Sheffield Autism Partnership Board

At their meeting on 22nd May, the Sheffield Autism Partnership planning group adopted a set of draft proposals about the ‘next steps’ for the partnership in Sheffield.

This means that Sheffield now has an Autism Partnership Board, in accordance with the Department of Health Statutory Guidance on adult autism.  The board will work to improve the provision of services and support for autistic adults and their families in Sheffield, including young autistic persons in transition to adulthood.

See here for the full text of the proposals – Draft Sheffield APB Next Steps  – adopted at the meeting, but note that the draft terms of reference for the board have not yet been agreed and are still to be finalised.

For the background to these proposals and further information about the public consultation / survey held during December 2016 to February 2017 see the Partnership page.

Full minutes of the meeting of 22nd May will be published on the Partnership page of this website, as soon as they are available.

Free online course on finding appropriate technological resources for children with autism and/or LD

“SMART-ASD: Matching Autistic People with Technology Resources”

The University of Bath is offering a free online 4 week x 3 hours per week course for parents of children with autism and/or LD. It is about determining the most appropriate technological resources to help them.

“On this course you will get more of an understanding of ASD and ID specifically. Then we will explore how technology can be used to best support this group, introducing you to the SMART-ASD app that identifies the skills and needs of children with ASD and ID so that the most suitable technologies can be identified to support them.”

To find out more about the course  go to this link
NB To join the course you need first to register (free) as a learner with FutureLearn  at

Request for participants: Study about autism and early development in pregnancy

We have been asked by Ezra Aydin, a research student at Cambridge Autism Research Centre to publicise this study and invite potential participants  among pregnant mums with either an ASC diagnosis, or with a child who has a diagnosis and who are happy to come in for an additional 3D ultrasound scan.

“The aim of this research is to see if there are any physical characteristics in pregnancy that might be related to later autistic traits in childhood. The overall aim is to help support children who might be later diagnosed with ASC and their families from as early as possible. The scan is done during late 2nd trimester and early 3rd. Our intention is not to develop a screening for autism in pregnancy, it is to help provide more support for children thought to be ‘at risk’ and their families from an earlier age.”

If you might be interested in participating, you can see more information in Ezra’s letter here: Autism and development in pregnancy.

More changes for carers in Sheffield

Following the loss of funding to the Caring Sharing Project in Sheffield and consequent changes for carers, we report, without comment, the following further change as outlined in the latest Carers’ Centre Newsletter, from which the following is an extract:

“From April this year, there will be a change for Sheffield carers in how they can access a carer’s assessment. As part of how we deliver the new contract, from April 2017 this year if you have a carer’s assessment, your conversation will be with one of the Carers Advisors at the Carers Centre, instead of staff from Adult Social Care at Sheffield City Council.

The Carers Centre has been supporting carers for more than twenty years and is well placed to take on this important role. The single focus of our organisation is carers and our team of staff and volunteers has an excellent understanding of caring and the issues carers can face, often having experience of caring themselves.

So while responsibility for ensuring carer’s assessments are carried out remains with the council, it will be Carers Centre staff who carry out the assessments. We will be working closely with colleagues in Sheffield City Council to ensure a smooth transition and good communication, both between our organisations and with carers.

Importantly, we will continue to consult and work with carers to make sure we carry out this new responsibility taking fully into account what carers tell us is important to them.”

You can read the whole article by downloading the March 2017 Sheffield Carers’ Centre Newsletter.

Anger at government rejection of PIP tribunal decisions and “not really disabled” claim by government policy head

There have been many expressions of anger and disbelief at the government’s recent action in rejecting two tribunal decisions in connection with PIP (Personal Independence Payments) and in particular at the statement by George Freeman MP, head of Theresa May’s policy unit.

See for example these recent articles from the Guardian here and here.


NICE propose that an autism register is maintained in each GP practice

Statement from the National Autistic Society:

“NICE has today released its menu of potential new indicators. This looks at what information should be required of local commissioners and what should be required of individual GP practices.

Following on from our charity’s Autism Diagnosis Crisis campaign, which many of you signed up to and helped us with (and thank you for that too!), NAS and the RCGPs have been talking with NICE about these indicators and managed to persuade them that they should pilot an autism register in each GP practice. The idea behind this being that GPs will know that a person is autistic and be able to make reasonable adjustments to a consultation more easily. They will also be able to keep in touch with autistic people better and ensure that they are accessing primary care. This is similar to the existing Learning Disability Register. NICE have been piloting this.

The proposed menu that has opened for consultation today proposes that a Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) indicator be established for an autism register in each practice. QOF exists to change GP behaviour and make sure things are recorded (it’s the reason you had your blood pressure checked the last time you went to the GP).

The consultation is open until 8 March and we will be responding to (strongly!) encourage NICE to take this proposed indicator forward as a means to ensure that primary care data is improved.

The consultation is here: