Sheffield Autistic Society – May 2023 newsletter


Hi Everyone

Welcome to all our new members and thank you to everyone for your support. Here is a round-up of information and news for May which we hope you will find useful and of interest.

Get involved – adults

Adult Autism Peer Support Group (Zoom)

For autistic adults 18+ only – will meet online over Zoom on the following date from 7pm until 8.30pm: Wednesday 10 May everyone welcome – new members too! This is a Sheffield Autistic Society group and meets on the second Wednesday of the month,

Please contact Helen for more information at and she will send you the joining details if you wish to come along. See attached Group Online Group guidelines 2023 which set out what to expect at the meetings which are friendly and supportive.

Join the A Team!

We are a group of adults on the autistic spectrum who meet socially on a regular basis either just to enjoy ourselves or to learn something new or to improve our physical or mental health. Some of us are parents, some work for local employers or are self-employed, others engage in volunteering and other forms of work experience and others still are studying.

We have a number of regular activities which include a monthly meeting at a friendly city centre pub, a monthly walk in the area, a monthly art/craft event, a fortnightly snooker club and a monthly online social group. We send out a weekly newsletter to members about activities that are coming up and wider events in Sheffield.

For details of how to join please see

ACCTing Out Social Group

ACCTing Out is a social group for young autistic adults aged 18 and above. We run fortnightly activities normally on Tuesday evenings, to places like the cinema, to play pool, go for a meal, and more.

The group runs supportive social opportunities that help young adults to get out of the house and participate in activities with friends and peers. The group aims to help boost the confidence and self-esteem of young adults, have a positive impact on mental health and build social, communication and life skills. Each ACCTing Out activity is led and supported by ACCT staff and volunteers.

For details of how to join please see

Inclusive LGBTQ+ Café

A social meet up for neurodiverse/disabled members of the LGBTQ+ community, alternate Thursdays on Zoom, 3-4pm or at Spirit of Sheffield, 3-5pm. Email for more information.

Autistic Women’s Network – WAND

WAND is an Autistic Women’s Network that is being established in Sheffield.

If you are interested in joining the network please contact Sylvia Johnson ( and she can sign you up. WAND has recently launched an online Forum and Sylvia can explain how to access that.

New Mental Health Drop Hub in Sheffield city centre

A new drop-in Mental Health Support Hub has opened for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis and want support. You can just turn up as there is no need to book. The staff team is available to provide emotional, social and practical support if you are in crisis or feel you are heading toward a crisis situation. They also offer help in creating staying well and crisis plans.

They offer support in person, over the phone, or via video call. You can come just for a chat or to access one-to-one support and group sessions with r staff team. Help is available in person, over the phone and via video call. The Hub is on Bank Street S1 2DS and open in the evenings 6pm –12 pm and 2pm -12 pm at weekends. See the attached leaflet.Sheffield Support Hub – A5 Leaflet

Peer support – ADHD Adult Group

Face to face meetings upstairs at the NHS Walk In Centre on 75 Broad Lane, Sheffield, S1 3PB. Second Wednesday of every month 6pm to 7.30pm.

For more details contact: ADHDPEERSSHEFFIELD@GMAIL.COM

Autistic friendly swim at Concord Sports Centre

An autism friendly session takes place on Sundays between 3.45pm – 4.30pm: Autism/Sensory Swim. Please see website for details of pricing and booking

Get involved – children and young people

Free information session: Autism and anxiety

It will consist of a presentation on Autism and anxiety, followed by plenty of time for discussion and peer support around any issues on this subject that parent carers would like help with.

There is no charge for the session and no diagnosis is required, all are welcome to attend. Please book your place at

Monday 15th May 2023 at 10:00am – 11:30am at Primrose Family Centre, 45 Creswick Street, Sheffield, S6 2TN

Sheffield Parent Carer Forum events:

Transition subgroup meeting on 16 May :
This group is for parents of young people aged 14-25 years with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This meeting will have a focus on employment support, and we’ll be joined by representatives from Autism Plus and Opportunity Sheffield to learn more about the support they offer. We are a friendly group and there will be time to chat and swap information with other parents. No need to book, just turn up.

FREE trial session: Craft for children with additional needs on 1 June

This is an opportunity for your child to try out the craft sessions we’ll be running with Ignite Imaginations during the summer holidays. Led by a professional artist, the sessions are aimed at age 7-11 years, but older children who enjoy ‘younger’ activities and non-disabled siblings are welcome, too! Parents must stay for the whole session. Booking essential. Please book via Ignite Imaginations. If you have any queries, call Ignite Imaginations on 0114 2686813 or email

To book and for more details:

Autism Hope Sheffield

We are a support group for parents and family members of children of all ages, with Autism Spectrum Conditions based in north Sheffield. We meet weekly to offer support, understanding, advice and friendship to each other (during term time). We have in person meetings with a cuppa, cake and chat and also zoom meetings if you can’t make it in person. We have regular guest speakers from organisations that can help and signpost to other services.

Contact Details: Email Address:
Facebook: Autism Hope Sheffield
Tel: 07968 984179

ACCT Sheffield

We run a wide range of in-person and online activity groups for autistic children and young people, parent-carers and whole family activities. We run several sessions each week, including multi-activity groups and specialist sessions focused on particular activities that children and young people attending ACCT has asked us to run.

Our regular activities currently include:

Acctivate – multi-activity in-person group for autistic 5-12 year-olds held on Saturday mornings (9.45am-12.15pm). Places available through Sheffield City Council’s referral process.
Teenage Club – in-person group for autistic teenagers aged up to 18, held on Wednesday evenings (7-9pm). Places available through Sheffield City Council’s referral process.

ACCT Academy Football Coaching – Friday evenings (6 -7pm) at Goals on Norfolk Park Road. Book a place by contacting ACCT.
Minecraft Club (Online groups) – facilitated by ACCT staff and run through a private server. For any age, every Saturday morning. ACCT has guest logins available for participants who don’t have their own. Book a place by contacting ACCT.

Dungeons and Dragons (Online groups) – facilitated by ACCT staff and run over Zoom. For teenagers and young adults. Every Monday evening or Saturday afternoon. Book a place by contacting ACCT.

Parent-Carer Meetings – ACCT runs fortnightly meetings, on Tuesday evenings, via Zoom, for peer support, information sharing and discussion of topics of interest and importance to parent-carers of autistic children and young people. Book a place by contacting ACCT. We also run workshops and training for parent-carers.

Places at Acctivate and Teenage Club are available through referral by contacting Sheffield City Council. All other activities are available directly from ACCT. Join ACCT as a member (it’s free), then contact us to book a place. More information about referrals and joining ACCT available here

The Peer Support Service for parents/carers

The Peer Support Service was created in response to feedback from parents of children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Sheffield. Feedback clearly showed that there is a lack of support both before and after a child receives a diagnosis. Although the funding for the project has a focus on autism and other neurodevelopmental needs, our service is available for ALL families, with or without a diagnosis. We will continue to work closely with families in Sheffield, listening to their ideas and concerns, using these to shape the service going forward.

If you would like a 1-1 appointment, please call our main number 0300 321 4721 and select option 1 for our Peer Support Service. Alternatively, please email

SSENDIAS information sessions
Sheffield SENDIAS (Sheffield SEND Information and Advice Service) offer free online information sessions. These are for parents and carers of young people aged 0-25 with SEND. The sessions answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

There are various sessions available, which run in both the daytime and evenings covering topics such as:

– What is an EHC Needs Assessment
– SEN Support in Schools
– Checking a Draft EHC Plan

Details are at

SEND Youth Clubs

Sheffield City Council Community Youth Services run the following youth clubs for young people aged 13 to 25 years with special educational needs and/or disabilities:

Leo’s SEND club: Monday 6-8pm, Centre in the Park, Guildford Avenue, Norfolk Park, Sheffield S2 2PL
S Club 5 SEND club: Tuesday 6-8pm, Milan Youth Centre, Longley Lane, Sheffield S5 7JS

Just turn up to your chosen club and a Youth Worker will help you to complete the registration form. For further information contact Community Youth Services on 0114 2057450 or e-mail

Support for Carers

Free Workshop: Wills and Power of Attorney – 12 May

Sheffield Carers Centre are working with ‘Lawson Wills and Probate’ to help carers with free access to legal advice on various topics, including this one on ‘Wills and Power of Attorney’. Lawson Wills and Probate is a family-focused business run by Leigh Purdy who is a member of the Institute of Professional Will Writers and adheres to their code of practice.

During this workshop, Leigh will explain the importance of organising Wills and Power of Attorney for all involved in a caring role. The workshop will also include a Q&A session at the end.

For more details and to book or phone us on 0114 278 8942

Sheffield Carers Centre is a local independent charity founded in 1993, that is also affiliated to the national Carers Trust charity. They provide a range of high quality services to unpaid adult carers in Sheffield. They can offer a range of support including:

Carer Advice Line: Call us for personalised expert advice on anything related to your caring role. One of the team is an Urdu and Punjabi speaker, and we use an interpretation service for other languages.

Carer Card: This offers discounts on a wide range of services, products and activities from local and national businesses; plus there is space to record two emergency contact numbers.

Carer Activities & Carers Workshops: Regular activities for carers to have a break from their caring role and look after their own wellbeing and a programme of workshops to help carers share experiences and learn new skills.

Legal Advice Clinic: Free 30-minute individual legal advice sessions with a legal expert, offering advice around topics such as wills, estate planning and power of attorney. Clinics are held on a monthly basis.

Carer Café & Support Groups: The Café is held every Friday and is a great chance to meet other carers. The Support Groups take place at various locations around Sheffield on a regular basis.

Community Connect: A telephone support service providing regular phone calls from volunteers to reduce social isolation and connect carers with their local community.

Emergency Planning: We provide information to help carers make an emergency plan if something unexpectedly stopped them from looking after the person they care for.

Carer’s Assessment: A carer’s assessment provides an opportunity to discuss the impact of your caring role with our Carer Advisors, who will discuss the support you might need and help put this in place.

Time for a Break Grant: Small grants for short breaks or activities that support wellbeing and help you take a break from your caring role. We’ll assess your eligibility as part of a Carers Assessment.

Information and resources: Easy access to a range of information and resources on our website from expert sources covering more than 20 topics to help with your caring role.

Digital Resources for Carers: Carers can access the free online ‘Digital Resources for Carers’ provided by Carers UK and Sheffield City Council, includes information, eLearning, resources, and the Jointly app.

Carers News: This free monthly E-newsletter provides up-to-date information about our services and activities, along with key news items that affect carers.

Details of all of the above are at:

Take part in research about autism

Are you a woman (Cis or Trans) or person assigned female at birth who has a diagnosis of autism?

Elissa Thompson and her colleagues from Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust are conducting a research project around understanding the experiences of Autistic women and women diagnosed with a personality disorder. They are currently recruiting for people to take part in the research questionnaires, and a £25 voucher is on offer for those taking part. Please see flyer attached SHSC Research for more information about it.Take part in research

Do you have a diagnosis of autism? Are you looking for treatment of anxiety?

I am writing to you from the University of Bristol Medical School about the STRATA study – the largest ever study of its kind investigating the treatment of anxiety in autistic adults. I wonder if you would kindly circulate the research opportunity below to people access your services or in your newsletter? See Anxiety STRATA Recruitment Poster

We are also looking to recruit participants with a carer, who, with permission, we would approach about taking part in a sub-study to explore how the treatment of anxiety for adults with a diagnosis of autism affects them as a carer. A carer can be anyone who knows the person well and helps them with some tasks – they do not need to be a formal carer.

We are recruiting participants in Sheffield and surrounding areas, and so are trying to spread the word about the opportunity to take part to as many people as possible. I’m very happy to speak with you about it in more detail/answer any questions. Leonora Cotton, STRATA Trial Manager, Tel: 0117 455 5738 Email:

Autistic and ADHD traits in people from mixed population correlate with stress regulation – can a Fitbit help?

My name is Dr Gabija Toleikyte and I am a neuroscience and psychology lecturer who is passionate about investigating how we can create the best society, learning and working environments for neurodiverse individuals. To achieve that, I am currently testing if heart rate variability (HRV) assessed by Fitbit could be a useful measurement of well-being and stress regulation. I am curious if the number of neurodiversity traits in ADHD and Autistic spectrums would correlate with HRV and Emotional wellbeing scores. Therefore, I am seeking for healthy adult participants regardless of their relatedness to neurodiversity labels. In the study, you will be expected to come to SHU Collegiate Campus to complete 3 questionnaires self-assessing relatedness to Autistic traits, ADHD traits, and emotional wellbeing. Then you will receive Fitbit Charge 5 which you will need to wear for 2 weeks (24/7) and mark your levels of stress, emotional well-being and physical health on the daily basis. After 2 weeks you will need to come back to SHU collegiate campus to return Fitbit and, if all the steps are completed correctly, receive £20 Amazon voucher as your reward. By the way, if you start taking part and change your mind, you can withdraw at any point during the study, also, you can ask your data to be deleted up to 7 days after your participation has been completed.

Who can take part if you:

• Are 18 years and over;

• Don’t find topics of autism, ADHD, emotional wellbeing, and HRV emotionally upsetting;

• Are not currently suffering from an acute mental health issue such as depression or anxiety or take antidepressants or anxiety meds;

• Do not have any known cardiovascular system’s issues such as excessively high blood pressure, or heart arrhythmia;

• Do not suffer from insomnia or take sleep-inducing medicine;

• Do not have a known allergy to rubber;

• Would not mind being subject to Fitbit’s data privacy policy (

If you would like to take part or have any questions, please email me at

Working in partnership for better services

What is the Sheffield Autism Partnership Board?

Sheffield’s Autism Partnership Board (APB) currently meets each month to improve the provision of services and support for autistic children, adults, their families and carers in Sheffield, including young autistic persons in transition to adulthood. Members include representatives from Sheffield City Council and local NHS bodies, community and voluntary sector organisations and services; autistic adults, their parents, carers and family members, professionals and other relevant organisations and individuals.

You can read more about the work of the APB on our website here

Sheffield Autism Partnership Network (SAPN)

The Sheffield Autism Partnership Network is a Sheffield based consortium focusing on improving the lives of Autistic people and their families in our city.

It is a network of organisations (voluntary, community, public, private and statutory), Autistic individuals and their support systems (parents, carers, friends, partners, etc) who work with Autistic people, their families and carers. For information about the network, its member organisations and how they can help you and your support system see the website:

Autism Support Hub

We are awaiting further details about when this is going to be available and will let you know as soon as we have more information.

All-age autism assessment pathway

The NHS has coproduced a new national framework for planning, design and delivery of an all-age autism assessment pathway that works for everyone:

Best wishes