This year’s conference held at Plas Menai on Friday 21st November, with an excellent lunch and very interesting and informative talks from the speakers, was attended by almost 50 people, including 23 members.
Mark Isherwood, Assembly Member for North Wales and Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Autism gave the opening address in which he talked about the work of the Cross-Party Group and its recent very well-attended meeting in Bangor, as well as touching on issues around delays in diagnosis and assessment, and the potential impacts of the removal of ring-fenced funding for spending on autism which had been worth £40,000 a year to each local authority in Wales. He stressed the importance of local groups like the Gwynedd and Anglesey Asperger/Autism Support Group in providing feedback about the real experiences of people with Asperger’s/autism to inform the work of the Cross-Party Group in the Assembly.
Dr Glenys Jones from the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) at the University of Birmingham talked about the latest ideas in understanding and supporting children and adults with autism or Asperger syndrome, with examples from the work that she has done in developing resources for parents and schools, and the new diagnostic assessment service in the West Midlands. In the course of her talk, she highlighted a number of useful websites and other publications, many of which are listed in her presentation, available by clicking on the relevant link below.
Geoff Evans, Head of Autism Practice at the Options Group, gave a very lively talk on understanding and supporting meltdowns and shutdowns in children and adults with autism. He looked at the various contributory inputs and the way they build up, and considered a number of scenarios, as well as suggesting strategies to prevent meltdowns and shutdowns occurring. He explored strategies for managing and supporting at each stage, and illustrated his talk with a wide range of examples from his work. There was so much more he wanted to say, but we ran out of time, however, the slides from his full presentation are available by clicking on the relevant link below.