Autism Events II: Norwich part 2

The second in my series of posts about Autism events I have attended recently.


Welcome to this second in my series of posts about recent Autism events that I have attended. The opening piece can be seen hereBefore moving on to the main body of the post I include a petition from today. It was posted on, and the screenshot below contains details and functions as a link:



During the first post in this series I set out what the series was going to be about, put up a mini-time line of the days covered and started my coverage of the Autism Anglia Information Sharing Event, reaching the end of Sian Hutchings’ talk. This post takes us up to the end of that event. Here are a few pictures from that event:

This cupola caught my attention.
Research stand
One of the stalls I visited – we had a very positive little discussion
Elephant 1
This elephant is a legacy from what was once a Norwich display of the creatures.

Elephant 2

Scope and NAS West Norfolk are working together on various projects, and this wristband is a product of one of them (there is also a matching key fob and small button badge). The message, conveyed simply and powerfully is “NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE”


Just in case anyone was wondering this has nothing to do with the vile Tory offshoot of the same name (an organisation of such vileness that it is known in certain circles as “Active Hate”). This Activate is a very different organisation, devoted to helping vulnerable people. Here are a couple of pictures:


This was a very interesting session and I went to lunch in good spirits. The lunch was excellent – decent sandwiches, crisps and a drink. Then I had one more session to attend.


Amanda Hind’s session, on Puberty, Sex and Relationships Education and Autistic Girls, was packed full of interesting and important stuff. Before letting my photographs take over, I will say that she is an autistic mother of two autistic children (it was actually her son’s diagnosis that prompted her to investigate on her own behalf) and that she is a fantastic speaker. At her request I am only displaying a handful of  the slides…

Stage 2
The Stage 2 Auditorium, Norwich Theatre Royal
Hexagonal array of bulbs
Using the zoom lens to capture the hexagonal array of bulbs in the overhead lights
Amanda Hind
The title slide.
About Me
The first three slides of the title slide cover the ‘back story’

diagnosisdaughter's diagnosis

Amanda speaking
Amanda Hind speaking

Autistic girlsPeer PressureSoc skills


One of the things contained in the packs we were each given on arrival at the venue was a feedback form. I filled mine in after this last talk, and suffice to say it was all positive. As I was staying in Norwich for an evening meeting I then decamped to the Millennium Library, very close to the theatre, to unwind for a bit, and prepare myself for the evening. All in all this was a very positive experience, and I left the event in a very good (if tired) frame of mind.

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


Monday Medley III

Some technical tips prompted by a post on Yarnandpencil, a wide variety of shares from around the web, including a new facebook page and a petition, a solution to a teaser and some photographs.


I have various things to share with you, and some new pictures to post. I am going to start with…


This section was prompted by a post put up by Tracy at Yarn and Pencil this morning titled “More WP problems“, and has developed from a comment I posted there. One of the problems she raised there was the ‘disappearing reblog button’ that others have commented on. 

The process for reblogging when there is no reblog button is:

  1. Start a new post as though you were going to create something of your own. 
  2. Link to the site on which you found the piece you intend to share and of course to the piece itself (use the actual title of the piece for this).
  3. Select a paragraph and/or an image from the original to serve as an ‘appetiser’ (making sure to differentiate the text from your own and/or to ensure that the image is clearly identified as the other person’s work)
  4. If you are using a whole post just to link to one piece turn the comments of on your post – you want to people to visit the original and post any comments they might have there. This last point leads me on to…


If your window when creating a post looks like mine, then on the right as you look is a panel of tabs as follows:


Open the ‘More Options’ tab, as indicated by the red arrow above, and you will see…

Comments Allowed

…Down near the bottom are two check boxes and you want to uncheck the top one of the two where it says “Allow Comments”. Instead of two ticks, shown above, you want it to look like:

Comments Not Allowed


I am going to open this section with a couple of links about neurodiversity. To set the scene, a post from Neurocosmopolitanism titled “Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms & Definitions“. As an ‘appetiser’ I offer you this section on the Neurodiversity Paradigm:

1.) Neurodiversity is a natural and valuable form of human diversity.

2.) The idea that there is one “normal” or “healthy” type of brain or mind, or one “right” style of neurocognitive functioning, is a culturally constructed fiction, no more valid (and no more conducive to a healthy society or to the overall well-being of humanity) than the idea that there is one “normal” or “right” ethnicity, gender, or culture.

3.) The social dynamics that manifest in regard to neurodiversity are similar to the social dynamics that manifest in regard to other forms of human diversity (e.g., diversity of ethnicity, gender, or culture). These dynamics include the dynamics of social power inequalities, and also the dynamics by which diversity, when embraced, acts as a source of creative potential.

This leads on to an article from Harvard Business Review titled “Neurodiversity as a Competitiuve Advantage“. I give you the opening two paragraphs:

Meet John. He’s a wizard at data analytics. His combination of mathematical ability and software development skill is highly unusual. His CV features two master’s degrees, both with honors. An obvious guy for a tech company to scoop up, right?

Until recently, no. Before John ran across a firm that had begun experimenting with alternative approaches to talent, he was unemployed for more than two years. Other companies he had talked with badly needed the skills he possessed. But he couldn’t make it through the hiring process.

My next offering comes from the Neurodivergent Rebel and is titled “The Problem with Autism“. This time I provide the closing words of the piece:

If the narrative around autism changed to one of true acceptance and kindness, would things be different? If we show people how to believe in themselves, will it make it easier for them to succeed?

The problem with autism isn’t autism. It’s society’s attitude that autism is wrong.

Then we come to a piece on to aspie or not to aspie titled “To Autism With Love“, from which I give you the conclusion:

In fact, my dear, dear friend, Autism, I love you.

And I am grateful for who you have made me. And that you are there for me when I need you. 

Let’s start our journey again, and this time I promise, I’ll try my best to understand what you need from me. Take my hand and let’s tackle the world together. 

But please do try and understand what I have to give. That I have limits. 

And, dear kind, confusing, Autism, remember this: I love you. 

No matter what. Always, forever and a day. 


An aspie.

This next link is for those of you who use social media. Libby, who tweets as @LibbyAutism, has expanded her social media profile by creating a facebook page called Liberty – living with autism. Please visit and like the page if you can.

Finally, to end this section, a reminder about the petition on 38 Degrees to save the Respite Unit at Morley House. This petiton, screenshotted below, is now on just over 3,000 signatures, and I urge you all to help us increase that number:



Here is the problem I set you on Saturday:


Here is the answer, followed by a published solution:


This is Stephen Mellor’s highly admired solution:



Well done those of you who have made it to this point! We end, as usual, with some recent photographs:

We start with a fungus
Flowers III
Then we have three flower pictures

Flowers IIFlowers I

Blackbird CLXI
Then we are on birds.

Blackbird IIblackbirdCrowsgull CLXgulls

House Sparrow
Both this pictyure and the next feature a House Sparrow – a common bird, but not always easy to photograph because it is very small.

House Sparrow IIMoorhen CLX

Swimming Cormorant X
We end with two pictures of swimming cormorants.

Swimming Cormorant XI

An Important Petition and The 2018 NGS Launch

An account of the 2018 Launch of the National Garden Scheme prefaced by the Autistic Bill of Rights and a petition to save Morley House Respite Unit.


This post in entirely autism focussed, so the text is in #RedInstead. I will build up to the account of the 2018 Launch o the National Garden Scheme, which will occupy most of the post. First, to set the scene for all the follows, stimtheline’s Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of


Morley House Respite Unit plays a vital role in the lives of many autistic people and their families in the West Norfolk area. It is now facing closure. Jessica Kibble, a volunteer with NAS West Norfolk, has created a petition on 38 Degrees against this planned closure. At the moment, less than two full days after launch there are just short of 600 signatures, which is a respectable start, but we need more. Below is a screenshot of the petition homepage, and by clicking it you can sign and share the petition:



NAS West Norfolk have an allotment/ sensory garden in West Lynn for which we received a grant from the NGS. As beneficiaries we were invited to be present at their 2018 Launch Eventm which took place today at Houghton Hall.

Houghton Hall complex

For various reasons the only person able to be present on behalf of NAS West Norfolk was me. Being represented by one person is not ideal, but with that one person being me it did ensure that there was some genuine autistic presence at the event.

The arrangement was that I would catch a bus from King’s Lynn to the point at which the road from Harpley joins the A148, where I would be collected by car and driven up to the hall (many thanks Julia for making the arrangement and Gus for collecting me). I had initially being thinking in terms of the 8:45, arriving at the Harpley turn at approx 9:10 if it runs to time, but last night following a suggestion that this was too early I changed plans to aiming for the 9:45 bus, about which I had certain misgivings (through long experience I have developed Diogenes-esque levels of cynicism as regards British public transport running to time). 

I was at the bus station with everything I needed in good time, and, mirabile dictu, the bus arrived when it was supposed to. That unfortunately ended the good news. At Gaywood, rounding the curve near the clock tower, an impatiently driven lorry got too close to the bus and damaged one of the external mirrors. The driver had to inspect the damage to see how serious it was, and that was over ten minutes gone with no prospect of any it being made up in the rest of the journey. Fortunately, my delayed arrival at the Harpley turn was not sufficient to actually make me late for the start of the event (10:30), but it was a closer thing than it should have been.

There was a table for me to set up the NAS West Norfolk display board, leaflets and some of my own personal cards, and refreshments were laid on for free (I consumed some of the sausage rolls, which were excellent, and some ginger cake, and also, having been invited to do so, took some more cake away with me). 

NASWN display

Marie Curie Cancer Care were present as major beneficiaries of the NGS, and there was a display showcasing a sensory garden in the Dereham area. Julia, gracious host of our 10th birthday Garden Party, introduced the speeches. There were four speeches by people from Marie Curie Cancer Care, and at the end Lord Cholmondeley (pronounced as ‘chumly’), owner of Houghton Hall, said a few words. 

ceiling section
These pictures were all taken in the room where the stall was.

WindowNGS attendees INGS attendees IINGS attendees IIIPicture Ilight fittingJulia introduces the speechesPicture IIMarie Curie SpeakerJo from Marie CurieMarie Curie final speakerLord Cholmondleigh

Lord Cholmondleigh II
Lord Cholmondeley speaking

NGS attendees IVPicture IIIDereham Sensory GardenMarie Curie tablePicture VPicture VI

In her role introducing the speeches Julia had very kindly mentioned the NAS West Norfolk presence, and many people came to the stall to find out more. Of course this was delightful, but it was also challenging (though I am fairly confident that the only person present who knew just how challenging I was finding it was me). Our branch chair Karan had hoped to be present for the last stages of the event, which would enable her to give me a lift back and to collect the display board for Friday, when a visitng speaker will be giving talks on autism and puberty at a venue near the Hardwick Industrial Estate (unless something else intervenes I will be present for the evening talk). She arrived at about quarter to twelve, which gave me an opportunity to look at the gardens. 

TriptychCourtyardCourtyard IICourtyard IIIAvenueFloor plaque, rose gardenPart of the hallWeathervanesGroundsCiolumn 1Column 2BuildingEntrance to courtyardCupola

Water Feature
This water feature put me in mind of some books by Rachel Caine that I have recently been reading, but unlike in her books these are just statues, not automata!

Water Feature IIstone bathtub and guardiansSC plaqueGravel pathMapWalled Gardenrock formationarchwayClamp IClamp IILong viewGardenscorner treeTreeedge pathThrough the trees

tree temple
This building looks very like a small temple (perhaps given the materials used in its construction, a temple to Artemis!)

Tree temple pedimentTree temple RHTree temple LHFrosted grassGardens IIICourtyard FLCourtyard FRGardens IISnowdropsFrontageTree and stoneworkHoughton Hall IICourtyard blockHoughton Hall

The journey home had a delayed start, because the field in which visitors cars were parked proved to be too muddy for most of said vehicles to handle. Karan’s car was one of those that needed a tractor-assisted start (I will endeavour to remember this next time I find myself travelling behind a slow-moving farm vehicle!). One underway however, our return journey passed without incident. 

Assisted starting


Bird Pictures and Other Stuff

Sharing some of the best recent finds from the internet, and also some of my own photographs.


I have some bird pictures to show you from earlier today, and also a lot of fabulous pieces I want to share with you. I will start with the sharing and finish with the pictures.


I start with a gem from whyevolutionistrue, titled “An open letter to Charlotte Allen, an ignorant, evolution-dissing writer“, which takes the person it is addressed to to task for a poorly written, ill-informed (indeed virtually uninformed) article.

All the rest of the pieces I am sharing with you have to do with…


I start with a piece from a blog which is new to me, anotherspectrum, and a piece title “I am atheism“. The piece tackles a particularly vile commercial put out by anti-autistic hate group masquerading as autism charity Autism Speaks, the title of which was “I am Autism”.

Another  new find is Discovering My Authentic Self, and I point you to “Autism Resources“, which is precisely what you might expect from the title.

My third autism related share comes with a challenge attached. It is Autism Mom’s piece “THE CONFUSION OVER THE LITTLE WHEELCHAIR” which tackles a problem that the recognised symbol for disability reinforces – the assumption that disability always means physcial disability. The challenge is this: can you come up with a replacement symbol for disability that acknowledges the full range of disabilities? If you create a post about your idea, linking back to this post, and I am impressed by it, I will reblog you.

I end this section with a reference to The Autistic Bill of Rights. The success of the original post on this theme from stimtheline has resulted in a shareable image from the same source (I printed one out at the library today), reproduced below:

Autistic Bill of

Please follow my example in sharing this as widely as you can!


For the first time in its 154 year history Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack has a woman on it’s front cover. Anya Shrubsole who bowled England to victory in the 2017 World Cup is the woman thus honoured:


Identifor produced this gem earlier today


Finally we come to my photographs…

gullblackbirdOystercatcher IOystercatcher IIGullsMuscoviesbrown muscovyPair of muscoviesswimming muscovytrio of muscoviesDark muscovytrio of light muscoviesLight muscovyBlack Muscovygrey backed muscovycontrasting muscoviesmotltled muscovyBrown backed muscovyClassic muscovy



Autistic Bill of Rights Shareable Image

Following on from yesterday’s splendid introduction to the Autistic Bill of Rights, stimtheline has now produced this splendid shareable image…

Stim the Line

The Autistic Bill of Rights post that I made earlier has gone over so well, that I thought making an image of it would be a good idea.

These ten “amendments” cover what I see as the most important issues facing our community right now, although these all come from my experiences, which I recognize are not universal. I’d love to get more voices involved, and to put together a community approved Bill of Rights, so if that’s something you’re interested in. or would like to share with a wider audience, please contact me!

Autistic Bill of

View original post