Tag Archives: Ambitious about autism

Get The Answers You Require From The Talk about Autism Family Support Live Q&A Session

18 Jan

As a parent who has a child on the Autism spectrum I know how frustrating it can be looking for answers. Thats why I’m really excited to share some excellent news with you… Ambitious about Autism the national charity dedicated to improving opportunities for people with autism, who run an online community called ‘Talk about autism‘ have come up with the Family Support Season of live online Q&A.

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The charity has come up with 4 discussion topics that parents with children on the autism spectrum voted upon late last year. The whole programme has been designed to offer both parents and carers professional advice from leading experts within the autism sector.

Each of the four sessions will take place live on the web over at the Talk about autism website. Finally parents will have the opportunity to get some of the answers they have been searching for whether its about challenging behaviour or socialising with peers the parent support season’s Q&A sessions will do its best to answer those questions.

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The first session has already taken place back on the 16th January. The session covered the topic… ‘Getting the right support at school’ Nonetheless you can still read the entire transcript on the evenings topic over on their website. The session covered areas such as access to education, statements of sen, exclusion and more. The transcript is packed full of great advice what with the specialist advisers being Jill Davies, Manager of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Helpline at Contact and Family, and Steve Broach of Doughty Street Chambers, who is an expert on the rights of ‘children in need’ and disabled adults. This was the first of four live sessions and a great success. Its my guess the remaining three will be just as valuable in the advise they offer.

The second live Q&A session is set to take place on the 30th January 2013 and the discussion topic is that of ‘Understanding & Managing Challenging Behaviour‘. The evenings professionals will be Dr Emma Douglas, a Senior Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Consultant from TreeHouse School, and Richard Hastings, Professor of Psychology at Bangor University in Wales. So, if you are currently experiencing problems with challenging behaviour and are looking for advice this seems like a pretty good place to start.

As a parent to a young man with Aspergers Syndrome we’ve experienced our fair share of meltdowns and aggressive behaviours. Little man is 12 now and I often worry he doesn’t know his own strength when hitting out at other. We have had some particularly bad mornings before school when little man has thrown punches in my direction. His violence scared me! With a frightening temper I had to sought help but it didn’t come easy. I just wish there was something like the live Q&A session available back when I needed it. This topic will sure to be a life line for parents all over the world.

The remaining two sessions after that will commence on the 13 February 2013 & the 27 February 2013.

These sessions will be as follows…

Puberty, sex and relationships (13th February 2013)
Experts for the session: Lesley Kerr-Edwards, Director of Image in Action, and Professor Jahoda, Professor of Learning Disabilities at the University of Glasgow.

Supporting your child to socialise and make friends (27 February 2013).
Experts for this session: Jennifer Cook O’Toole, education specialist and author of The Asperkids Book of Social Rules – the Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Andrew Swartfigure, Senior Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Consultant at TreeHouse School.

Well, I’m definitely marking the 13th February 2013 in my diary. This is a topic that I myself have a number of questions in need of answering (googling can only provide so much)! My 12 year old is fast approaching puberty and don’t I know it! Puberty and the issue of sex is a hard enough topic for any parent to face but for those of children on the autism spectrum, it is an area of constant worry and struggle.

All sessions are live and will last one hour. Each live Q&A will commence at 8pm and finish at 9pm on the dates given.

To receive a reminder about any of the live support sessions visit the website and sign up for a reminder by email.

So, there you have it! Four great topics all live and interactive. How about popping along, maybe get a specific question answered or just follow the thread to see what others have to say. Don’t forget, all sessions will appear as transcripts following the live event allowing those of you who can’t make it on night, the opportunity to have a read. Who knows maybe you’ll still find the answer to that question you need answering.

Would love it if readers could share this on there chosen social networks. By reaching out we give parents the opportunity to gain the support they desperately need.

To find out how Live Q&A sessions work click Here

Disclaimer… This is a sponsored post for the autism charity Ambitious about autism. All words are my own.

Learning Disabilities, Autism and Internet Safety: A Parent’s Guide

19 Oct

A new guide to help parents of children with learning disabilities and autism is being launched today. The guide, a collaboration between charities Cerebra, Mencap and Ambitious about Autism, aims to help parents limit the risk of their child having negative experiences online and understand what action can be taken if they do. It also suggests resources that will help children get the most out of the internet at home and in the community.

Tracy Elliot, Head of Research at Cerebra explains: “as a national research charity, Cerebra strive to improve the lives of children with neurodevelopmental disorders and brain injury, through research, education and direct ongoing family support. There are real benefits to young people with learning disabilities and autism using the internet, but also potential dangers. We wanted to support parents in making informed choices about internet use and enable them to help their child get the most out of the internet. We know we share this aim with other charities like Mencap and Ambitious about Autism and believe that this joint approach helps all of us promote the message more widely. Some excellent resources already exist around this topic and we have referred parents to those resources, promoting wider awareness of these resources without duplicating effort”.

Use of the internet is on the increase with 77% of households in Great Britain having an internet connection in 2011. Increasingly, children and young people are learning and socialising using online resources. Many children with special educational needs are supported to use information technology in schools to allow them to access their education more successfully. Children use the internet to do their homework, to play games and to socialise with their peers. There are real benefits to young people with learning disabilities and autism using the internet for learning and social interaction and increasingly the internet caters for their needs with accessible design and simplified language.

However, alongside the many benefits it brings to children and young people there are also a number of risks. With access to technology comes the potential for cyber bullying, online grooming and risk of exposure to inappropriate content. This is a risk for all children and young people using the internet but the risk can be more profound for young people with a learning disability as a result of increased vulnerability, tendencies towards obsessive compulsive behaviour and social naivety. Studies have shown that pupils with Special Educational Needs are 16% more likely to be persistently cyber bullied over a prolonged period of time.

Mark Atkinson, Director of Policy, Ambitious about Autism said: “We know that children with special educational needs are more at risk of being bullied online, and for longer, than other children. Such a negative experience can be distressing and disorientating for a young person with autism and learning disabilities, especially as it may take longer for them to understand what’s happening and to tell their families. This type of bullying not only affects a child or young person but their family’s wellbeing too, as we know parents and carers often feel upset and powerless about not being able to protect their child online. Cyber bullying has exactly the same devastating implications as face to face bullying for vulnerable children and their families, and this guide provides helpful strategies to counter it”.

The comprehensive Parent’s Guide gives advice on how to make both home and mobile internet safe and how to prepare your child to use the internet. It identifies a range of potential risks and gives advice on how to prevent/deal with them as well as suggesting how to safely explore the many benefits using the internet can give.

Elizabeth Archer, National Children and Young People’s Programme Manager at Mencap and author of the guide, says: “we so often hear about young people with a learning disability having negative experiences online, but the internet can actually provide great opportunities for learning and socialising. The problem is that many parents don’t know where to start when it comes to protecting their child online and this is where we hope our guide will help. It provides information on how to make your home and mobile internet safe, guidance on how to support your child to use the internet safely, advice on various risk factors such as cyberbullying and criminal activity, and links to useful websites and organisations. We hope the guide will help parents to feel empowered to help their child make the most of the opportunities available to them online”.

The guide can be downloaded from www.cerebra.org.uk or to receive a copy please contact Catherine Hylton, Research Officer at Cerebra on catherineh@cerebra.org.uk.

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