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April 2009

Welcome to the April 2009 edition of the Autism Education Trust e-newsletter.

In this edition:

• AET Conference and Regional Roadshows: successful events and more to come
• AET update: new DCSF funding secured and new governance arrangements
• IDP resources: new autism specific learning resources available
• TDA news: ITT training resources
• Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity: new grant to fund support packages
• Guardian supplement: special AET newspaper supplement on autism on 19th May

Thank you for your continued support,

Sarah-Jane Critchley

AET Project Head

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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 National Conference and Regional Roadshows

The first Autism Education Trust (AET) National Conference, held in Westminster in February, was a great success with over 200 delegates attending.

The one-day conference offered a range of seminars and speakers with the aim of sharing good practice in autism education. The keynote address was given by Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Minister for Schools and Learning, who highlighted the importance of the AET’s work in helping achieve the Government’s aspirations for improving autism education provision across England .

Click here for the full story

Following on from this successful event, the AET took to the road for a series of one-day roadshows giving people across the country the chance to take part in an event similar to the national conference, as well as addressing local autism-related issues. The AET roadshows have already visited Liverpool, Carlisle, Norwich , Derby and Southampton . There is one event still remaining in Exeter on Thursday 7th May.

Limited places may still be available for the roadshow in Exeter .

Places are free but must be booked in advance.

For further information, please contact T: 0115 9113367 E:

AET Website goes live
Clear and easy to navigate, the site is designed to provide the most comprehensive online autism education information hub. There is material specifically tailored for education practitioners and professionals, local authorities and parents / carers of those on the autism spectrum, as well as a ‘Kids Zone’ for children and young people on the autism spectrum and their friends and siblings.

Resources include practical toolkits, good practice case studies and the recent AET research in autism education. There is a forum area where you can have your say and discuss topics online, as well as links to blogs from other people on the subject of autism and special educational needs. The Kids Zone includes games, puzzles and video clips by children and young people on the spectrum, as well as questions about autism answered in simple terms.

We hope you will find it useful and we value your feedback on it, so click here to let us know what you think . Also please feel free to include a link from your website to the AET website.

New Funding Secured
Following the successful delivery of the items in the 2008/9 work plan, we put together a plan for the continuation of activities started last year and additional projects we want to deliver in 2009/10 and secured £580,000 for a range of activities that including the development of a Teen Zone for secondary school aged children and young people which complements the Primary school age focussed Kids Zone. We will also enhance our existing outreach activities to target more professionals who can improve the experience of children on the spectrum.

We agreed the importance of commissioners of children’s services and are extending our remit to include the provision of a range of services around the needs of the child. This is consistent both with our vision for children on the autism spectrum and the statement within the recently published Child Health Strategy that AET will engage with PCT’s in supporting improved education, health and social care ‘packages’ around children and families. We will provide an expert in autism to work within the Autism Special Interest Group on the Commissioning Support Programme that aims to support Children’s Trusts.

AET Governance: New Steering Group Members Wanted!
The AET Steering Group has examined its existing governance structures and is making a number of changes to simplify and clarify decision-making, and review and develop representation on the Steering Group to meet the needs of our increased level of funding and our extended remit. As a result we are looking to add new members to the Steering Group in a number of areas. We would like to hear from any of the following who would like to be considered as a representative:

• An adult on the spectrum with a particular interest in Education and/or health
• A parent or carer of a child on the spectrum (High functioning / Aspergers)
• A parent or carer of a child on the spectrum (Classic Autism / with additional learning needs)
• Young adult on the autism spectrum
• Director / Assistant Director of children’s services
• PCT Senior Manager (with interest in disabled children)
• Early Years representative
• Mainstream teacher
• Head of an autism outreach service
• Autism Education Researcher

This group would be joined by the chair of the Advisory Council who is to be appointed at their next meeting.

The Steering Group is responsible for the strategic direction of the AET, and members will be expected to attend quarterly meetings and will take responsibility for specific areas of AET activity. Support will be provided for people on the spectrum wishing to participate. For more information, or a Steering Group skill set form please contact Kate Pettifer or Sarah-Jane Critchley .

IDP launched: new autism specific learning resources available
New web and DVD resources on the autism spectrum are now available under the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP).

Produced by DCSF, two new resources have been launched, one designed for those working in early years settings and the other for those working in mainstream primary and secondary schools. The resources have been produced commissioned by The National Strategies, part of the DCSF, and the content was developed by the team at the Autism Centre for Education and Research at the University of Birmingham .

The resources are designed for people with little or no prior knowledge of the autism spectrum and can be used by a person studying on their own or in group training. The resources will also be useful to parents and carers of children and young people on the autism spectrum.

Use the following link for the Early Years Foundation Stage IDP materials

Use the following link for the Primary and Secondary IDP materials

TDA news: ITT training resources
The TDA has developed a training resource for initial teacher training providers on the particular needs of pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder.

This web-based resource is one of eighteen sessions that can be accessed from TTRB Special Education Needs, which is a sub-portal of the Teacher Training Resource Bank (TTRB).

Available to access online are the trainer presentation, handouts, classroom activities and further reading suggestions. The modules cover the background on what autism is, the similarities and differences in the diagnosis of autism and Asperger syndrome, ways to create an ASD-friendly classroom / learning environment and ideas about possible strategies for teaching pupils with ASD.

Access this resource: TTRB Special Educational Needs

New grant from Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity
For a child with ASD, the move from primary to secondary school can be a very difficult change. A new research grant from the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity is helping to develop support packages to help to make the process easier for children, their families and schools.

This three-year research programme will look formally for the first time at the difficulties and stresses that occur when a child moves to secondary school. By identifying specific factors, the results will inform school and government policy on supporting children with autism spectrum disorders in mainstream education.

If you have a child who is due to move to secondary school in September 2009 or September 2010, live within a few hours travel of London, and would like to participate in this study, please contact the project via email or by phone on: 020 7829 8679, ext 8099.

Click here for full information on the study

AET supplement in The Guardian 19th May
Look out for the special supplement sponsored by the AET to be published in The Guardian Education on Tuesday 19th May.

The supplement will provide an in-depth look at autism education in England , with case studies from teaching staff, families and young people on the autism spectrum across the country. This four-page special will be inserted into the Guardian Education section and we will have additional copies available on request.

Autism education course round-up

Here is a selection of autism education related courses coming up in the next few months. The information below is from external sources. Its inclusion in this newsletter should not be seen as endorsement or accreditation.

A Complete Guide to Asperger Syndrome

Date: 3 June 2009

Provider: Centre for the Development of Autism Practice (CDAP)

Speaker: Professor Tony Attwood

Venue: Exeter Conference Centre, Northernhay Street , Exeter , Devon EX4 3ER

Cost: £175 professionals (by invoice); £160 professionals (by cheque);

£80 people with an autism spectrum disorder and their families

Costs include lunch, refreshments, course materials and certificate of attendance.

To book: email Bryan Craig or 01246 583826.

A full day seminar by Professor Tony Attwood exploring Asperger Syndrome aimed at clinicians, educators and families of those with Asperger Syndrome.

Professor Attwood a leading international authority on practice related issues associated with Asperger syndrome. This seminar will explore Asperger syndrome from the speaker's vast clinical experience and involvement in both research and practice.

A range of topics will be discussed including the pathways and processes involved in diagnostic assessment, to the manifestation of common difficulties and differences. The speaker will also provide a host of practical strategies to support personal development and fulfillment.

Understanding and supporting the child on the autistic spectrum

Date: 12 June 2009

Provider: NASEN

Venue: Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay, Devon

Cost: NASEN members £195, non-members £295
To book: 01827 311 500

This one-day conference, supported by the AET, highlights the new autism specific resources that have been launched under the IDP.

Mary Daly, Programme Lead working for the National Strategies, will outline the aims and scope of the IDP. Dr Glenys Jones, University of Birmingham will look at the main challenges for making effective provision for children and young people on the autistic spectrum.

The aim of the conference is to increase skills and knowledge to identify the needs of children and young people on the autistic spectrum and to look at how to provide the support needed to develop learning.

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.

Visit Have Your Say on the AET website

Further information

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.

For any further information and feedback please contact us at

Autism Education Trust
393 City Road

07795 667749