Beyond the High Fence.
Gavin Harding MBE, provides the foreword to a new joint publication by NHS England and Pathways Associates. ‘Beyond the High Fence from the Unheard Voices of People with LD, Autism or Both‘ was co-produced with people with a learning disability and autistic people who are, or have been, in hospital and offers their views on what more needs to happen to improve quality of care and support people to make a successful return to their communities.
This report is for NHS England, specialist commissioners, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), local authorities and anyone working in the criminal justice system and focused on looking ‘Beyond the high fence‘ and seeing what is possible for people who have been in prison, hospital or both.
As an ex-patient, Gavin has been in a secure hospital unit, and since fought for people with a learning disability, autism or both held under Ministry of Justice restrictions to be included in Transforming Care since Winterbourne View. Now co-chair of the Transforming Care board, Gavin works full time with NHS England and collaborates with focus groups across the UK and made contributions to the NHS Long Term Plan regarding individuals detained in hospitals. Read the full easy read report here.
Concluding the Rosie Project.
In 2013 author Graeme Simsion introduced us to Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. The Rosie Project focuses on his quest, taking the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designed the Wife Project, to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers … enter Rosie … The Rosie Effect follows Don’s and Rosie in the next stage of their relationship and the final instalment The Rosie Result is coming in April this year.
In an interview with The Conversation Graeme admits that autism is a word he “skirted around” in the first and second Rosie novels. The character of Don displayed traits commonly associated with Asperger’s, such as the ability to be highly focused and difficulty with social skills, but autism was not an explicit focus of the first two books. In the third and final instalment, The Rosie Result, Graeme tackles the topic head on.
A lot has changed in autism circles since The Rosie Project was published in 2013, with a dramatic increase in awareness and recognition. Along with a shift in social perceptions there have been changes to diagnostic criteria. Asperger’s, for example, no longer has its own diagnostic category, but falls under the umbrella of autism. Another development is the move toward the idea of “neurodiversity”, or the view that neurological differences have always existed and are part of human evolution.
Graeme Simsion takes all of this on board in his latest novel and is not afraid to get political, raising topics such as the inflexibility of the school system, misunderstandings and stereotypes, bullying, medication, vaccination, and the pros and cons of having a label.
Have Your Say!
Take part in the first national survey of people with a learning disability in 15 years! The Mencap survey provides people with a learning disability the chance to share their experiences and what’s important to them, including sections on friendships and relationships as well as health, employment and inclusion. It was fully co-produced by people with a learning disability and the findings will be shared later in the summer. Take part here.
The Autism Act says the Government has to review its autism policy from time to time. This is happening this year, providing a vital opportunity to uncover what has and has not changed over the last decade and to campaign for further improvements to support for autistic people. The National Autistic Society want as many autistic people and families to engage in this survey to help them tell Government what needs to change.
This survey covers areas such as social care, training, benefits, mental health and transition from childhood to adulthood. Over recent years, surveys on other topics, like employment and education, have been completed and will be included in the research.
Although the Autism Act only applies in England, The National Autistic Society want to hear from you if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland too. This will help to build a better understanding of what is happening across the UK and uncover any specific issues.
You can complete the survey here (it takes 15-30 minutes to complete) and all surveys need to be completed by 10pm on April 7th 2019.
Training and Conferences.
Stay Up Late’s (un)Ordinary conference in London on March 26th is a conference with a difference. While the majority of those in the audience will be professionals working in the social care sector in one form or another, all of those giving speeches, leading workshops or making presentations will have a learning disability.
The conference will cover three main themes: (i) communities, (ii) relationships and (iii) work – and will look at ways in which we can work together to overcome the barriers society puts up and ensure people with learning disabilities can lead an ordinary life.
In the run-up to the conference Stay Up Late will be introducing a number of their speakers. Hear from Laura Small and learn about her before she speaks on relationships at the conference.
BILD Ageing Well – Growing Older with Learning Disabilities Conference. 29th March 2019, London. The British Institute of Learning Disabilities Conference places the spotlight on the health and social inequalities often faced by people with learning disabilities as they grow older. We all want to support people to live well as they grow older and continue to have the best lives that they possibly can.
Experts will present current thinking around early mortality, living with dementia, and supporting people with learning disabilities to come to terms with their own deaths and those of loved ones. The focus will be on putting research into practice, so there will be practical resources to share that will be explained by the people who have developed them. There will also be opportunity to pose questions to an expert panel.
Find out more, read about speakers and book your place 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.