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 here. Before moving on to the main body of the post I include a petition from today. It was posted on change.org, and the screenshot below contains details and functions as a link:
THE STORY SO FAR
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:
SESSION 3: ACTIVATE
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.
SESSION 4: AMANDA HIND
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…
FINAL ACT – FEEDBACK
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.
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…
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 AUTISM ANGLIA EVENT
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.
PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THAT FIRST TALK
SESSION TWO: SIAN HUTCHINGS
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.
An important autism related meeting in Dereham plus a few shares and some photographs.
As well as my title piece, which as promised yesterday, is about the meeting in Dereham organised by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands that I attended this morning. Karan and I were a little late arriving as she could not leave before the person who would be looking after her son had arrived and I had arranged a meet up point at The Gatehouse since while I was definitely up for the meeting I was not up for forking out the £11 it would have cost to me travel there and back under my own steam (at some point I will be putting up a post on public transport that will highlight why this particular shortish journey is so extortionate – for the moment suffice to say it has nothing to do with logic, reason, meeting passenger needs or anything else that has any place in the proper running of a public transport system). This meant that although we were able to introduce ourselves we missed most of the other people’s introductions.
The meeting had been arranged to discuss amendments to an autism strategy document which as it stood was laughably incomplete. Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands were effectively doing the kind of outreach stuff that Norfolk County Council should have been doing but weren’t. The County Council’s own meetings about such matters are invariably in Norwich, generally with a requirement that one arrive by 9:30. Before moving on to NAS West Norfolk’s role in the events of this meeting I will mention two things from the preliminary talk that caused hackles to raise. First, Norfolk County Council’s person responsible for co-ordinating matters relating to autism appears to have his fingers in a suspiciously large number of pies, and extending from this seems to be overly averse to scrutiny (as a West Norfolk resident who has the incinerator debacle seared on his memory I am naturally inclined to be mistrustful where Norfolk County Council are concerned – although we eventually won that one and the thing did not get built). Secondly there is the role of Norfolk Steps, who seem to have a monopoly on training provision for parents and carers and to be very reluctant to see that change – one person at the meeting had tried to use their materials to provide training and was told to desist. Another strike against Norfolk Steps from our point of view is that their training is not autism specific.
The key pages of the inadequate document that we were trying to improve were pages 16-19, and there was little we could do about what was on page 16, so as we seated around three tables each table was assigned a page to look at and make additions to. Ours was page 18:
I have already covered a lot of the problems with Norfolk Steps, but there is one extra point – they have recently had their funding reduced, and no longer offer “steps plus” to parents.
There were a few additions to point 5, which started our page. Point 6 was the single most inadequately expressed point in the whole sorry document. For this point to be worth the ink and paper it has to contain chapter and verse – the specific Act of Parliament and the specific clauses contained therein that are of most relevance.
Anne Ebbage of Autism Anglia will be passing all the points raised at this meeting on to the council, and if the final version of this document is not massively changed and enlarged there will be trouble.
This was a very useful and productive meeting, and I hope it will play a role in dragging Norfolk’s approach to autism and autistic people out of the dark ages wherein it seems to have been stuck for some time.
A SEGUE LINK
The first part of this post has been about autism, and so I introduce the remainder of it by way of a link to an interesting piece by The Inked Autist. My views are rather different to those expressed in this post, but I recommend that you read it here.
A BUSY WEEK FOR DPAC
That title is no overstatement – this section contains a link to a post on the DPACwebsite and two embedded videos.
The post, which gives this section of this post its title, can be accessed by clicking the DPAC logo below. Then you can find the two videos, which are both about a protest outside Parliament. The first video was created by Let Me Look TV, the second by Steve Topple of The Canary.
I had planned to include more stuff in this post, but a malfunction has prevented that – I have just lost a large amount of stuff that was in here and have no way of getting back, so here are the photographs.
Preparations for tomorrow, photographs from in and around King’s Lynn and pointing up a couple of things brought to my attention by DPAC
The links I am sharing in this post are to do with disability rights. I am also going to be setting the stage in this post for the main thrust of tomorrow’s blogging, which is where the autism part of the title comes in.
I will be attending an event in Dereham tomorrow morning which has been organised jointly by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands. Dereham has been chosen as a location because we are dealing with a large area, and King’s Lynn to Norwich is too long a journey for most to consider acceptable (and even more so in reverse). Along with everything else, I have been making preparations for that.
GETTING THERE AND BACK
I have mad arrangements with someone who lives in Watlington and will be travelling by car to be given a lift. In order to avoid the necessity of the driver coming into the middle of King’s Lynn at what would be a busy time we have arranged to meet in the car park of the Gatehouse pub. It being fine outside I was up for a walk anyway, so I started by walking the best route between my house and the car park in question. Those familiar with this blog will not need to be told that in aspiblog terms when talking about walking routes “best” and “shortest” are not necessarily synonymous, and my chosen route is not by any means the shortest. However I class at as the “best” walking route because it minimises the amount of time I spend close to busy roads.
I set off at 13:31 (I needed to time this first section) and headed over the bridge across the upper Purfleet, across King Street, and down to mouth of the lower Purfleet, where I crossed the other pedestrian bridge to walk along the bank of the Great Ouse as far as Millfleet, from where I took the path around old Boal Quay to the Nar Outfall, and briefly rejoined the riverbank until I reached the path through Hardings Pits to Hardings Way, which I followed to its end near the South Lynn Baptist Church, where I crossed the road it joins, crossed the Nar and walked along to the South Gates roundabout, where one more road crossing took me to the edge of the car park which tomorrow morning will be my destination. Having recorded that I had got to the car park at 14:02, and hence been underway for 31 minutes I continued my walk by way of the cemetery, The Walks, Lynnsport and finally back into town by way of Bawsey Drain.
When I got back I found a facebook message awaiting me telling me that the ETA for my lift at the car park tomorrow was 9:20 – 9:30, so factoring in the timings for today and reckoning that if anyone has to wait it should be me I am planning on leaving my flat at approximately 8:40AM tomorrow.
Here are some of the pictures I took while out walking (including some in the first section which I was timing – where I go my camera goes).
A DPAC DUO
Disabled People Against Cuts have put out two very important pieces today. First, they draw our attention to a day of action against the vicious barbarism known as “Benefit Sanctions” organised by UNITE Community for March 30th. Please read this piece in full by by clicking on the image of an anti-sanction badge (from that post) below:
The second piece from DPAC relates the upcoming mayoral elections in Manchester. The Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People has developed a Disability Manifesto. This manifesto has been sent to all the mayoral candidates, and for those of you who use social media, a thunderclap has been launched to oput further pressure on the candidates to sign up to this manifesto.
Setting the stall out for today and some stuff about autism. Read, enjoy and please share.
This is my first of what will be a number of posts today. I have come across a variety of interesting and important stuff over the last couple of days, and have decided that I have too much to share in one post, so I am attempting to group my links into categories. Thus a title the three main words of which begin with A, B and C – this is the first of a series of posts I shall be producing through the day, and as it is the first I shall start near the beginning of the alphabet, with some autism related stuff.
THE AUTISM AWARENESS CUP 2017
I am starting with a reminder that following its successful launch last year the second Autism Awareness Cup football tournament will be taking place at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club on June 4th. There are three links relating to this, accessible by clicking the images below: the first image will take to you to the Autism Awareness Cup homepage, the second to the Autism Awareness Cup facebook page, and the third to NAS West Norfolk Sports Co-ordinator Grant Cotton’s own facebook page:
STOP THE BAD BEHAVIOUR
This relates to a petition created by an autistic parent and aimed at Brighton & Hove Council. As well as the petition itself, which I urge you to sign and share by clicking on the screenshot that ends this section, there are two other links that go with it:
Although this petition is not about autism specifically I am including it in this post because autistic people are disproportionately likely to be among those confined to institutions. As with the other petition I urge you to sign and share it.
A COFFEE MORNING
This Wednesday just gone there was an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning at the Willow Tree cafe in central King’s Lynn. I was able to get there, and enjoyed it. Here are some pictures from that morning:
AN UPCOMING EVENT
On Tuesday I will be in Dereham for an event organised by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands under the catchline “Help to shape Norfolk for autism”. I booked the day off work for this some time ago, because I considered that as someone is both NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and #actuallyautistic it was an absolute necessity that I be in attendance.
An account of “Autism Positive”, An Amazing (and exhausting!) Day for Autism, in the fine city Norwich.
On Monday the Theatre Royal Norwich, located right in the heart of that fine city, played host to “Autism Postive”, an event organised byAutism Anglia. This post is about my experiences at that event, and has been delayed until today because I was exhausted when I arrived back home on Monday evening and was working yesterday. Before I get into the main meat of the post here is a map of central Norwich (I have put a red square around the theatre to highlight it) and a timetable of what was on besides the various stalls people had at the event.
THE JOURNEY IN
I had decided I needed the extra flexibility given by the First Eastern Counties X1 route (as opposed to the Stagecoach X29 route which stops quite early in the evening), so got the 7:51AM bus (I had arranged a meet-up in the foyer with the other person who would be running the NAS West Norfolk stall at approx 10AM). My journey was slightly affected by traffic, and the bus pulled into Norwich bus station only just before 10AM, but it turned out that the traffic affecting my journey was comparatively minor – it would be another 15 minutes or so before the other person arrived. Here are some photos from the journey in…
King’s Lynn train station
The South Gate, King’s Lynn
A view from the bus, Dereham Market Place.
A church in the middle of Norwich.
The set up was further delayed by because Autism Anglia had failed to realise that we would be coming, so we had to wait while space was located for our stall to be set up. This is what our stall looked like once the set up was complete…
Here are close ups of some of the stuff we had on display….
EXPLORING THE EVENT
A combination of late arrival and subsequent delays eliminated the possibility of attending Callum Brazzo’s talk, which I understand was a huge success, but once the stall was set up I had an opportunity to take a look at what other stalls there were.
I got some more pictures a little later after a period covering the stall…
Due to the communication failure mentioned earlier we did not have lunches booked for us as others did, so Karan bought us sandwiches. She then went to a talk given by a friend of hers while I covered the stall for that period. Post lunch there were a couple of sessions I wished to attend, so Karan covered the stall while I did so.
AUTISM AND VOLUNTEERING
I thought that as an autistic person with a lot of experience of volunteering this would be a good session to attend, and I did enjoy it. However, rather than being about autism and volunteering in general, it was touting one particular volunteering organisation who work with autistic people.
Vicki Howling of Volunteering Matters gave the talk, with an assist from one of their volunteers, William Taylor, who talked about his experiences and how valuable it had been to him to become a volunteer.
Here are some pictures from this talk…
However, it was the the final session in the main auditorium that I really wanted to attend, titled…
THE AUTISM CHARTER AND
AIMING TO BE AUTISM FRIENDLY
Anne Ebbage from Autism Anglia opened the session before introducing various people from organisations who were already doing good stuff. Here to set the scene is an outline of the Autism Charter and a picture of the Auttism Friendly logo…
Anne had various other slides to accompany her talk…
Although these are no presented in strict chronological order, I start with the person who was actually first to be called in this section, Matthew Piper who is Access Manager at the Theatre Royal Norwich itself, who deserve huge thanks for the job they did in hosting this event and for their willingness to stage ‘relaxed performances’. I have a photo of a leaflet about this which will follow this little bit of text – a leaflet I was more than happy to display on our stall when asked. While a ‘relaxed performance’ means a loss of income ion the immediate term because you can only half sell the auditorium, and of course fewer people being there also means that attendant sales are also reduced it is bad thinking to allow this to influence you against putting them on. Matthew Piper was able to provide evidence of people who have come to a ‘relaxed performance’ and subsequently, having managed this have had the confidence to come to ordinary performances.
As well as telling us about what they are doing, the three people from Norwich International Airport were receiving their ‘Autism Friendly Badges’, and a bag full for the rest of their staff. They have an aeroplane that is kept permanently on the ground so that they can give people a sample of the journey through the airport from arriving there to boarding the plane. They told us about a family who have never been able to travel before who having experienced this sample trip through the airport will be going to Lapland this December. I have already linked to the airport’s website, but here is an extra link to their page on special travel assistance.
Having already featured the theatre who were also hosting the event it was time for a cinema to be in the limelight, with Ellie, Acting Manager and also Autism Friendly Screenings Co-ordinator at Cinema City explaining what they do. Cinema City is part of the Picture House group, who were the first cinema company to do autism friendly screenings – the very first was at the Clapham Picture House 10 years ago, while Cinema City have been doing them for two and a half years. What does an autism friendly screening entail?
No adverts or trailers
The lights remain up throughout
The sound is lower than for a standard performance – and can be turned down further at need.
Quiet spaces are provided.
There are two such screenings coming up at Cinema City: The Lion King on Sunday and Finding Dory in November. As well as the website to which I linked earlier, there is also picturehouseblog.
I have saved to the last Tom Blofeld, who runs BeWILDerwood. In addition to making every effort to ensure accessibility for all to this attraction, autistic groups from schools get admitted free during term time. As with Cinema City they have a blog.
Tom Blofeld, special guest Mildred and to the left as you look Anne Ebbage of Autism Anglia.
WINDING UP AND HEADING HOME
When this session finished it was time to get back to the stall for the final stages of the day. Even at this late stage we got plenty of attention, and we spoke to plenty of people through the day, with many leaflets and contact cards going out. The event was a tremendous success, with lots of information and inspiration on display. Once we had taken down our stall I took the opportunity to visit the library before heading home. Here are some photos from that journey home…
Here are pictures of some of the leaflets that were available at the event…
I have included many links within the text, but these do not belong there, although ebing autism related they do belong in a large post that has been autism related.
The National Autistic Society have a survey running at the moment which you can see here.
Yesterday I saw these two posts, written by sisters (the first, from autism mom, linked to the second), and having read and enjoyed them yesterday, I share them to finish this post…