Request for volunteers to take part in research at the Autism Research Centre , Cambridge University

We have received this request from the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge: “We are currently interested in recruiting additional participants for our research database. Registration is completed online ( and those who choose to sign up will have access to many different studies both online and in person. Please forward the attached flyer and this information to any adults (over 16 years old) diagnosed with autism spectrum conditions or parents of children (under 16 years old) with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.”

If you think you may be interested in taking part in this research, you can download the flyer here: ARC Flyer Aug2016

Cuts to Social Care – That BBC ‘Today’ Interview 17th February 2017

Much of the recent debate about funding for social care has focused on older people but a third of all social care users are working-aged people with disabilities. In the BBC’s Today programme (17th February 2017) John Humphreys interviews Carole Ross, the mother of a severely autistic child, and Liz Sayce the chief executive of Disability Rights UK.

Liz Sayce talks about the social care crisis: she discusses better ways for local authorities to provide social care by proactively working with disabled people and how such support is threatened by major cuts to care packages.  Listen to the excerpt here:

Interestingly at the start of this section you will hear John Humphreys refer to autism as a “disease”. How far are we from widespread understanding of the condition?



ASDA, Tesco & Morrisons Introduce New Accessible Toilet Signs Recognising ‘Hidden’ Disabilities

See article on Disability Sheffield’s blog page:

The Independent reports that “the new signs will urge customers to remember not all disabilities are visible.

The signs are intended to make people with conditions like Crohn’s disease, autism, anxiety, and inflammatory bowel disease feel they can use disabled facilities without facing criticism from other shoppers.”



Sheffield Autism Partnership Consultation launched

The Sheffield Autism Partnership Steering Group are holding a consultation period, from Monday 19th December to 13th February 2017. There is a survey form for anyone in Sheffield who is affected in any way by an autism spectrum condition, or for anyone at all who is interested, to complete.

“The Steering Group would like to suggest how an Autism Partnership for Sheffield could work but we would welcome your views. We have written this survey to find out what you think. The survey closes on 13 February 2017. We hope that the Partnership will start work as soon as possible after that date.”

You can respond to the survey in different ways:

Government Green Paper on Helping Disabled People into Work published 31st October 2016

Government Green Paper on Helping Disabled People into Work published 31st October 2016

The Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health on 31st October 2016  announced “new plans to help more people with long term conditions reap the benefits of work and improve their health.”

See the press release here and download the full report in PDF format or Open Document format. See here for the National Autistic Society reaction to the publication of the green paper.  And further – much more critical – reaction here from DisabledGo and from Disability News Service.

Sheffield is to be one of two trial areas: “Large scale trials are to be created using the Innovation Fund. The first trial areas are expected to be the West Midlands Combined Authority and Sheffield City Region. Seed funding is being provided to support the design stage. Trials could begin in spring 2017.”

National Autistic Society Launch Campaign about Employment

The NAS are currently running an important campaign about autism and employment as part of the Too Much Information campaign.  You can see it here on their website.

There is a video clip to watch about the difficulty of interview situations for autistic people, a campaign to get involved in, a report to download on the employment gap for autistic people and “A job searching and employment preparation workbook for autistic people”, also to download. Go to this webpage for further information.

There is and advice page for autistic employees and job-seekers as well as to prospective employers and top tips for a more autism friendly workplace.

Advice to autistic employees and  to job-seekers from the National Autistic Society can also be found on these pages.

Advice to employers and prospective employers of autistic people from the National Autistic Society can also be found on these pages.

NHS Advocacy Survey

The Disability Sheffield Information Service 26th October 2016 reports that:

“NHS England in the North is undertaking a project to understand the provision of advocacy services for adults with a learning disability and or autism across the North of England, including successes, challenges and gaps.” See here for the story.

Employment support allowance (ESA) will now continue automatically for those who have lifelong, severe health conditions with no prospect of improvement

Chronically sick benefit claimants will no longer be required to prove they are still ill every six months, the work and pensions secretary has announced.

Employment support allowance (ESA) will now continue automatically for those who have lifelong, severe health conditions with no prospect of improvement, Damian Green said.

According to today’s Guardian article (1st October 2016) autism is among the conditions that are likely to qualify for continuous payments without reassessment:

Autism Partnership evolving in Sheffield

Following the council’s “autism summit” in May 2015, a number of individuals and groups with a direct interest in improving information, opportunities and services for the autistic community in Sheffield (including members of Sheffield Autistic Society) have been working in different ways to try to make progress in line with the Autism Act (2009) and the National Strategy on autism.

We include people with autistic spectrum conditions, family members, carers and professionals who want  to “do something” about what has long been a severely neglected issue in Sheffield.

There have been working groups on Autism and Employment, and on Autism Training, Awareness and Information.

We are now working with the city council and local NHS to try to bring together more people and organisations in planning and improving services, through the creation of an official autism partnership body in Sheffield, as required under the Department of Health’s Statutory Guidance on Adult Autism.

Over the next few months, we hope to bring you news of these developments and, when there are opportunities to get involved, enable you to find out how.