Healthwatch Consultation with Sheffield Autistic Society members

Sheffield Healthwatch has published the results of its recent consultation with Sheffield Autistic Society members:

In October and November 2018 Healthwatch Sheffield attended three meetings run by Sheffield Autistic Society to listen to adults with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and their families/carers about their experiences of health and social care in Sheffield.

“This briefing provides an overview of the key themes as well as suggestions from attendees about how services could be improved for people with Autism.”

You can read the briefing here (it is a PDF document):  Sheffield-Autistic-Society-Oct Nov 20118-Briefing

Share your own feedback or ideas with Healthwatch:

Healthwatch Sheffield
The Circle
33 Rockingham Lane
S1 4FW

Telephone: (0114) 253 6688
Text: 0741 524 9657

Sheffield Autistic Society Drop-in Sessions

For the past year we have been piloting a new Advice, Information and Advocacy service for all our members with funding we obtained from Awards for All.

This has meant that we have been able to have an office in town and run a weekly/fortnightly drop in for everyone who either wants advice and information about autism or just wants to pop in for a cuppa and a chat.  To date we have had over 90 individual attendances at the sessions which has been fantastic.  We have also been able to provide over 100 hours of one-to-one support and advice to our members and others.  This has been helpful to many who otherwise would not have received any support. Thanks go especially to Liz who managed and ran this service for the Society. So it is with great sadness that we are having to wrap up the service as we have run out of funding and we haven’t been able to secure other sources of income to keep on running.  We do hope however that we have demonstrated that there is a need out there and perhaps others will step in to replace us.

We will of course still be offering the weekly Art House Wellbeing Group sessions on Tuesday and the regular meetings we have on the third Wednesday at the Carers Centre and the Adult Asperger Group on the last Thursday of the month at Sheffield Hallam University.  We are also planning some trips to the cinema again this year and have a few other ideas too!  Please keep a close eye on our website for full details of all our activities and a very Happy 2019!!

Government review to improve the lives of autistic children

Published 5th December 2018: “The government will collect evidence from autistic children, their families and their carers on how to improve the support they get.

The government’s review of services and support for autistic people is covering autistic children as well as adults for the first time.

The review will inform the new joint adults and children autism strategy to be published in autumn 2019.

The review looks at:

  • joining up health, care and education services to address autistic children’s needs holistically
  • developing diagnostic services to diagnose autism earlier, in line with clinical guidance
  • improving the transition between children and adult services so that no young people miss out, and ending inappropriate reliance on inpatient hospital care
  • improving understanding of autism and all its profiles, including recently identified forms such as pathological demand avoidance (PDA)

As part of this review, the government will collect evidence from autistic children and adults, families, carers and professionals on how to improve services and support.”

For the full text of this story see this page from the Department of Health and Social Care

Art Exhibition – work by a Sheffield Autistic Society member

We received this message from Helen Purdie, one of our Adult Group members:
Here is a reminder about the ‘Unbound’ exhibition opening this Friday 7th December until 11th. The evening event on Friday from 5-10pm and the late opening on Saturday coincide with the Christmas Peddler Market on Kelham Island, so its a great opportunity to combine them. Hopefully see you there. (See flyer on the Other Events page).

Also, just to say that if you are unable to make the exhibition, ‘My Grown-Up Autistic Life – A Colouring Book with Words’ is now available to buy directly from my website (link below).

My Grown-Up Autistic Life – A Colouring Book with Words

Support for Ellie – help support a fledgling writer!

Ellie is a young woman aged 24 with Asperger’s syndrome. Ellie was diagnosed at the age of 5 and has worked incredibly hard to manage, with support, to go to university. Ellie gained her media degree and is now forging a career in freelance writing.  However, a lot of the work is unpaid as she builds up a portfolio to show to future employers.  Ellie writes super pieces on a wide range of popular culture subjects.  She now types and pours out her ideas so freely it is beautiful to see.

Below are some links to Ellie’s writing.  We hope you find it interesting:

Black Friday 2018 Survival Guide – Your guide to the best geeky deals!

Memoirs of a Gamer – Overwatch

Wrestle Talk

Ellie Zoe’s Ko-Fi page



Roll-out of Universal Credit in Sheffield

Sheffield City Council has published the following information about the roll-out of Universal Credit in Sheffield:

“Universal Credit (UC) is a benefit that is being introduced to Sheffield from November 2018.
If you need to make a new claim or if you have a change in circumstances with one of the following benefits you may be directed to claim universal credit.

    • Housing Benefit
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income Support

At some point in the future, many people currently on the benefits above will be moved across to Universal Credit. The Government haven’t yet given us a date for this, but the Department for Work and Pensions will get in touch with anyone affected before there are any changes to their benefits or tax credits.”

For the original story see

If you are a member of SAPAG you may wish to know about their forthcoming meeting on this topic.

Also NB:

Universal Credit Briefing for Carers

Please join us on Friday 7th December 2018 10am-12pm
@ The Circle, 33 Rockingham Lane, Sheffield, S1 4FW

Jennifer Marsden – (Partnership Manager Sheffield, Department of Work and Pensions) will be delivering an awareness session about Universal Credit Full Service.

The session will cover:

General awareness of what Universal Credit is and when it starts in Sheffield
Support for customers with Complex needs, explicit consent and escalation routes
Time for Q&A session with Jennifer
If you are interested in attending please contact Frazer Kirk by phone or email to register:
Office: 0114 2053676
Mobile: 07717 713694

Digital creativity workshops for people on the autistic spectrum 9th and 16th November

Sheffield Autistic Society received this invitation by email, October 2018:

Digital creativity workshops in Sheffield for people on the autistic spectrum

Access Space is pleased to announce new workshops for Autumn 2018 at our Sidney Street premises in central Sheffield.

You are welcome to pass on this email to anyone who might be interested

FREE workshops, run by experienced staff.
Suited to different levels of ability.
Small, supportive groups (limited attendance numbers).
Talking about designing, leading on to laser cutting/engraving (with support) to make your design in paper, wood or plastic.

Friday 9th November, from 11am-1pm

Friday 16th November, from 11am-1pm

For more details, or to apply for places, please email or phone. The following details will be needed:

  • Who wants to attend? (Name, Contact Address, Email / Telephone)
  • Will carer/parent/guardian/friend be accompanying? (Depending on participants’ abilities)
  • Brief details of participants’ abilities, and any sensory issues.

Participants, carers, parents, guardians and friends are welcome to visit Access Space, by arrangement, before deciding, please get in touch:

Jonathan Cook

Tel 0114 2495522 (Best time is Wed/Thur p.m. or leave a message)
Access Space, Unit 1, AVEC Building, 3-7 Sidney St. Sheffield S1 4RG

UK Registered Charity No. 1103837

Autism Acceptance. Why Autism Awareness is not enough.

The other day an autistic person was explaining to me why members of the autistic community are not happy with the term ‘Autism Awareness’ and preferred to talk about ‘Understanding’ and ‘Acceptance’. Googling these terms I found an American autism blog (see link below) which gives a series of articles explaining why autistic people felt so strongly on this issue. The following extract is one of these and was written by Lydia Brown, an autistic student at Yorketown University:

1. Accept us. Autism is a part of who we are. As sure as skin color or sexual orientation, we cannot change being Autistic. Acceptance starts by understanding that we are not broken, defective, or diseased. We do not need to be fixed or cured. There is nothing wrong with us. Yes, autism is a disability, and yes, some Autistic people are very severely disabled. Accepting our autism does not mean ignoring or denying disability; it means accepting us for who we are, as we are.

2. Respect us. We are people, fellow human beings. We deserve to be treated with the same respect afforded to our non-Autistic peers. Respect starts by understanding that we are full and complete human beings, with individual personalities, life experiences, goals, and preferences. We deserve an education, access to communication, and a place in society as we become adults. We deserve to live without fear of being abused, manipulated, or hurt. We are not less than.

3. Support us. Because we are disabled in varying degrees and in multiple ways, we need support, services, and accommodations to successfully navigate a world not made for us. Supporting us starts by understanding that we are usually the people who can best define what types of support and services we need, especially once we become adults. Some of us may need services throughout school and or higher education. Some of us need help with seeking and keeping employment. Some of us need help with living independently or semi-independently, or with activities of daily life. Without appropriate supports, we will not have equal access and opportunity.

4. Include us. We deserve equal access and opportunity throughout the community and throughout our lifespans. Inclusion starts by understanding that we are part of the community and deserve to be included in it. As children, we may not be ready immediately for full inclusion, but full inclusion should be the ultimate goal for every Autistic child. Full integration into the community means living outside institutional or segregated settings and working outside a segregated setting. If we need accommodations or support to fully participate in the community, then provide those accommodations. We need to belong.

5. Listen to us. Too many conversations about us and issues that affect our lives take place without any of us present. Listening starts by recognizing that we have valid, legitimate, and important things to say about our lives and about the issues that affect us collectively. Like any group of people, we are not homogeneous in opinion or ideology, and this diversity is part of the Autistic community. Yet we must be included in any conversation about us, because decisions made by policymakers, school administrators, and grant reviewers often impact our daily lives and our future outlook. We can speak (or write or sign or type) for ourselves, and it’s time to listen.

Extract from Repost: Why “Autism Awareness” is Not Enough: Steve Silberman (and friends) explain “Autism Acceptance”