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October 2009

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

In this edition:
· AET Conferences and Roadshows: book your place now
· Help us to identify our key audiences
· New anti-bullying DVD for schools
· Participate in Great Ormond Street research on Y7 transitions
· New resources and publications

Thank you for your continued support. We hope to meet you in person at one of our events!

Sarah-Jane Critchley
AET Project Head

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Book now for AET Conferences and Roadshows on Transitions
Places are filling up fast for the next series of AET events, which kick off with a conference in Leeds on Thursday 22nd October. We only have a few places left!

Tackling the important subject of transitions, 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.

Booking forms for all events can be downloaded. Alternatively please call: 0115 9113367 or email

Dates for the events are as follows:

22nd October – Leeds at The Queens Hotel
28th January – London at Savoy Place

17th November - Brighton at the Hilton Brighton Metropole
24th November - Peterborough at Holiday Inn, Peterborough West
1st December - Plymouth at Jury’s Inn
9th February - Birmingham at Radisson SAS
11th February - Newcastle at Jury’s Inn
25th February - Hull at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel

Help the AET to identify key audiences – Quick online questionnaire
We need a cost-effective strategy for identifying, reaching and working with key professional groups within Education, Local Authorities and Health who will have the greatest impact for children and young people on the autism spectrum. As a part of our strategic review, we are working with smart resource and would like your help in identifying what organisations and publications you refer to. Please go online to and complete the survey. We really appreciate your help.

Launch of new DVD for schools to help tackle bullying of children with special educational needs
The DCSF has launched a new DVD for pupils and a new resource pack for schools to help prevent and tackle bullying of young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. The DVD ‘Make Them Go Away’ is aimed at children aged between 7 and 14 to raise awareness of their peers with SEN and disabilities, including strong messages about how bullying affects their lives.

The DVD resource pack has been produced by Takeone Productions in consultation with the Anti-Bullying Alliance and disability groups. It will be available for all primary and secondary schools in hard copy and online. A 5-minute film is available on YouTube.

Call for PCTs to work with disability groups to improve services
Primary care trusts can improve services for disabled children by working more closely with disability groups according to a new report by the NHS Confederation, published in conjunction with the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign.

The report ‘Aiming high for disabled children: delivering improved health services’ looks at how PCTs can best work in partnership with local organisations to deliver high quality care that provides value for money. It contains a number of case studies examining PCT partnerships with child disability groups that have improved provision of equipment and services.

Christine Lenehan, EDCM board member and director of the Council for Disabled Children, said: "We have welcomed the priority given to disabled children in the recent child health strategy and the confirmation that PCTs have £340m in their baseline budgets from 2008-2011 for disabled children's services, including children's palliative care. But in the context of a devolved NHS this will only make a difference to the lives of disabled children if every PCT demonstrates strong leadership and has a clear accountability structure for disabled children's services."

The report is available to download

Great Ormond Street Hospital research project wants your opinions
Research into the challenges a child on the autism spectrum faces in the transition from primary to secondary school is being undertaken at the Social Communications Disorders Clinic at the Great Ormond Street Hospital . Funded by a grant from the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, the research aims to establish a new system of evaluation and intervention that primary and secondary schools can use to help them to provide appropriate support for the transition.

The research team are keen to hear from anyone interested in participating in the research, including education and health professionals working with children on the autism spectrum, as well with people on the autism spectrum themselves and their parents or carers. To complete the anonymous questionnaire go to this website. Your help is appreciated.

Schools inspections to focus on children with special educational needs
The government has announced plans to strengthen inspection law so schools are assessed on how they support children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. The plans, announced by Ed Balls, also intend to give greater rights to parents unhappy with their child’s statement of SEN. This will give parents more say over the objectives set for their child. These announcements were part of the Government acceptance of recommendations made in the Lamb Inquiry into special educational needs.

Further details on the recommendations made by Brian Lamb can be seen here.

New Resources

New from the NAS
A range of National Autistic Society leaflets covering education have been recently updated. They cover important topics such as exclusion, mediation, advocacy tips, discrimination and individual education plans. Some of the leaflets cover England and Wales , with separate leaflets for Scotland . All are available from the Autism Helpline team on 0845 070 4004 or on the NAS website.

A new resource on using visual supports to help people with an ASD can be found here.

The NAS has also launched a new DVD and booklet aimed at professionals working in local authorities and health services to help them involve people with autism, parents, carers in the planning of local services. The DVD entitled "Involving people" includes practical tips about how to consult people with autism and shows examples of good practice. The "Your services, your say" guide explains to people with autism and their parents/carers how they can participate in planning local services and covers different methods of involvement. To receive your free copy please email. or phone 020 7923 579.

New guide on rights for carers
Carers UK have brought out a new edition of a guide to carers' rights, "Carers and their rights: the law relating to carers", written by Luke Clements.

Access the full document

DCSF Safeguarding disabled children: practice guidance
A new guide is available for practitioners working with children with disabilities, who experience greater vulnerability and need additional action to be safe from abuse and neglect. It covers practice guidance for Local Safeguarding Children's Boards as well as professionals in the field. Presents research findings and statistics on the abuse of children with disabilities. Summarises legislation on this topic. Emphasises the importance of communication with the young person and lists resources to help.

Click here to find out more

Case studies to assist councils on complex needs
The Local Government Association and providers' coalition the Children's Services Development Group (CSDG) have published a series of case studies to improve the commissioning of services for children with complex special needs. These include a case study of an adolescent with Asperger syndrome.


A guide to receiving direct payments from your local council: a route to independent living published by the Department of Health This updated guide explains the system of direct payments that people can use to pay for services. Available to download

New Publications

Art as an early intervention tool for children with autism
by Nicole Martin, Jessica Kingsley Publications, Exploring how therapeutic art-making can be a useful tool to help young children with autism express their thoughts and feelings, this book is packed with tips and suggestions for how to provide art therapy for children with autism.

Emotional, motivational and interpersonal responsiveness of children with autism in improvisational music therapy
by Jinah Kim, Jeonju University, Korea, Autism, Vol. 13, No. 4, 389-409 (2009) This study measuring the responsiveness in children with autism to improvisational music therapy, found significant positive evidence supporting the value of music therapy in promoting social, emotional and motivational development in children with autism.

Person-centred approaches to supporting children and adults with autism spectrum disorders by Julie Beadle-Brown and Richard Mills, published in the Tizard Learning Disability Review, Volume 14 Issue 3 July 2009
The paper focuses on the importance of increasing awareness of the need for better services for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. It includes a case study written from a parent's perspective, highlighting the need for good joint working to support families, and considers good practice in supporting children and adults with autism.

Blue sky thinking?: I don't think so
by Elizabeth Attfield published in the Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, Volume 3 Issue 2 June 2009

This is a personal account of the issues faced by carers of a young adult with autism and a learning disability in making the transition from children's services to an adult residential setting, and the ongoing difficulties in maintaining his well-being and ensuring his future quality of life.

Schools for special needs 2009-2010
published by Kogan Page

The definitive guide to schools in the UK catering for pupils with special educational needs, it provides a directory of over 2,000 independent and state schools. The book also contains guidance for parents on rights and the educational system, as well as guidance from experts and practical advice for those looking to select a school and the application/selection processes involved.

The autism transition guide: planning the journey from school to adult life by Carolyn Bruey and Mary Beth Urban, Woodbine House, July 2009 A practical guide to transition planning for teenagers with autism, their families and teachers to navigating the crucial, sometimes tricky journey from high school to adult life, covering a range of options such as residential choices; postsecondary education; employment; recreation and leisure activities. This must-have resource provides ideas and strategies that can be applied to a broad range of individuals on the autism spectrum from the college-bound student to the student who requires 24-hour supervision to succeed.

An introduction to exercise and sport for people who have autism
by Amanda Durrant
For individuals on the autism spectrum, participation in physical exercise is often difficult. This book gives ideas into which sporting activities to implement among individuals from three years to adult age offering the benefits of sport but within an environment that has been adapted to suit the player, enabling them to stay focused for longer.

Papers from Learners on the Autism Spectrum: Preparing Highly Qualified Educators
By Kari Dunn Buron from Autism Asperger Publishing
Sensory processing identifying patterns and support strategies
by Winnie Dunn
An accessible description of sensory processing difficulties in students with disabilities using Dunn's Model of sensory processing (1997)

Fostering peer play and friendships: creating a culture of autism
by Heather McCracken, Tara Tuchel and Pamela Wolfberg
The article highlights the importance of peer play and friendships for children with autism who often lack those experiences by focusing on two social facilitation models.

Systemizing emotions: using interactive multimedia as a teaching tool
by Simon Baron-Cohen and Ofer Golan
The article looks at the difficulty people on the autism spectrum have recognising emotions in others, looking specifically at facial, vocal and contextual recognition and how computer-based applications can be used to teach emotion recognition.

Educational experiences across the lifespan: a personal perspective
by Stephen Shore
A personal account of growing up with Asperger syndrome, the account focuses particularly on experiences in the education system to highlight the special challenges in educating students on the autism spectrum, concluding with suggestions for practical solutions in the classroom.