Two exciting and free autism events for the ESRC Social Sciences Festival at Sheffield Hallam University, November 2016

Please do circulate information on these events

Exploring autism in the cinema

Location: Sheffield
Date: 5 November 2016
Time: 11:00 – 13:00

Festival of Social ScienceSheffield Hallam UniversityFor the general public

Film plays a very significant role in shaping how we understand and respond to autism. Representations of autism on TV and in the cinema get everyone talking.

From Elvis to The A Word, Hannah Ebben, a PhD student at The Autism Centre, will explore with the audience her research on the different ways in which autism has been conceptualised and represented in film, and together we will consider the impact of these images on the lives of people who identify as autistic and their families. Sheffield has a committed autism community, and this event will provide Hannah with an opportunity to introduce her research to them.

The event will take place in Sheffield Hallam’s own cinema, The Void, to introduce a new audience to this little-known gem. After Hannah’s presentation, Professor Nick Hodge will facilitate an audience discussion on the issues raised.

The Void Cinema is located at Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Owen Building (, Level 1.  The easiest way to get there is via the main lift lobby in the Owen building.

For more information contact:

Life at university: autistic voices reveal all

Location: Sheffield
Date: 7 November 2016
Time: 17:00 – 19:00

Festival of Social ScienceSheffield Hallam UniversityFor the general public

Higher education positions itself as an accessible environment for learning. For some this has been the case, but for others higher education has been anything but.

This event will introduce the audience to my (Stephen Connolly’s) PhD research on how autistic students experience life at university. Alongside some of the students who are participating in my research we will share some of our experiences as autistic students studying at university. We will then use these as a starting point for a facilitated audience discussion.

This event will reflect back our experiences (both good and bad) to enable a discussion around accessibility and inclusion of individuals who identify as autistic. Professionals dictate the Autism agenda, and this event will be a rare opportunity to hear autistic people talking and researching for themselves. The event is being held at Hallam to reflect the environment under debate.

Further information

  • Contact: Mr Stephen Connolly
  • Email:
  • Venue: Sheffield Institute of Education, 133 Charles Street, Sheffield S1 2ND
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Petition to make trains more sensory accessible for people with autism and others

Trains can be a sensory nightmare. Overcrowded, no limitations on noise etc. If you want the Government to ensure action is taken to enforce the Equality Act 2010 then you can sign a petition at


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Australian research project seeking participants (autistic and non-autistic) for a study into interoception (the messages that you receive from your senses)

Please not that this is not an Autism Centre study

Invitation to participate in research on Interoception (the messages that you receive from your senses)

What? The purpose of this project is to examine how the interoceptive sense is felt and sensed by adults with and without Autism. The interoceptive sense includes the feelings of thirst, hunger, fullness, heartbeat perception, pain, temperature and affective touch (slow gentle stroking on the skin).

The research team requests your assistance, and your contribution will also contribute towards the development and design of an Adult Interoceptive self-report questionnaire. By designing a scale that identifies each adult’s unique interoceptive profile (firstly if a challenge exists, and secondly what may be the makeup of these challenges), this may assist in designing training programmes to develop strategies which may help adults with and without autism.


We are interested in hearing from adults on the autism spectrum as well as adults without autism. You are over 18 years of age. For those on the autism spectrum, you also have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by an appropriately qualified professional (Psychologist, Paediatrician, Psychiatrist).

How? Your participation will involve answering a series of questions that will take approximately 30-35 minutes of your time. Participation is entirely voluntary, and you can withdraw at any time. Also, you are free to not answer any question that you don’t feel comfortable doing so.

You will be asked to indicate on a scale of 1 to 7 questions relating to how you sense hunger, thirst and other body processes. You will also be asked questions relating to emotions, as well as questions relating to basic personality traits.

If you have any questions about this research, please contact: Lisa Fiene, School of Psychology and Counselling, University of Southern Queensland M +61 (0)409 905 264  E

To access the online survey, please click on the following link…….


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Michael Sandford and his family need our help

Michael Sandford is a British 20  year old autistic man with mental health issues and OCD. Michael is far from home in a US prison awaiting trial. His family need him close to home where they can help and support him. They are extremely worried what will happen to him. Find out more about Michael and how you can help at

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Participants required for project about autism and circus skills

Please note, this is not an Autism Centre project.

I am a student at Sheffield Hallam University completing my final research project for MA Autism Spectrum. I have designed a questionnaire through which I aim to gain an insight into current opinions and perspectives held regarding the abilities of individuals on the autism spectrum and personal developmental areas in which improvement is generally required. Simultaneously, I am seeking views and perceptions of circus skills and what skills or abilities are believed to be required for, or learnt through the processes of engaging in basic circus skills.

I aim to examine whether there is a correlation between the two sets of responses in order to determine whether there is a potential space for basic circus skills in the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum.

I hope that through ascertaining where circus and autism are positioned in peoples’ thinking at the moment, an understanding may be derived as to why circus is not widely used in the UK as a tool or vehicle for personal and social development.

Please direct any questions or interest you have in the study to:

Please click on the link below to participate in the study:

Participant information sheet can be accessed via the link below:

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Sparkle Sheffield Autism Fayre 8-9 September 2016

The Autism Centre’s PhD student Stephen Connolly will be presenting at the Sparkle Sheffield Autism Fayre, 8-9 September 2016.

Details can be found at

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Another research study. Call for participants for Sexuality, Autism, and Young People- Families study

Please note that this is not an Autism Centre research study

Sexuality, Autism, and Young People- Families study


The aim of the SAY-Families study is to find out about how the parents of young people with Autism (without a learning disability) or Asperger syndrome talk to their children about relationships and sex education. A developing sexuality is one of the key challenges that young people face as they grow up, and it is important to find out about families’ experiences of supporting their child in this sensitive area. It is hoped that by finding out parents’ views and experiences, the study will be able to inform the development of support materials for young people and their families.

To find out parents’ views and experiences, we are carrying out one-to-one interviews and have developed an online survey. If you think you might like to take part in either part of the study, more information is below. If you would like to talk to one of the research team, please also feel free to give us a call, we would be more than happy to hear from you (our contact details are also below).

The face-to-face interview- We would like to speak with the parents of young people with Autism (without a learning disability) or Aspergers aged between 14 and 30 years old, who also have a sibling of a similar age. This is because we would like to find out if your experiences of supporting each of your children in this area have been similar or different.

Stacey Hunter, who is one of the research team, will speak with you on the phone to arrange a time that is suitable for you to take part in an interview with her. The interview can take place in your home or somewhere else that is convenient. You can also arrange for your interview to take place over the phone, if that suits you better. The interview will last roughly 45 minutes.

For more information about how to take part contact Stacey at

Online Survey – We are also looking for the parents of young people with Autism (without a learning disability) or Aspergers aged between 14 and 30 years old to fill in an online survey. The survey can be completed by one or both parents of a young person. If you would like to take part as a couple, we ask that you fill in the survey independently and indicate that you would like your responses to be linked.

You can access the online survey using the following link:


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