Sheffield City Council Consultation on Safer Travel

Sheffield Autistic Society have received this message from Frazer Kirk of Sheffield City Council:

“Sheffield City Council has produced some guidance* that is designed to help people who are involved in making transport arrangements for children or adults at risk, or who have specific needs when travelling. It is aimed at professionals, parents, carers, young people and adults at risk, to help them make informed decisions about their travel arrangements so that the experience is a safe and comfortable one. The guidance describes what safeguarding arrangements the local authority has put in place for the transport it regulates and also suggests what passengers and their carers can do, to play their part in making the travel experience a positive one.

We have already consulted with young people about the guidance and we are keen to hear from parents, carers, adults at risk and professionals about their views about the guidance – including is it helpful? did we miss anything out?

*You will find the Draft Guidance and Annexes at the link below (the same webpage as the survey)

If you could spare 5 minutes to complete our consultation survey please click on the link below, (it’s only short, 6 simple questions!)”

Law affecting young adults with disabilities ‘needs revisiting’

The following is taken from the National Autistic Society’s ‘Autism’ magazine, Autumn 2019:

Law affecting young adults with disabilities ‘needs revisiting’

“The parents of three young people with learning disabilities – two of whom are also autistic – launched legal action to challenge law surrounding welfare deputyship.

The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice says that when an adult lacks capacity, decisions should generally be taken in their best interests, and that relatives should only be appointed welfare deputies in extreme or complex cases.

However, the families in this case argued that this frequently resulted in them being ignored, and decisions were being made by social services departments that did not consider their children’s best interests.

Following their efforts and a court hearing in March, the Court of Protection has ruled that the Code of Practice should be reconsidered, and that it should not be presumed that welfare deputyship should be granted only in the most complex cases.

This is an important legal ruling that could change the way that many important decisions about autistic adults’ care and support are made. More families may want to be appointed as welfare deputies.

The National Autistic Society welcomes this judgment, and we will work with the Government when it updates the Code of Practice to make sure it gives autistic people and their families clear guidance.”
NAS Autumn 2019

New autism and diagnosis centre in North Staffordshire

The Caudwell International Children’s Centre (CICC), which has cost £18 million to build and aims, among other things, to provide an alternative – and for some parents a much quicker – route to the diagnosis of autism in children, is now open at Keele University in North Staffordshire.

Funded initially by philanthropist John Caudwell, the centre offers a wide range of disability services for children and families, but has within it a specialised autism centre providing diagnostic assessment, intervention and support for children with ASD and their families. The  Caudwell Children Autism Service accepts referrals and provides support for children aged 4 – 11 years. Referrals are accepted from any health, education or social care professionals who know the child and family well.

Families can apply for support for funding from Caudwell Children but will need to meet the charity’s eligibility criteria.

Funding, if supported, will be for 80% of the total cost. Therefore families will need to contribute the remaining 20%.

For more information see

Research study into parenting experiences of autistic people

Amber Dugdale, Trainee Clinical Psychologist at Sheffield University, is looking for autistic parents who are willing to take part in her research:

Do you have a diagnosis of autism? Are you a parent of a child between 5-15 years of age?

I am looking for participants for a research study aimed at better understanding the experiences of autistic parents.

This will involve taking part in an hour-long interview about your experience of parenting and how being autistic may impact this experience. We hope that the research will be helpful for tailoring services to autistic parents and have implications for the services of their children too.

I am a Trainee Clinical Psychologist and this project will form part of my thesis. You will be eligible to take part if you:

  • Have a formal diagnosis on the autism spectrum (e.g. autism; Asperger Syndrome; High-functioning autism; autism spectrum condition/disorder)
  • Are a parent
  • Do not also have a diagnosis of a learning disability
  • Are fluent in English
  • Are over 18 years of age
  • Currently a parent to child between 5-15 years of age.Please do get in touch if you have any questions and/or are interested in participating and further information will be provided.

Amber Dugdale:

SAYiT (The Sheena Amos Youth Trust)

A message from SAYiT (The Sheena Amos Youth Trust) a non-profit organisation for young people aged 11-25:

“We have managed to secure some funding to put on a six week group for autistic and disabled people aged 11-25 to meet in a friendly atmosphere, hang out, do activities and share their experiences of being both LGBT+ and autistic/disabled. This group is open to all those who identify this way, even if they have never come to a SAYiT youth group before. Young people can participate as much as they wish to and there is no pressure to do anything.

We are attaching a poster (see below) about the group and would appreciate if you could circulate it to those you think may be interested.”

Note – For more information about SAYiT see the charity’s website:

To sign up for the group, young people can send an email to Hannah at:


Businesses invited to take part in Autism Hour October 2019

From the National Autistic Society:

Autism Hour returns for 2019

The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour is back! From 5-12 October 2019, businesses all over the UK will be taking the first steps to create an autism-friendly world and your support is vital to make sure this happens.

Since Autism Hour began, we’ve seen over 17,000 businesses run over 40,000 Autism Hours and they’ve shown that Autism Hour is more than 60 minutes. It’s helping staff to understand autism, welcoming autistic people and their families to businesses and, most importantly, using their experience to make more permanent autism-friendly changes.

For more information and free resources see this web page:

‘Number Please’ at the Local Theatre – An accessible theatre production in Sheffield 10 to 13 July

Sheffield Autistic Society has received the message below from Katy Galloway, producer of ‘Number, Please’ an accessible theatre production to be held at the Local Theatre, 24-26 Snig Hill, Sheffield, S3 8NB from 10th to 13th July. Tickets are at reasonable prices:


I’m getting in touch as I am the producer of a theatre company from Edinburgh who are touring to Sheffield next week (10-13th July) and we are performing a relaxed performance of our show next week. We would love to invite any of your members to come and see our show.

Number, Please is a farcical spy comedy about a woman in the 1950s who accidentally gets involved in a nuclear spy plot. It’s a very silly story and we performed it last year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to 5 star reviews and sold out shows hence why we are touring the UK and then returning to the Fringe Festival.

We are passionate about making theatre accessible to everyone and let year when we performed at the Fringe we performed two relaxed shows which we will be repeating this year. The Local Theatre is also passionate about this and we are excited to be working with them in making theatre accessible. Our relaxed performances are designed for those who may feel uncomfortable in a traditional theatre environment and feature small changes to make everyone more comfortable. Comprehensive content warnings are available for those who may need them, sudden lights and sound changes are faded and the audience is welcome to move, exit and re enter and make any noise.

We would love to invite anyone from your society to any of our performances.  More information about the show is available here ( and if you have any questions, please let me know!

Katy Galloway

Blue Badge scheme extended to those with ‘hidden disabilities’

News story from: Department for Transport and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

“Blue Badge scheme is extended to those with ‘hidden disabilities’
Those with less visible disabilities will benefit from the biggest change in the Blue Badge scheme in 50 years.”
Published 15 June 2019

The Blue Badge scheme is to be extended to people who have less visible disabilities, making journeys more accessible.
This change to the scheme is the biggest in nearly 50 years with the extended criteria coming into force on 30 August 2019.
A review is also being launched into Blue Badge fraud and ways of reducing misuse.

People with hidden disabilities will soon be able to access Blue Badge parking permits, thanks to the rollout of new guidance today (June 15 2019).
For drivers or passengers with dementia, anxiety disorders or reduced mobility, the anticipation of travel difficulties such as finding a parking space can build on top of the stress of the journey itself.

The new guidance, which represents the biggest change to the scheme since the 1970s, will offer a lifeline to people who often find road travel difficult by providing better access to work and other amenities. It will also help combat loneliness by enabling them to stay connected to family and friends.

The review will look at ensuring Blue Badges are used correctly and improving public understanding so that those with hidden disabilities can use the badges with confidence.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:
It’s unacceptable that people with hidden disabilities still face discrimination when using disabled facilities like parking spaces.
Extending the Blue Badge scheme is a watershed moment in ensuring those with hidden disabilities are able to travel with greater ease and live more independent lives.

To help councils with the expected increase in applications, the department has agreed with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to provide £1.7 million in the first year of the programme. The Department for Transport has been working with specialists to expand the eligibility criteria for the badges, which will now include people who cannot walk as part of a journey without considerable psychological distress or the risk of serious harm.

The Blue Badge scheme already means people with physical disabilities can park closer to their destination than other drivers, as they are less able to take public transport or walk longer distances. The extension of these badges to those with less visible conditions was announced last summer following an 8 week consultation on widening the eligibility criteria. It is an important part of the government’s drive for greater parity between physical and mental health.

While the new criteria will give clear and consistent guidelines on Blue Badge eligibility for the whole of England, not everyone with non-physical disabilities will qualify for a badge. It will be up to the relevant local authority to decide if an applicant meets the eligibility criteria, as is currently the case.

Those eligible can apply for or renew a Blue Badge online.”

Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society, said:
“The changes will make a huge difference to thousands of autistic people and their families across England – helping them to go out in the way many others take for granted.

Just leaving the house is incredibly difficult for many autistic people – and involves detailed preparation. Some autistic people have no concept of the dangers of the road while others are so anxious about plans going wrong, like not being able to find a parking space, that they don’t go out at all.

Having a Blue Badge will be life-changing and help many to reduce loneliness and isolation.”