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.”

Government announce new measures to improve care for people with autism and learning disabilities

The measures include a new working group for learning disabilities and autism, and funding specialist advocates to review the care of patients in segregation or long-term seclusion. The care of every patient in segregation or long-term seclusion will be reviewed as part of plans to improve the model of care for autistic people and people with learning disabilities.

For this story published 21 May 2019 by the Department of Health and Social Care see this webpage.

New Services for Young Carers in Sheffield

Sheffield Autistic Society have received the following from Laura Selby, Deputy Manager, Sheffield Young Carers:

“Our services: We’re really pleased to announce that we’ve secured new funding and now offer the following services:

· Support for young people One year of respite and resilience building for children and young people aged 8-25 living in Sheffield who are:
– caring for someone in their family who has a physical illness, a mental illness or a disability and/or
– are affected by drug and alcohol issues in their family (this support was previously known as WAM)

This includes one-to-one and group support, advocacy, training, bridging into other specialist services, and school holiday activities/residentials. All our services are free of charge. Further details here.

· Support for adults being cared-for by a young carer in their family. This service includes one-to-one support, advocacy, group training opportunities, and social/peer support sessions, with the aim of reducing the impact of caring on their child.

· The Young Carers Activity Fund: A £300 fund for individual or groups of young carers aged up to 18 who don’t want or can’t access our service to get a break from their caring role.

Referrals: To refer a young person to our organisation, they must want and be involved in the referral. Young people/families can also self-refer. Full details and our new referral form are available here. (Please note: We currently have a five month waiting list but are working through this as quickly as we can).

Job opportunities: We’re also recruiting for three posts. Full details and application packs are available here.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.”

With best wishes,
Laura Selby
Deputy Manager
Sheffield Young Carers
Sheaf Bank Business Park,
Unit R7b, Riverside Block
20 Prospect Road, Sheffield, S2 3EN

Tel: 0114 258 4595
Mobile number: 07854 977 304

Opportunity to take part in research into autism and aging.

Sheffield Autistic Society have received the following from Hannah Taylor of Sheffield Hallam University –

Participants required for an MSc Occupational Therapy Research Project: How do older adults on the autism spectrum experience the transitions typical in older age?

The purpose of this research is to explore how older adults (60+) on the autism spectrum experience the transitions and changes that occur as we age. Such ‘transitions’ may include retirement, changes in physical health or needing to change accommodation.
Existing research has largely focused on the ‘transitions’ younger people on the autism spectrum may experience – such as moving up to secondary school. However there is currently limited research on the experiences of older adults on the autism spectrum and the changes/transitions that may occur as we get older.

It is hoped that this research project could suggest ways in which occupational therapy could better support the needs of older adults on the autism spectrum in the future.

Who can get involved?

I am looking to recruit individuals on the autism spectrum aged 60+ who will be willing to talk to me about their experiences.

What will happen if I take part?

You will be required to be interviewed by myself about your experiences of getting older and any changes that have occurred.
You will not be made to talk about anything you do not want to. You will be provided with an itinerary of the interview process and examples of the topics that will be discussed before any interview takes place. The interviews will be conducted at a mutually agreed time and appropriate location.

All interviews will be recorded and transcribed for the research project. Your identity will be anonymised and all recordings and transcripts will be kept in a secure location.

You will not be paid for taking part in this research, but copies of the final research will be made available to you.

If you are interested in taking part and/or want to find out more information about this research project, you can contact me by email at:

This research has been granted ethical approval from Sheffield Hallam University.

Autism Week Film Showing / Extension of Art Exhibition

In celebration of Autism Awareness week, two of Sheffield Hallam’s PhD students, Katrina Fleming and Thomas Price, are hosting a free showing of the film that depicts the life of Temple Grandin. This will be accompanied by a discussion and tea and cake. All are welcome.

This is taking place 1-4pm on Wednesday 3rd April at Sheffield Hallam’s City Campus.

Please do pass the invitation on to anyone who may wish to attend.

Information and signing up to attend can be found at

Sarah Sharpe’s Mother and Child Art Exhibition at the Circle, Rockingham Lane (see earlier News item) has been extended for a further month to the end of April. It is free to go in and open Mon – Fri 9am-5pm

Government Consultation on the Autism strategy

Review of the National Autism Strategy

“In April 2014 the government published ‘Think Autism’, a strategy for meeting the needs of autistic adults in England. The strategy supports the Autism Act 2009.

This year the Department of Health and Social Care, working with the Department for Education, will review the strategy and extend it to cover children as well as adults.

To help us do this, we want to hear about people’s experiences of care and support.

This call for evidence is for England only. It will be of particular interest to:

  • autistic people – adults, children and young people
  • their families
  • their carers
  • organisations and professionals that provide care and support to autistic people or work with autistic people

We will use the results to find out where people think progress has been made and where more needs to be done in the future.

It is aimed at finding out what is working and where progress has been made and importantly where we need to push harder to transform the lives of autistic people, their families and carers.”

The call for evidence can be accessed online at the following link and is open for responses until 16 May 2019.