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June 2008

e-newsletter: June 2008

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

In this edition:
• AET roadshows feedback
• AET appointments
• AET research update
• ENGAGE TV helping young people with autism in North East England
• Summer play schemes for young people on the spectrum

Thank you for your continued support and best wishes,

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 roadshows – thank you for making them a success

Thanks to your support, the series of roadshow events we held during April and May were a great success. For those of you who found time to attend an event, thank you very much for your valuable contributions. And for those of you who were not able to come, please keep in touch and let us know if you have any specific thoughts about the future development of the AET.

A report has been produced which captures the contributions made by delegates at the events, and we are now in the process of translating this for publication on the AET website. This feedback, together with the final research report, has been invaluable finalising our plans for a second year. We will share all of these documents online as soon as we are able to so please keep checking our website for updates.

At most of the events we showed a DVD ‘Autism and Me’ produced by Rory Hoy, a young man with Asperger syndrome. Many of those who saw it expressed an interest in obtaining a copy. The DVD can be purchased online from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. All the documents which were given out at the events can be downloaded from the AET website but please contact us if you cannot find the one you need.

One of the common themes which people raised at each of the events was how to find out about autism related support groups and services by area. The National Autistic Society has developed an Autism Services Directory which lists autism related services by region and area. It can be accessed online. If you know of a service which is not currently listed, email the NAS Information Centre.

AET appoints Project Manager and Support Officer

The AET Steering Group has appointed Sarah-Jane Critchley to the role of Project Head. Sarah-Jane has an extensive background in project management and management consultancy. She has gained expertise in education from her time as a school SEN Governor and volunteer for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) as well as being a parent of a child with special needs.

Kate Pettifer joins Sarah-Jane as the new AET Support Officer. Kate’s background is also in management consultancy and she has a great deal of experience in project support. She has direct family experience of autism and is keen to help the AET improve the current situation for young people and children with autism in education.

Both Sarah and Kate can be reached via the AET email or by calling 07795 667749.

AET Research update

The University of Birmingham research team, headed up by Dr Glenys Jones, has produced its final report on the issues, challenges and good practice in educational provision for children and young people on the autism spectrum. The Report is currently being considered by the AET Steering Group. Once approved by the Steering Group, the report will be issued to a select reading group of professionals, parents and people with autism for comment. We are hoping to be able to publish the final report in full on the AET website by the end of August and will update you in the next e-newsletter.

ENGAGE TV helps young people with autism develop their skills

ENGAGE TV works with people affected by disabilities, helping them access media training, job opportunities and to make their own films. Its aim is to be the first TV channel produced by and for people affected by disability, including autism. Charly Conquest, ENGAGE TV Producer says;

“We are extremely passionate about including the people we are trying to reach in every aspect of our production process. We offer full training opportunities and film production to any companies or individuals who are affected by disability.”

If you would like to find out more about ENGAGE TV email Charly or call 0191 260 2381.

New help to tackle bullying of children with autism

In May the Government published its first-ever guidance on how to deal with bullying of children with SEN and disabilities, including autism. The guidance is aimed at schools, and supports Safe to Learn, the Government's guidance which aims to strengthen anti-bullying work in schools published last year.

The National Autistic Society worked closely with Government to make sure that the needs of children with autism were acknowledged, and carried out a series of focus groups with children and young people with autism and their parents to make sure that their views were included. As a result the guidance includes a focus on autism, one of the main disabilities specifically highlighted in the document.

Alongside the guidance, the Government also announced a number of new initiatives to help improve the lives of disabled children:
• national expectations of how disabled children and families in every area can expect services to be provided - the ‘core offer’
• a new body to support delivery of short breaks for disabled children and their families;
• and the first wave of pilots for the £35 million Disabled Children’s Access to Childcare project.

You can download the new guidance.

Summer Play Schemes can provide help during school holidays

The long school summer holidays can provide a challenge for parents with children with autism who are used to the routine of school. A summer play scheme can be a great way to meet new people and to provide parents with a break. The Autism Services Directory lists a number of play related services through England. Visit the website to find out whether your area is covered.

The National Autistic Society website carries a useful information leaflet about play and autism.
In addition, the NAS website contains useful information for playworkers, working with children and young people with autism.

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

  • 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.