The Spectrum is Pink (and blue and red and yellow and green…)

Written by Clare Melvin

The Pink charge is on. Over the last few years there has been demand to recognise the female presentation of autism. It was thought that Autism spectrum conditions weren’t as common in girls and women but it seems now that it is – it just looks different! There are a number of projects underway exploring how we look for autism and if the current methods and assessments are able to recognise autism in girls.

The NAHT Girls and Autism – Many Voices Conferences 2019 will build on the highly successful 2017 ‘The Big Shout’ conference, and intends to shout even louder about the inequalities and injustices that pervade the lives of girls with autism. The Conferences will offer:

  • An update on the work of the Girls with Autism Forum
  • An insight from the perspective of girls on the autism spectrum
  • Effective practice emerging in the field

Speakers include Professor Barry Carpenter OBE, CBE, Dame Uta Frith, Carrie Grant and a host of others. You can read more about the conference and speakers here, and book a place here.

Social media and online forums have meant that previously unheard voices can be seen and heard and while the research is catching up with the demand for the evidence, there are a number of helpful guides, blogs and sharing of experiences to provide support and some information.

All colours of the Rainbow.

But, it is not just girls with autism that are demanding a seat at the table, transgender identity in autism is also making a stand and with many organisations and local groups supporting LBGTI in those with intellectual and developmental disabilities the voices can only get louder! You can read about some of these groups on our previous blog, such as Rainbow Friends (@LDandGayLondon) and Supported Loving (@SupportedLoving) and follow them on twitter for latest news and events.

Detention of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism: Parliament wants your views!

As a result of evidence arising from an investigation into youth detention: solitary confinement and restraint, the government is collecting information about the inappropriate detention of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism in mental health hospitals. They are looking at whether being put in these types of placements has any risk of violating their human rights.

On 12 December 2018 the government heard important evidence from people with learning disabilities who have first-hand experiences of mental health hospitals. They also heard from families whose children are or who have been in such settings and whose human rights are at risk.

The Committee wishes to ensure that others have an opportunity to submit evidence. The questions of interest are:

  • Whether the Government’s Transforming Care programme, which aims to significantly reduce the number of those detained inappropriately, has been successful and if not, why not.
  • If it has not been successful what needs to be done to ensure that the numbers detained are reduced more rapidly.
  • Whether the human rights of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism who are detained in mental health hospitals are being breached.
  • If, so how are they breached and what needs to be done to better protect them?

Submissions can be from anyone (submission form) and received by Friday 8 February 2018. Find out more here.

Training & Resources.

  • The next run of the highly successful Understanding Autism, massive online open course (MOOC) starts this week. It will run between 14th January and 8th Feb 2019 and you read the material at your own pace. Commentary is voluntary and ongoing, with over 46,000 learners taking part in the course so far (it began April 2017)! The course is free and open to all, it provides the opportunity to learn about the history of our understanding of autism and challenge some of the existing beliefs and stereotypes about the condition.  The course is suitable for all, from teachers, support workers, family members, spouses, sibling, individuals with autism, teachers, spouses and siblings with autism, nurses, doctors, professors and nurses, doctors and professors with autism, and it has received positive feedback from the online autism community. Sign up here
  • MindED, an elearning forum to support healthy minds provide a FREE online training resource about people with intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviour, autism, and those with mental health problems.  Sessions are open to all users. Sign up and find out more here.

Don’t forget to follow us on twitter – @glldcop

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