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December 2009

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

This edition includes:

1. Events

  • AET Events – book now! 
  • TreeHouse annual lecture – watch online

2. AET Competition

  • AET website ‘You name it!’ competition

3. New Resources and Reports

  • Sentence Trouble – resources for the youth justice workforce
  • TreeHouse report shows inequality of autism services across the UK
  • Access to independent advocacy: an evidence review
  • Personal health budgets study under way

4. Help for Families and Young People

• NAS Christmas Guide
• Funding for home technology
• ‘My kind of future’ workbook
• NHS introduces carers self-assessment tool
• Money savings for families with disabled children

5. New Publications

6. Have Your Say

7. Further Information

Thank you for your continued support,

Sarah-Jane Critchley
AET Project Head

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.

1. Events

AET Events – book now
The latest series of AET events on the subject of ‘Transitions’ got off to a good start with the conference in Leeds on 22nd October, which was attended by 250 delegates. This was followed by successful roadshows in Peterborough and Plymouth.

The events continue in the New Year and spaces are still available for the remaining dates. Each one-day event brings together a range of key-note speakers and practical workshop sessions. Tickets are free but strictly limited and must be booked in advance.

You can book your place by downloading a booking form from the website. Alternatively please call: 0115 9113367 or email us.

Dates for the remaining events are as follows:

  • 28th January London at Savoy Place
  • 9th February Birmingham at Radisson SAS
  • 11th February Newcastle at Jury’s Inn
  • 25th February Hull at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel
  • 9th March Brighton at the Hilton Brighton Metropole
  • TreeHouse Annual Lecture – watch it online

A video of the TreeHouse Annual Lecture, which took place on Monday 23rd November, is available to view online.
Brian Lamb, who is leading the Lamb Inquiry into special educational needs and parental confidence, provided the keynote speech. The lecture also included discussion about the SEN system between parents, people with autism and professionals.

2. AET Competition

AET Website ‘You Name It!’ competition
We are currently developing a new section of AET website dedicated to teenagers, to complement the existing Kids Zone. It will contain games, videos, expert advice and chat and is set to launch in the spring.

We are holding a competition for teenagers to come up with a name for this area of the website. See the attached flyer for full details and please forward it on to any young people – both on the spectrum and not – who might be interested in entering. Email us your entries by 8th January 2010.

3. New Reports and Resources

New guide to help communication in youth justice system
The AET has helped create a new guide for the youth justice workforce called Sentence Trouble, to help them communicate more effectively with young people, particularly those with communication needs. The AET has worked on this in partnership with The Communication Trust and the Dyslexia SpLD Trust.

Around 60% of young people who commit offences have undetected communication needs, including autism and dyslexia, yet few staff that work in the youth justice system have the skills to adapt their own approach to communication. This means that that many young people do not get the support they need to help them communicate effectively, meaning they are more likely to end up in custody or re-offending.

Sentence Trouble is a detailed resource including practical advice on how to tell if a young person has communication needs as well as real life examples. It is written for everyone that works or volunteers in Youth Offending Teams, Secure Children’s Homes, Secure Training Centres and Young Offenders Institutions. The project will also provide much needed training to youth justice workers across England on the issues of communication needs.

TreeHouse report shows inequality of autism services across UK
A new report released by TreeHouse highlights the patchy picture of autism services for children across the UK. The report entitled ‘Snapshot of children’s autism services in the UK’ assessed local authorities across the country, reviewing data on diagnosis rates, how autism is categorised, budget allocation, training provided for staff and how local authorities are working with parents to improve services. The results demonstrate the extent of variability across the UK in these areas.
The report can be viewed online.

Access to independent advocacy: an evidence review
The Office for Disability Issues has published a report investigating the costs, benefits and effectiveness of advocacy support for disabled people. Advocacy is important for disabled people in situations where they are particularly at risk of losing choice and control and is widely welcomed as crucial to achieving the Government’s vision of more choice and control for all disabled people. The review examined four such situations including the transition to adulthood. For full information visit their website.

Personal health budgets study underway
Twenty sites across England have been selected to participate in a study to identify the benefits of personal health budgets. Earlier this year the Government pledged its commitment to creating a more personalised and responsive NHS by selecting sites across England to pilot personal health budgets. They are intended to be an innovative way to give patients the freedom to choose the support services that will best suit themselves or family members. See their website for full details

4. Help for Families and Young People

NAS Christmas guide
For most people, Christmas is fun and exciting, but for children with autism and their families, it can be very stressful. Children with autism often become confused or distressed by the change in routine or the increased social activity. The National Autistic Society has created a helpful guide to the festive season for parents and carers of children with autism. It includes advice about involving children in Christmas activities, remembering the needs of siblings and making presents autism friendly, as well as a video and blog by parents of a son with autism. The guide is available to download from the NAS website.

Funding for home technology
The Home Access programme has been introduced by the Government to help more low-income families get computers and internet access at home to support their child’s learning. Families can apply for the funds from a central body or individual schools can become more involved by aggregating the funds and ordering the equipment for all their pupils who qualify. Assistive technology will also be available for children who need additional support.
For further information visit their website.

Helping young people plan for the future
The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities has just published a new workbook, "My kind of a future", for young people with learning disabilities to help them be involved in planning their own futures. It is designed to help them prepare for the transition periods of leaving school or college, and gives practical advice on various topics.
It can be downloaded or ordered online.

NHS introduce carer’s self-assessment tool
NHS Choices have created an interactive self-assessment tool to help carers assess their own situation and find out what extra support they may be able to receive. It provides clear information on where to get more advice, help or support if it is needed.
Access the tool online.

Money savings for families with disabled children
Parents of disabled children can benefit from discounts on thousands of products and services from leading high street retailers and organisations by joining Family Fund Extra. Retailers who have signed up to the scheme include Haven, Comet, Stone Computers and BSM. Read more online.

5. New Publications

Please see attached a full list of recent autism related publications, which you might find of interest.

6. 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.

7. 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 us 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
020 7923 5754