BBC Autism Documentary

BBC Studios is looking for people who are interested in sharing lived experience of autism for a new two-part documentary for BBC Two.  The flier is at the bottom of this post.

‘Inside the Autistic Mind’ will be presented by Chris Packham who will investigate how the autistic mind works and he will be talking with autistic people who are all at a key point in their lives.

The series will show Chris Packham learn about the ways that autistic people sense and interact with the world.
He will also introduce them to people who may be able to answer their questions about their particular experiences.

To find out more, use the form at:

If you have accessibility issues that prevent you from completing the form, please get in touch via and alternative arrangements can be made.

Covid19 – News on restrictions, permissions, support & other information

Please forgive the less than ideal organisation of the many items in the page below. Information is coming in to us regularly and items are being added all the time. The information includes:

Coronavirus Restrictions (Updated 24th December):

For links to all government guidance and support in connection with Covid-19 see this page:

Covid Vaccine Easy Read (downloadable):

Guidance for people who are providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

Sheffield City Council Changes to Services / Support for People

Key public safety information to help support Sheffield’s various communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s all free to use and supplied in various languages and formats:

 Information about face covering
Government Guidance (Updated 12th March 2021) : Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own

For advice on exemptions from the NHS and printable exemption cards download: mask exemption cards

Some suggestions about choosing masks from ‘Autism Wellbeing’. See here (PDF): Choosing masks

See also our News item of 21st June

Hospital Visiting (from the NHS):
An immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit if you are supporting someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

See full statement here: Visitor-Guidance_8-April-2020
(NB Sheffield health authorities say, please check with the specific ward  before you visit.)

Preparing a Covid19 Hospital Communication Passport and Supporting Resources
for children and adults with special needs:

NHS COVID-19 ‘Grab and Go’ Hospital Passport
A quick form for people with a learning disability and / or autism to complete if they need to go to hospital. Ideally it should accompany the complete hospital passport (see item above): C0381_NHS Covid-19 Grab and Go LDA Form

SpeakUp Spreading the News “What if I have to go into hospital?” Easy Read Guide published 3rd November 2020
Speakup  Spreading the News 3 November 2020

‘Coping with COVID’ for people struggling with their mental health during Coronavirus
Sheffield Health and Social Care have a phone line and are providing an online course ‘Coping with COVID’ for people struggling with their mental health during Coronavirus. These services are available to anyone, you do not have to have accessed mental health services in the past:

National Autistic Society Guidance and Top Tips
The NAS’s latest guidance on coronavirus and some handy top tips for dealing with its impact:

See also

The Government’s Plan to Support the Social Care System (16 April 2020):
A commentary by the National Autistic Society

Sheffield Carers Centre – Update on Services for Carers
see PDF : Update from the Carers Centre

Sheffield Carers Outreach Project Virtual Carers Groups
Sheffield Carers Outreach Project are offering a number of Virtual Carers Groups,  starting this week (28th April).
These groups are for both adults with LDs and/ or autism and their carer/ parent.
See the posters on this page
and to find  out more please e-mail the Carers Outreach Team at:

Covid-19: Supporting autistic people and people with learning disabilities
Guides from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) for families and professionals supporting autistic adults and adults with learning disabilities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Vaccination: An NHS  film for people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people about vaccination.

Disability Sheffield
Support from Disability Sheffield during Covid-19 Crisis

Coronavirus – Easy Read Guides from the UK Government
Social Housing and Coronavirus

Easy read posters and other easy read resources on the government’s latest rules and guidance on coronavirus
From On face masks, government’s rules, shielding, testing and other issues, including editable posters:

Coronavirus A Book for Children
by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler
You can download the free book here:

Ideas, activities, resources during the lockdown
mainly – but not only – for people with a learning disability and their families, from the internet: see this page

See also Sheffield Carers Outreach Project Virtual Carers Groups above

See also materials from Sheffield Childrens Hospital and Widgit Software

RNIB Bookshare
Interesting for organisations and parents  of learners with a print disability. Accessible textbooks and resources for learners with sight loss, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and qualifying physical disabilities. “RNIB Bookshare UK education collection provides textbooks and materials to support the UK curriculum. We offer a range of accessible formats that can be read electronically or adapted to suit the personal reading needs of learners. We now have 545,905 titles with more being added all the time!” See 

Be alert to Coronavirus Scams and Fraud
(Courtesy of Triodos Bank):—retail


Autism Peer Support for Autistic People

Health Education England (HEE)
are exploring what capabilities are required for people that become peer support workers for autistic people. These capabilities will cover the skills, knowledge and values that Peer Support workers must have to do the job.

Autism Peer Support is where autistic people use the lessons learned from their own experiences to support other autistic people. As well as their own experience they also need the knowledge skills and values to understand other people’s needs and give good support.
The aim is to improve the quality of community-based support for autistic people.

Skills for Care, the National Autistic Society, together with Sussex Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes & Hypermobility Disorders CIC (SEDS) and Resolve Development, which are both autistic led organisations, are leading the project for HEE. We need to find out what autistic people, families and other key stakeholders think those capabilities are.

To do this, we will be holding 12 online/virtual meetings in December 2021 and January 2022. There will be a maximum of 12 people per meeting to ensure everyone has a chance to have their say.

Each session will last 1 hour, and each will be jointly co-produced by an autistic person. Depending on the size of the group attending the meeting, you may be asked to participate in small group discussions. Information will be provided in advance.

Participants can be paid £15 per hour. Information about what will be discussed will be provided before the meeting.

The following options are offered to anyone who finds virtual meetings challenging or who would prefer a 1:1 chat.

– 1:1 phone call or virtual meeting
– Fill in a questionnaire

Those who use alternative communication methods will be supported to do so.

To take part, please contact Skills for Care by emailing or visit our web page SkillsforCare for dates & times of the meeting for you to choose and a link to the online questionnaire


Publication of new National Autism Strategy and other documents

Today (21st July) the government published its long awaited new “National Strategy for Autistic Children, Young People and Adults 2021 to 2026”, together with associated documents, including an easy read version of the strategy.

You can read and download the documents here:

Also in July The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee published its report “The treatment of autistic people and people with learning disabilities Fifth Report of Session 2021–22″ which you can read and download here:

Looking after your health, Mencap children’s projects, Understanding PDA, PIP payments scandal

Guides to looking after your health for autistic people and people with a learning disability

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group announcement:
We are excited to announce that the new Sheffield Physical Health webpages for people with learning disabilities and/or autism (and the people who support them) are now live on the Sheffield Mental Health Guide.

There is also a page aimed at GPs and other health care professionals with additional useful information.

These pages have been co-designed with people with lived experience and with feedback from health care professionals.

The webpages explain that it is especially important to look after your health if you have a learning disability or you are autistic, and provide details about how you can do this, for example by attending your annual health checks. I have also included some images which can be used to promote the webpages – you can use these as part of your social media comms or print them out to share with people with LD and/or autism.

This project has been funded by Sheffield CCG and NHS England, as part of the strategy to address health inequalities of people with learning disabilities, autism, and severe mental illness.”

Mencap projects for children

Sheffield Mencap and Gateway have a range of extra-curricular projects for children aged 6 – 16 with learning difficulties/disabilities or autism. There is something for everyone – from drama to fitness to technology. All projects are welcoming, fun, inclusive and designed to support children to develop their communication, confidence and social interaction.

We are currently seeking referrals for all projects for the academic year 2021/2022. Attached is a flyer which gives more details of our projects, along with an application form.

Children’s Groups flyer A5_double sided

Children’s Services Application Form 2021-22

Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

An online learning series: 16th & 17th July 2021 from Autism Learns in partnership with the National Autistic Society (payable)

Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

PIP payments scandal

DWP ‘may have unlawfully deprived tens of thousands of PIP claimants of back-payments’