Sheffield charity ends adult autism support service

According to the Sheffield Star (14th November) “A Sheffield charity service which provides support for autistic adults has ended resulting in impending job losses. Autism Plus, located on Bridge Street in Sheffield city centre, will no longer provide support for disabled adults at their homes due to ‘external funding pressures’.”

Read more at:

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment guidance updated

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment guidance has been updated in ways which may be of particular relevance to autistic claimants. See the statement below from the DWP:

Department for Work and Pensions and Penny Mordaunt MP
2 November 2017

The PIP guidance now reflects a recent legal decision on the interpretation of people’s needs for supervision in order to carry out activities safely.

This change will lead to approximately 10,000 claimants receiving an extra £70 to £90 a week by 2022/2023.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“Personal Independence Payment (PIP) contributes to the additional costs which disabled people face and provides greater opportunities for them to lead full, active and independent lives. Twenty nine per cent of people on PIP receive the highest level of support, compared to 15 per cent under Disability Living Allowance.

We regularly review the guidance that case managers use to make decisions about someone’s eligibility for PIP. These updates will help us continue to ensure people with the highest costs associated with their disability or health condition are receiving the most support.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be going through all existing cases to identify anyone who may be entitled to a higher rate of PIP as a result of the judgment, which was handed down on 9 March 2017. Anyone who is affected will be contacted by DWP, and their payments will be backdated to the judgment.

In addition, a number of affected individuals will benefit from the following:

clarifications to the assessment criteria for activities 7 (communicating verbally) and 9 (engaging with people face to face) under the daily living component of PIP so that claimants can score points for both activities
changes to the criteria for activity 1 under the mobility component of PIP to reflect the challenges that may be faced by people with sensory difficulties if they experience disruptions to a journey”

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has made a written ministerial statement on the PIP changes.

Read the updated PIP assessment guidance

Autism Friendly Sessions offered at Magna Science Adventure Centre

On 1st and 4th November Magna Science Adventure Centre will be holding specialist autism friendly sessions. The organisation have provided us with the following  information:

“Magna Mayhem is Yorkshire’s largest indoor inflatable adventure zone for kids. Please see our website for photos and videos
There is no upper age limit for our Autism Friendly session, it is at the discretion of the supervising adult to deem suitability for your child/children. With the exception of the Ocean Playzone which is limited to under three year olds only. Please kindly note you are responsible for the care and safety of the children within your party at all times when attending Magna Mayhem. Our team members will be onsite to ensure the safety of the equipment, offer advice and monitor user numbers per piece.”

“On the day we will;

Provide a social story introduction to the session, clearly explaining what to expect and who to go to for help
Have quieter music with gentler beats/rhythm
Reduce the number of children on each inflatable at one time so as not to force interaction/social demands
Ensure all team members are fully briefed to accommodate the needs of the children
Have a clear countdown to the end of the session, both visual and audible, to avoid an abrupt ending
Light the room to avoid excessive dark areas and limit flashing lights
Have a number of additional sensory activities on offer.”

Computer Club for 8 to 16 years run by Sheffield University’s Volunteering Service

Sheffield Autistic Society have received this invitation:

Computer Club is a project run by students from Sheffield University’s Volunteering Service . I am writing to you since we are currently advertising for new members and I was wondering whether the club may be of interest to any of the members of your support group.

Computer Club is a weekly project which involves student volunteers working on a one-to-one basis with children aged 8-16 years old and with an autistic spectrum disorder, as well as their siblings. All volunteers complete training, including child safeguarding and autism awareness, prior to starting. The club takes place on Saturday mornings during university term time. We have found that it can be a very positive experience for children, rewarding for volunteers, and great fun for all!

I have attached an information sheet (see below) which gives further details about the club.

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with Helen, our Coordinator from Sheffield Volunteering, using the contact details provided on the sheet. We will be pleased to discuss the project further with you or with any parents/carers who are interested!

Many thanks and kind regards,

Lili Bidari

What is Computer Club?
Computer Club is run by students from The University of Sheffield’s Volunteering Service. The project is designed for local children aged 8-16 who are classified on the Autistic Spectrum and their siblings.

What do you do?
Each Child is seated at their own computer with a volunteer to assist them. They are provided with a selection of computer games on the computer club website and also have access to find something else which may interest them.

Volunteers work on a one to one basis with the children. They are there to assist them in how to use the computers and help them play games. Children are also encouraged to discuss what they are doing and to maintain general conversation.

Every volunteer is a member of The University and must have completed training in safeguarding children, behaviour management, safe restraint and autism awareness. In addition a clear enhanced CRB are required. The teams of volunteers work on a 2-week rota and 2-3 project leaders oversee each session and organise the club.

When and where does it take place?
Computer club takes place during university term time on Saturday Mornings in Firth Court at Sheffield University. Parents and Carers are asked to stay in a room near to the children where there will be tea, coffee and biscuits available.

Each week that the club runs, there are two sessions in the morning. The first session takes place between 9.45am and 10.45am. There is then a 15 minute break during which the children are offered juice and biscuits. The second session runs between 11am and 12pm. The children are welcome to attend either of the sessions, and we endeavor to give the option of staying for both sessions wherever possible.

Anything else?
We have found that computer club it is a great way to help the confidence and communication abilities of the children whilst they are having fun. For some children the use of a computer can help to break the intimidation of face-to-face conversation as well as develop their skills at using the internet and computers. The project also provides children with the opportunity to make new friends and as a parent/carer can help you meet other adults in a similar situation to you.

What does it cost?
Absolutely Nothing! The club is funded by the University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union.
If you are interested…
If you would like to join computer club we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Helen on 0114 222 85 47


Bohm Dialogue – for Professionals and Students in Autism 21st September

Bohm Dialogue – for Professionals and Students in Autism.
Sep 21st 2017. 1pm – 5pm 38 Mappin St, Sheffield, S1 4DT.
Free upon registration / Refreshments provided.
See poster for this event here.

Bohm Dialogue, (named after David Bohm) is a free exchange of ideas and information without an agenda and provides the opportunity to examine preconceptions and prejudices among peers by open conversation with active listening.

There is an increasingly wide range of definitions, criteria and ideas around Autism Spectrum Conditions, some changing regularly, some driven by factors such as culture. It is our objective to facilitate a Dialogue between professionals and students and support a greater common and more dynamic understanding. This one-off Dialogue, part of a British Academy funded project for ShARL, precedes a major programme due to commence in early 2018. Future Dialogue sessions will involve autistic and non-autistic people from different cultures and sectors of society, and autistic people exclusively, and aims to increase common understanding and improve lives of autistic people.

“…it may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation so that creativity can be liberated.” – David Bohm

Jonathan Drury BA (Hons) is a member of the UK Academy of Professional Dialogue and Dr. Liz Milne, Reader at University of Sheffield, is the founder of the Sheffield Autism Research Lab (University of Sheffield)
Registrations of interest and enquiries – please email Dr. Liz Milne

More information:

A human catastrophe – New UN condemnation for UK human rights record on disability

31st August 2017: The UK Government’s claim to be a ‘world leader in disability issues’ has today been crushed by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Committee has released damning Concluding Observations on the UK, following its first Review of the government’s compliance with the Convention.

The Observations conclude last week’s public examination of the UK Government’s record on delivering disabled people’s rights. The examination was declared by the UK rapporteur Mr Stig Langvad, to be “the most challenging exercise in the history of the Committee”. Mr Langvad raised deep concerns on the UK Government’s failure to implement the rights of disabled people.

Read the full story  here:

11th September Autism Plus launches a new job club for adults with disabilities

On Thursday, 31 August 2017, Katie Mitchell <> wrote:

On the 11th September Autism Plus launches a new job club for adults with disabilities who need a little extra help applying for jobs. Running fortnightly, the sessions are open to anyone who feels they need help with applications and support to apply for work. Taking place at a central Sheffield location for a small fee of £30 per person per month, there is also the option to add on sessions focused on confidence, communication skills and interview preparation. Places are limited. For further information contact: Email: Telephone: 0114 3840300

Reminder from Admin – don’t forget there are also employment support services from such organisations as:
Autism Centre for Supported Employment, Spectrum E, and Big Ambitions
See Employment Page
and see the Working Group on Employment’s annotated and downloadable list of Online Resources on Employment and Autistic Adults