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April 2008

e-newsletter: April 2008

Welcome to the April edition of the Autism Education Trust e-newsletter.

In this edition:

• AET roadshows update
• AET second year funding secured
• AET staff vacancies
• AET wants help engaging hard-to-reach groups
• The Lamb Inquiry seeks expressions of interest from local authorities
• World Autism Day 2008
• Help with preparing for a summer haircut.

Thank you for your continued support and best wishes,

Amanda Allard
Interim AET Project Manager

Tell a friend…

Is there someone you think would be interested to hear about the AET? Please forward this newsletter to them and ask them to send us their details so we can keep them up to date.

AET roadshows – book your places now!

The Autism Education Trust series of awareness raising events got underway in London on19 April and places have already been booked for the remaining events. We are keen to ensure as many of you can attend as possible so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to reserve a place. Children are welcome to attend and we will provide trained play workers to look after them throughout the day.

Ian Wylie, Chair of the AET Steering Group, said “Since the launch of the AET in November we have been establishing our vision, values and workplans to take us into a second year. We must now involve more stakeholders at grassroots level in the work of the AET, including children and young people with autism, their parents / carers and professionals involved in autism education.”

The six events, being held in London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Hull, will be an opportunity to learn about the work of the Trust to date, to discuss relevant local issues in more detail and to inform the future workplans of the AET.

Ian Wylie continued, “We want as many people as possible to be able to speak to us first hand about their experiences of autism education and to have an opportunity to become more involved in our work. The AET represents a commitment by government and the autism sector to improve access to appropriate education for the one in one hundred children with autism in England. These events are an important step in shaping the work of the AET over the next few years.”

The remaining event schedule is as follows:
    Newcastle The Newcastle Springfield Centre, NE5 3HU 26 April
    Birmingham The Hub, Hazelwell, Kings Heath, B14 7NH 3 May
    Bristol The Council House, College Green, BS1 5TR 8 May
    Manchester Altrincham Town Hall, Market St, WA14 1PG 21 May
    Hull The Endsleigh Centre, Beverley Rd, HU6 7LJ 31 May

Lunch and refreshments will be provided – but if you have any specific dietary requirements please let us know when you reserve a place. Vegetarian options will automatically be provided.

Further information about the events is available on the AET website. Please email us or call 07795 667749 to reserve a place and do pass information to colleagues you think would be interested in attending.

AET is guaranteed DCSF funding for second year plans

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has confirmed this month that additional funding will be granted to the Autism Education Trust to secure plans for a second year. AET second year plans will be published soon on the AET website so please keep visiting for further information and updates.

AET advertises staff vacancies for second year

Judith Kerem’s secondment as AET Project Manager came to an end at the end of March and she has now returned to the National Autistic Society’s Prospects Employment Service. We would like to thank Judith for all her help during the AET’s first six months and wish her all the best. This, in addition to the confirmed second year funding, has given us the opportunity to review the staffing requirements of the AET. The Project Manager role has been split to recognise the growing need for a strategic planner and so there are currently two vacancies we are keen to fill as soon as possible. Amanda Allard has been appointed Interim Project Manager until permanent members of staff are recruited.

AET wants help engaging hard-to-reach groups

In addition to the current series of roadshows, the AET has funding for a piece of work to ensure that people from BME communities and other hard to reach groups across England are supported and engaged with the AET. We are particularly keen to ensure that children and young people from a wide range of backgrounds contribute their ideas and concerns to AET. We are looking for help in undertaking this project and would like anyone with an interest in getting involved to contact us as soon as possible. Please call Amanda Allard or email.

The Lamb Inquiry calls for local authority expressions of interest for innovative projects

The Lamb Inquiry was set up as part of the Government’s response to the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee Report Special Educational Needs: Assessment and Funding. The Inquiry is being led by Brian Lamb, the Chair of the Special Educational Consortium, and will advise on the most effective ways of increasing parental confidence in the SEN assessment process. Brian Lamb has brought together a group of experts to advise him and he will report in September 2009.

The Inquiry has been asked to commission and evaluate innovative projects to examine a range of ways in which parental confidence in the SEN assessment process might be increased. The Inquiry is seeking expressions of interest form local authorities, working with partners, in running projects in the following areas:

• making the provision of educational psychology advice “arm’s length” from a local authority;
• sharing best practice in developing good relationships between the authority and parents, through effective parent partnership services and other local mechanisms;
• effective practice by schools and local authorities in meeting the needs of children at School Action Plus;
• developing the ‘team around the child’ approach in the school stages;
• other activities.

For more information about the Inquiry or submitted an expression of interest, please email Philippa Stobbs at the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The submissions deadline is midday on May 2nd 2008.

World Autism Day 2008

The first World Autism Day, designated as such by the United Nations, took place on 2 April 2008. Autism organisations across the UK came together to join the worldwide awareness campaign for better recognition of autism and improved resources for the estimated 60 million people with autism around the world. Speaking at an event to mark the day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said,

“Let us pay tribute to the courage of children with autism and their families, as they strive every day to confront the disability with a powerful combination of determination, creativity and hope. Let us empower them and respond to their needs today, so as to make our societies more accessible, enabling and empowering for all our children tomorrow.”

Find out more information about the day.

Preparing for the summer with a haircut? Information is available for parents

With warmer weather on its way, you might be thinking about having your child’s hair cut. However, many parents of children with autism find that taking their child to the hairdressers can be a very difficult experience for all involved. It can be very distressing for any child to have their hair cut, but for a child with autism the visit to a hairdresser may be particularly upsetting due to a number of sensory factors.

The National Autistic Society offers practical advice for parents, and hairdressers, to try to alleviate some of the anxiety a child might experience. Read the fact sheet on the NAS website or call the NAS helpline on 0845 070 4004 for a printed copy.

Have Your Say

We are always keen to hear your thoughts and suggestions for the AET. Please visit the AET website and fill in the online form to tell us about your experiences of autism education. We want to hear from parents, young people with autism and professionals working in the autism education field.

Perhaps you know of a really good outreach team you would like to tell us about? Perhaps your school is very supportive and provides a range of pupil-centred initiatives to support learners with autism. Or perhaps your experience is not as positive? Have you struggled to access appropriate education for your child? Have you experienced bullying at school as a result of your autism?

Whatever your experiences, we would like to hear from you. You can provide us with useful first hand information to ensure our work is relevant and targeted.

Fill in our online form.

Further information

  • If you require advice and information about living with autism please visit The National Autistic Society website.
  • If you would like further information about autism education please visit the TreeHouse website.
  • The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) is the umbrella body for the disabled children’s sector in England, with links to other UK nations. For further information please visit their website.
  • We hope you would like to continue receiving the AET e-newsletter. However, if you do not wish to receive these updates in future please email with the word ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line. If you have received this newsletter via a third party and would like to be added to the regular mailing list please email the above address to subscribe.