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


Network Autism

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.


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.


That title is no overstatement – this section contains a link to a post on the DPAC website 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.


A magpie near the pick up point in Lynn this morning


Three shots featuring a stretch of the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Dereham
One of the “Ecocity” towers near Swaffham – even in this picture, and still more so in the further edited version the observation room near the centre of the propeller is clearly visible. The original shot from which this picture and the next were both obtained was taken through the window of a moving car.

Ecocity - Editedblackbird4blackbird3propelleaf


Autism, Blogging and Categories

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.


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:

Image may contain: stripes


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.



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:

Making sure that everyone knew who we were.
For the record the tea towels are priced £4.95 each



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.