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February 2009

e-newsletter: February 2009

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

In this edition:

  • AET National Conference: book now to avoid disappointment
  • Autism Bill: how to lobby your local MP to support the Bill
  • AET Advisory Council: news from the inaugural meeting
  • DCSF news: Children’s Plan one year on and £38m announced for SEN
  • TDA news: CPD database available online
  • APPGA enquiry into Transition: call for evidence
  • World Autism Day: 2 April 2009

Thank you for your continued support,

Sarah-Jane Critchley
AET Project Head

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AET National Conference 2009: Sharing Good Practice

The Autism Education Trust (AET) is holding its first National Conference, ‘Sharing Good Practice’, at Central Hall in Westminster, London on Thursday 26th February 2009. Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Minister for Schools and Learning will deliver the keynote address about the Government’s ambitions for improving autism education provision across England through better collaboration and information sharing.

The one day conference will bring together all those working in the autism education sector, the schools workforce, local authority representatives, health professionals, adults and young people with autism and their parents and carers to share experiences and good practice and learn more about the work of the AET. It will also see the launch of the new AET website designed to provide the most comprehensive autism education information hub for education practitioners, local authorities, parents/carers and children and young people on the autism spectrum.

Places for this event are free but limited and must be booked in advance. For full conference details and to book tickets visit AET National Conference 2009 to download a booking form or contact T: 0115 9113367 F: 0115 9113362 E:

Following the National Conference, the AET is running a series of ‘Roadshow’ events across England during March, April and May. The six events will mirror the National Conference and in addition will address some of the more local issues in each area:

Autism Education Trust Regional Roadshow programme 2009:
• Wed 11th March - Liverpool
• Tues 17th March - Carlisle
• Tues 21st April - Derby
• Thurs 23rd April - Norwich
• Tues 28th April - Southampton
• Thurs 7th May - Exeter

Find out about the full story.

The Autism Bill: help make it law by lobbying your local MP

We are delighted to announce that the Autism Bill has been chosen by Cheryl Gillan, Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham, to be taken forward for parliamentary debate.
The Autism Bill is a professionally-drafted set of proposals to introduce a law to support people with autism. It is supported by a wide range of organisations across the autism community including The Autism Education Trust.
There is still a long way to go towards making the Autism Bill a reality. For the Bill to reach the next stage in the parliamentary process we need at least 100 MPs to vote in favour of the Bill when it is read on 27 February. Without this, any chance for an Autism Bill will end.
The National Autistic Society is leading the drive to make the Autism Bill UK law. A quick and simple template is available via the NAS website to email your MP with information about the Autism Bill and a request to attend the reading on 27 February. Read the full story and contact your MP.

AET Advisory Council: first meeting hailed great success
The first meeting of the AET Advisory Council was held in January. The council consists of parents, teachers, local authority representatives and speech and language therapists, as well as adults on the autism spectrum from around the country. The Council held a good preliminary discussion on appropriate educational outcomes for children on the autism spectrum which will be taken forward in subsequent meetings and will inform the future work of the AET.

The AET Youth Council has also now been selected and the first round of meetings will take place with members of the Youth Council and a participation worker in February and March. One of the Youth Council’s preliminary tasks will be to consider and provide input to AET information materials for children and young people on the autism spectrum.

DCSF news: The Children’s Plan – vision for 21st century children’s services

On the anniversary of the flagship Children's Plan (Thursday 11 December), Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, set out his vision for 21st century children's services to help deliver the ambition of making England the best place in the world to grow up. Announcing a new £200 million 'co-location fund' to bring health, education and children's services together under one roof, Ed Balls also promised more support for those who work with children, building capacity to work across boundaries to join up and support services so that children come first - not just in child protection but in all aspects of children's lives.

For further information: The Children's Plan: One year on

DCSF news: £38m announced for children with SEN

Children's Secretary Ed Balls announced in December an investigation to tackle poor information available to parents of children with special educational needs, the failure of some local authorities to comply with their SEN duties and a lack of transparency in the SEN system. The funding was announced following interim findings from SEN expert Brian Lamb's review of parental confidence in special education needs provision. Mr Lamb has written to Ed Balls raising concerns that parents feel they have to "fight" or "battle" the system to secure high quality provision for their children and listed concerns ranging from a lack of information for parents, to failures by local authorities to comply with their duties in relation to children with SEN and disabilities.

For further information: £38m announced for children with SEN

Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) news: pilot national database of Continuing Professional Development

The national Continuing Professional Development (CPD) database is the first of its kind specifically for the children’s workforce in schools. It was launched 1 October 2008 and is being piloted by the TDA for one year initially. It’s free to register and is not limited to any particular audience or geographic location.

It aims to be the first port of call for schools searching for CPD and those who look for CPD on their behalf (such as local authority coordinators) and to increase their ability to make informed choices about what to purchase, thereby improving the impact and quality of the CPD actually taken up.

Providers who wish to register their provision on the site, must also sign up to the Agency’s code of practice which ensures a minimum standard is adhered to by those offering CPD, and gives confidence to those searching for it.

How can I sign up?
If you are looking for CPD for those working in schools the database is free to use and you don’t need to register to use it. You can simply start searching now.

If you are a provider of CPD you can sign up for free and make your CPD information available. You just need to visit the site and follow the instructions. There is a dedicated helpdesk to help you if you have any difficulties in completing the process. As a provider, you can take advantage of the marketing the TDA will be ramping up over the coming weeks, and use the soon to be released statistics function to help gauge the impact you achieve in terms of visitor numbers and hits on your pages.

APPGA enquiry into Transition: call for evidence

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) has launched its first ever inquiry. The inquiry will look at the transition stage of young people with autism from the age of 14 to 25, and is inviting anyone with an interest in autism to submit written evidence to the inquiry. The APPGA is a formal cross-party group of MPs and Peers who share an interest in autism and Asperger syndrome.

The transition from school to adulthood can be a particularly difficult time for young people with autism. The transition from children's services can often involve a range of different agencies. Problems often occur when these agencies fail to link up. Consequently, parents tell us time and time again that transition is a major concern for them.

The inquiry will report in June 2009 and will result in a short, concise report of six chapters covering six core issues, with action recommendations to ministers.

How to get involved
If you are a parent or carer of a young person with autism, you can submit evidence through the The National Autistic Society

World Autism Awareness Day: 2 April 2009

You can find out more about the day and upload your own photos on the Autism Speaks website here.

Autism education course round-up

Here is our regular round-up 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.

Guide to Managing Challenging Behaviours
Date: 18 March 2009
Provider: PECS
Venue: Novotel Manchester Centre, M1 4LX
Cost: £137 for professionals and £69 for family members
To book: 01273 609555

This workshop, from the creators of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), outlines a powerful and effective model for dealing with challenging behaviour, including the most challenging self-injurious behaviour. The one-day workshop is suitable for parents and professionals working with people on the autism spectrum. Previous experience of PECS is not necessary.
What you will learn:

  • how to observe and understand behaviours, and why they are happening
  • variables to put in place before you will be successful with behaviour strategies
  • how to implement realistic and effective intervention plans—what works and what doesn’t
  • the link between communication skills, meaningful activities and a reduction in
    unwanted behaviours
  • ethical considerations for implementing behaviour strategies

For more information and the full list of 2009 courses, visit website or call 01273 609555.

Living with Asperger syndrome: a one-day workshop for partners of people with AS
Date: 10 May 2009
Provider: Hendrickx Associates
Venue: Hove, East Sussex
Cost: £95 (Maximum 10 places available)
To book: 01273 711258

A fun, informal and interactive day to increase understanding and share experiences of having a relationship with a partner who has Asperger syndrome.

The day will include training on Asperger syndrome and how it affects an individual in a relationship, opportunities for sharing experiences, practical strategies for Asperger syndrome relationships and also the chance to ask questions and hear the perspective of an adult with Asperger syndrome. The day will be presented by AS/NT partners Sarah Hendrickx and Keith Newton, co-authors of "Asperger Syndrome - A Love Story" (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007).

Inside Asperger syndrome – strategies and support: a one-day workshop for people with Asperger syndrome, their parents, partners and professionals
Date: 11 May 2009
Provider: Hendrickx Associates
Venue: BRAVE Enterprise, 2 Upper York Street, Bristol BS2 8QN
Cost: £145 professionals, £85 parents, carers and those with AS
To book: 01273 711258

A one day course for those wishing to know more about this complex developmental condition, either for professional or personal interest. The course is ideal for those new to Asperger syndrome and those wanting a more in-depth understanding. It is suitable for those working with children or adults.

The day will include an in-depth look at:

• Characteristics of the condition
• The Autism Spectrum – history and explanation
• Implications for the individual with Asperger syndrome and for those supporting them
• Considerations for supporting both adults and children with Asperger syndrome.
• Strategies and approaches for living and working with those with Asperger syndrome

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.

Fill in our online form.

Further information

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