Luke Beardon on Twitter

You can follow Luke should you wish to do so @sheffieldluke

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Ask the Experts. Free Autism Event for Parents and Carers

Please note that this is not an Autism Centre event.

The Hesley Group are running a free event on autism for parents and carers on Tuesday 14th October 10.00am -3.30pm. Still places available. Details at

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iHuman: This is what it means to be human … Free Event November University of Sheffield

Please note that this is not an Autism Centre Event

November 2014

iHuman: This is what it means to be human …

Location: Jessops West Exhibition Space, University of Sheffield Date/time: 10am to 4pm, Saturday 1st November 2014

We are bringing together young people and researchers to share our ideas about what it means to be human. We are living in an age marked by the rapid growth in knowledge about the human body and brain. These include the development of powerful new technologies with the potential to augment our bodies (and modify behaviour) and diagnostics for the early detection of disease, drugs to aid cognition, and devices to extend physical capabilities. And many more of us, so it seems, are endlessly plugged in to our smartphones, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat. Our lives are lived in the virtual. How are these developments changing how we understand what it means to be human? To help answer this question we have asked the following people to present to us as part of this ESRC festival of Science event:

  1. Alternative and Augmentative Communication users of technology – Bridge College Manchester
  2.  Young dis/abled people and their accounts of their humanness through their relationships with technology – Holmfirth High School
  3. Self-advocacy group members and their use of film – Speakup Self-advocacy Rotherham
  4. Researchers from the University of Sheffield will share some of their research ideas in an accessible way including Sheffield Centre for Robotics

Sessions will be accessible, visually led, interactive, always focused on maintaining understanding and connection. We expect the audience to include young people, their families, other researchers and key community members from the creative industries as well as the disability and education sectors.

Twitter: @disabilityuos Registration:

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Petition OFSTED to consider pupils with SEND within their latest behaviour guidance

The Education Rights Alliance has started a petition to Ofsted to request that  pupils with SEND are considered within the latest guidance from Ofsted on the management of ‘low level disruptive’ behaviour. The problem with this is that it places the responsibility for all such behaviour within the child and also adopts a ‘zero tolerance’ policy. There is no account taken of inaccessible sensory classroom environments, presentation of lessons the content of which may be meaningless for some children etc., all of which might contribute to disruptive behaviour.

The link to the petition is

The details of the petition can be found below:

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted: Promote inclusion in schools

Dear Sir Michael,

‘Below the radar: low-level disruption in the country’s classrooms’.

We write to express our serious concern about Ofsted’s recently published report, ‘Below the radar: low-level disruption in the country’s classrooms’.

The report makes no mention of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), yet much of the’ low-level disruptive behaviour’ listed reads like a checklist for some of the behaviours exhibited by children with SEND, especially those with unsupported SEND. For example, Ofsted’s report lists; “talking and chatting”, “disturbing other children”,” calling out”, “not getting on with work”, “fidgeting or fiddling with equipment”,” not having the correct equipment”, “purposely making noise to gain attention”, “answering back or questioning instructions” and “swinging on chairs”. The failure to note the link between these seemingly ‘non-normal’ behaviours and SEND is a startling omission which could undermine efforts at inclusive practice and encourage schools, and parents, to see children with different needs as being inconsistent with a productive learning environment.

This would be a hugely regressive step which could encourage unlawful and discriminatory practices. It is notable that Ofsted’s report makes no reference to the Equality Act 2010, although the law requires reasonable adjustments be made to ensure that disabled pupils are not placed at a detrimental disadvantage because of their disabilities. There is clear evidence that a failure to adjust the educational environment may significantly affect pupils with SEND such as autism. Behaviour which is linked to a child’s disabilities should never result in a situation where a child is punished and treated less favourably because of that disability. Further, the Equality Act also requires schools to pay due regard to the need to eliminate disability discrimination in all their policies and practices: this includes behaviour policies. Ofsted entirely overlooks the clear, statutory requirement to ensure that blanket policies do not directly/indirectly discriminate against those with disabilities

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Autism Support at Sheffield Hallam University

Hallam volunteers run some excellent support groups for people with autism and their families. Check out the information in this leaflet

Autism Leaflet

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MA (Autism Spectrum)

There is still time to apply for the October intake for the MA (Autism Spectrum) at Sheffield Hallam University Oct 1st 5pm is the start of Critical Reflections on Autism and Asperger Syndrome and Oct 2nd 5pm for Autism, Policy and Practice. For more information contact the course leader Anja Rutten at

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Free event on Disability and Employment

Please note that this is not an Autism Centre Event

A message from Kathryn Ann Littlewood of Just the Job, Disability Sheffield

We would like to invite you to a fantastic and completely free conference and networking event at Sheffield Town Hall on 8th Sept 2014: ‘Profit-Ability: Because equal employment is good business’.

This will be a chance for businesses and other employers to come together to hear about the amazing potential and untapped talents that Disabled people have whilst learning how your organisation can increase productivity, be a better place to work and receive support for Disabled employees.

It would be great if you could let us know if you plan to attend by going to or to receive further information, please email or phone 01142536746 and leave a message.

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