifer Lisi,  that prompted this post:


Now we move on to some extra thoughts of my own:

  • Although I will on occasions, when I believe people are doing it for the right reasons share stuff about “autism awareness” I will not use the phrase on my account because…
  • We have been banging on about awareness for ages, and I do not believe there is a problem any more with people not knowing of the existence of autism and autistic spectrum conditions, though there are a raft of problems when it comes to understanding of such conditions.
  • For me Autism Acceptance as shown in the graphic above is what we should be considering as our basic start point, with the hope that acceptance of us for who and what we are will lead to…
  • Appreciation of our strengths and good qualities.

Thus the journey we look to trace out runs not awareness-understanding-acceptance  but awareness-understanding-acceptance-appreciation.


I end this post with some photographs, in this case with a cormorant in the starring role:

lapwings close up
We lead in with four pictures featuring lapwings…

Lapwings group shotlapwings Ilapwings x 8

Cormorant and lapwing I
…this picture introduces the cormorant who is present in all the remaining shots.

Cormorant ICormorant IICormorant and lapwingsCormorant, lapwings, church, flying gullCormorant and lapwings IICormorant IIICormorant and lapwing IICormorant IVCormorant, lapwings, churchCormorant VCormorant VICormorant with spread wings

Autism and Music

An account of the first Musical Keys session of the new year and some autism related links.


This post comprises two elements – one an account of the first Musical Keys session of 2018 and the other sharing some excellent recent stuff about autism. Because it is an autism themed post I am using #RedInstead text (scarlet for headings and links, maroon for body text). 


Musical Keys is an activity run for autistic people who enjoy music. Generally speaking it is run fortnightly, with a session for youngsters between 3PM and 3:45PM and a session for older participants from 4PM to 5PM. I had initially been expecting to renew my acquaintance with Reaper (a computer program for composing music – see here for more details) but circumstances dictated otherwise, and I actually ended up on a…


This machine can function as a wide range of instruments/voices and in a wide range of styles, and I explored a lot of the instruments in the course of the time I spent on it.


John, one of the two people who run these sessions, showed me how to play chords as opposed to single notes, and I experimented with playing varying numbers of notes simultaneously, and using the whole range of the keyboard. 

I created a few chords where the notes played could also form words, such as face/cafe, cabbage etc. I enjoyed making the acquaintance of this keyboard and learning something of its capacities.

These notes could form the word ‘cabbage’ (there being 2 as, 2 bs, 1c, 1e and 1g. Kirsten Murray, who helps John to run the sessions, took this picture with my camera.
Here you can see the notes – I played this with my left hand, while photographing with my right.
A close up the central screen.
The screen with more of its surrounds, including detail about the ‘voice’ settings.


This section starts with a post from Rhi that I regard as being the last word on “mild autism”, published under the title “Autscriptic: Mild Autism“. 

My next piece comes from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, written by Shannon Des Roches Rosa of under the self-explanatory title “Eleven Ways You Can Make Your Autistic Child’s Life Easier

The next two pieces in this section are both from the blog “Autism is my Superpower


I have linked to a number of reviews of Judith Newman’s book “To Siri With Love”, although since I have not read the book I can offer no direct comment about it, and here are a few more pieces about that book:


The organisation who are the subject of this little section go by the name of Autism Speaks, who you will also see referred to as Autism $peaks, Auti$m $peak$ and A$ in various places. 

  1. From comes this story, whose title “Autism Mother Sues Autism Speaks For Disability Discrimination” gives you more than a hint of the truth about this vile organisation.
  2. The website has a piece titled “Autism Speaks: Torturing autistics for profit” which is as damning an indictment of an organisation that claims to be an autism charity as you could find anywhere.