Research into how health professionals communicate with children with autism. If you are outside of Sheffield can you help?

Hi everyone – my name is Anna Westaway and I am studying for a MA in Autism Spectrum at Sheffield Hallam University. I am writing a dissertation study on parents’ experiences of how healthcare professionals communicate with children with autism.  I’m interested in what healthcare appointments are like for your child (easy/stressful/frightening) and whether the professionals’ communication and interaction affects how your child feels.  The study has been approved by Sheffield Hallam University’s ethics committee. I would like to invite families to take part who live in the UK (outside Sheffield) and have one or more child with a diagnosis of autism, aged up to 16.  If you would be willing to complete a questionnaire about your experiences – good or bad – I would love to hear from you.  I estimate that the questionnaire should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete.

The link to the questionnaire is here:

You can contact me on if you would like to know more or take part – please feel free to ask me any questions and I would be delighted to hear from you.

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Doncaster Local Authority are recruiting volunteers to offer telephone/online support to people with autism

Please note that this is not an Autism Centre venture

Doncaster Local Authority are recruiting volunteers to offer telephone/online support to people with autism

Details of what a volunteer would be expected to do can be found at . This service will be Doncaster based rather than Exeter however. The scheme has run very successfully in other parts of the country and mentors have found taking part to be a rich and rewarding experience.

If you are interested and would like further information then please email Katie Ainslie at or telephone 01302736691


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Lovely sibling interview by Caitlin with Charlotte who has autism on Radio 4

For those of you who missed it there was a lovely interview this morning between Caitlin who is non autistic and her autistic sister Charlotte. You will be able to hear it on catch up.

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Free Autism Event: Autism Fayre 2015. Please note that this is not an Autism Centre event


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Free Information session for parents and carers on how the law relating to SEN & Disability has changed

Please not that this is not an Autism Centre event

This is an invitation to come along to a free information session to learn about how the law relating to SEN & Disability has changed and how it might affect you and your family.

 The next 3 sessions are Mon 23rd Feb, Tues 24th March & Weds 29th April at the Quaker Meeting House (city centre near the Cathedral) 10.30 to 1.30 with a bite to eat available.

 To aid catering arrangements please contact us on either 0114 273 6009 or and book on to the session of your choice.

 We look forward to seeing you there!

Kind regards,

Sheffield SEN & Disability, Information, Advice and Support
Sheffield City Council



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Wishing Luke Beardon good luck

The Autism Centre is wishing its own Dr. Luke Beardon good luck this week with his nomination for a National Autistic Society lifetime achievement award. Read about Luke’s call for a change in attitudes towards autism in a recent Yorkshire Post article

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You say …I hear – Reflecting on breakdowns in communication between practitioners and parents/carers

Click here to access a short animation that depicts some of the thinking that Katherine Runswick-Cole and Nick Hodge have been doing around practitioner-parent/carer conversations. They are interested in why communication sometimes breaks down and the impact that this can have on the well being of all parties concerned, including children and young people. Katherine and Nick suggest that practitioners need to learn and reflect more about how individual parents and carers experience and view the world. Only when you can appreciate the context of someone’s life and situation can you fully realise how your words might be received and understood.  Although this may sound an overwhelming task it really comes down to asking ‘and how are things with you?’

This presentation was delivered on 3rd February 2015 at the Educational Rights Alliance Conference in London

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