Older news items

Please find below some of our older news stories

Date Title
11 Dec
Christmas and autism spectrum disorders
Christmas can be an exciting and fun time, but it can also be stressful. People with autism may be confused or distressed by all the new activity in the household at Christmas, and this can be upsetting for the rest of the family. The National Autistic Society provides tips and guidance to see you through the festive period.

11 Dec
Your Autism Magazine
Your Autism magazine is the National Autistic Society’s award-winning quarterly members’ magazine about autism. Full of news, reviews, advice and personal stories, as well as special offers for NAS members, Your Autism magazine is a great way to find out what's going on in the autism community. It is designed to be of interest to everyone, whether you're on the spectrum, support someone with autism or simply want to find out more about autism. The NAS also won the Memcom award for charity magazine of the year 2014!

All full NAS members receive the magazine free as part of their membership. To become a full member of the NAS visit www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/our-publications/your-autism-magazine.aspx.

As a NAS member you can nominate your local branch to receive a proportion of your membership fee. In the past year we have received over £150 as a result of these nominations.

11 Dec
Emotional wellbeing and mental health strategy
The Hampshire Children’s Trust has developed an emotional wellbeing and mental health strategy for children and young people. Available at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/emotional-wellbeing-mental-health-strategy.pdf or by calling 01252 335154. Children and young people with good mental health do better. They are happier in their families; they learn better and do better at school; they are able to enjoy friendships and new experiences. They are more likely to grow up to enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives and to make a positive contribution to society and to have good mental health as an adult. The priorities outlined in the strategy will be delivered over the next three years.

11 Dec
Active for Autism!
To mark the launch of The National Autistic Society’s Active for Autism project in January 2015, the NAS are conducting a survey to find out how often people with autism participate in sport or physical activity. Active for Autism is the NAS’ new training and consultancy programme for coaches, designed to help people with autism take part in sport. Please click here to complete the survey.

11 Dec
Rosie's TED talk
A video of an inspirational talk given by a 16-year-old NAS Young Ambassador at TEDMED’s annual gathering in Washington, D.C. is now available to watch online at www.autism.org.uk/news-and-events/news-from-the-nas/nas-young-ambassador-talk-to-air-this-weekend.aspx.

Rosie King, who lives in Wakefield, received the prestigious invitation after TEDMED organisers saw her Emmy Kids award-winning BBC Newsround film My Autism and Me (www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/15655232). In her talk, Rosie discusses growing up with Asperger syndrome and the importance of public understanding.

1 Nov
High Functioning Autism and Aspergers ‘Serendipity’ Social Groups Project
The Autism Partnership Boards and leading local autism groups in Hampshire, including our branch, are working together to develop an exciting and innovative project which will establish a network of social groups for local adults who have Asperger syndrome or High Functioning Autism.
The team is working to set up a network of small, distinctive, user-led social groups, with adults who have Asperger syndrome or High Functioning Autism, across Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth (SHIP). The groups will be facilitated by volunteers and based in community venues such as a community café, college or pub.
To achieve our goals we will need help from people who want to make positive changes in the community. In particular we will need:

• Autism aware volunteers to facilitate groups;
• People with autism expertise and project experience to work with the project team (some paid roles);
• Supportive community minded venues to host the groups such as a café or pub;
• Other help with website development, social media and project development.

The ‘funding dependent’ job vacancies relating to the Serendipity Social Groups Project are now live on the Autism Hampshire website. This includes the volunteer group facilitator advert and paid project positions.
If you have any queries please contact Kathryn Cornish in the Community Access department at Autism Hampshire, Telephone: 023 8063 3951, Email: kathryn.cornish@autismhampshire.org.uk.

16 Oct
Autism Art Group, Fareham
A new art group is starting on Wednesday 5 November from 3.45 to 4.45pm specifically for children aged from 3-4 years up to 10 years with ASD or a learning disability, although their family and siblings are also welcome, and will run for 10 weeks. It is being held at Oak Meadow Children’s Centre, Tewkesbury Avenue, Fareham, PO15 6LL and costs £2.80 per session including materials and they get to take home what they make. There will be a chill out space, room to run around and free squash for the children.
The idea is for children to grow in confidence and skills and to help parents/carers to be able to communicate/interact with their children through art/creative play participation. There will be a celebration on the last session before Christmas. For further information contact Beth Davis-Hofbauer on 07910 832850 or email  help@liveartlocal.co.uk.

13 Oct
Fareham Leisure Centre - Activities for adults with more severe autism
Autism Hampshire and Fareham Leisure Centre are working in partnership to introduce two new activities for adults with more severe autism. We plan to start these activities very soon.

Sharon Wilson from 'Sensecere’ is offering an evening of stimulating and/or calm sensory activities which include: sound, movement, vision, touch and taste experiences. All activities have been careful planned and are delivered at a pace which suits the participants. There will be opportunities when participants feel ready to build on the group’s social interaction through a joint activity.

Bronwin Carter (level 4 qualified sports coach and coach for the national disabled gymnastic squad) will run a morning session which will develop hand-eye co-ordination and target skills.

If you are interested, please contact Kath Cornish, Community Access - Autism Hampshire, Suite 1c Fairways House, Mount Pleasant Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 0QB
Tel: 023 8063 3951   Email: kathryn.cornish@autismhampshire.org.uk    Web: www.autismhampshire.org.uk

24 Sep
Social Skills groups
We are currently running a course with a group of eight children aged 8 and 9. However, we have a limited number of vacancies on our social skills course taking place early next year. We would like to run the course for children aged 11 to 14.
Branch members can register their interest by completing the registration of interest form and return it to us as soon as possible. Registrations of interest will be considered on a first come, first served basis.

The branch heavily subsidise these courses so the total cost to parents will be £60 (plus an additional £5 to cover food on the last session). Please do not send any money with the form – payment will be required, in advance, once a place has been confirmed.

The course will be run, as in the past, by Chris Parsons, Project Leader of Eastleigh’s in touch project. Chris and her team have a great deal of experience in working with children with autism and our previous courses have been excellent. Since 2006, whenever funding has been available, we have offered these courses and, to date, over 80 young people have benefitted from them.

The 6-session course will run over 5 weeks (the last is a double session) held on Saturday mornings in the Spring (dates still to be confirmed). The course will be preceded by an advance meeting which will enable the children to become familiar with the surroundings, for Chris and her team to meet them and for the necessary assessment forms to be completed.

The structured course will involve around 6-8 children. The main focus of the course will be on social and communication skills. Each session will build on the previous one, so it is essential that each child attends the full course. The course will be held locally in Eastleigh.

18 Sep
Personal Budgets for Post-16 Provision & FE Colleges
The introduction of The Children and Families Act 2014 has brought about a number of duties in relation to Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans. If you are a young person you can request a personal budget which can include elements of education, health or care provision. Preparing for Adulthood has co produced a factsheet with In Control AOC and Natspec. To download the factsheet, visit www.preparingforadulthood.org.uk/5683.aspx or call 020 7843 6348.

18 Sep
Little Kickers, South Hampshire
Little Kickers give your children a positive introduction to sport by teaching high quality football skills in a friendly, pressure-free environment. There are four different classes tailored specifically to the needs of children between 18 months and seven years of age. It's the perfect way to ignite an enthusiasm for sport that will stay with them for life. They operate at venues in Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Hedge End, Portsmouth, Romsey, Southampton & Whiteley on Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays. For full details on venues, class times, age groups, cost and booking form, can be found at www.hampshiregateway.info/images/b/b3/LittleKickersSouthHantsEnrolment.pdf or call Gary Darling on 07896 009651

18 Sep
New Drama Group, Romsey
Drama Space is a new drama group held at Speaking Space, Fleming House, Alma Road, Romsey, SO51 8ED every Monday from 4.30-5.30pm. The group is for people with learning disabilities or autism aged 14 years upwards. It is designed to increase your confidence, develop your social skills with staff who are trained in speech and drama therapy. There will be drama games, stories, puppetry, movement and sound. The cost is £5 per session or £70 for the term. To book your place or for more information contact Rebecca or Ophelia on 02380 987134 or email rebecca@alexkelly.biz. They are not able to offer 1:1 support. For more information on Speaking Space, view their website at www.speakingspace.co.uk.

11 Sep
This is a national scheme giving free books to every child. For information see http://www.bookstart.org.uk/.
Bookstart offer three packs for children with additional needs: Booktouch for children with visual impairment; Bookshine for children with hearing impairment, and Bookstart Star for children with a condition or disability that impacts on fine motor skill development. There are also resources for children whose home language is not English.

11 Sep
Long term sleep disturbances can have an enormous impact on family life. Many families can feel very isolated because of the sleep issues their disabled child is experiencing and often feel that no one can help or that strategies only work for a while before the original issues resurface. For the child a lack of sleep can affect concentration, learning, progress and health. This factsheet outlines some of the possible causes of sleep issues, suggests some strategies and provides signposts to support services. For a copy of the guide please see http://www.parentvoice.info/images/b/bb/Sleep_Guide_June_14.pdf or call 0300 303 8603.

11 Sep
Horse Riding Opportunity, Eastleigh
Do you have a group that would like to try horse-riding? Russells Equestrian Centre in West End (SO30 3HQ) is run by Carol Boulton who has over 40 years’ experience in the equestrian industry. Carol has attained the level of BHSSM (BHSI stable manager) making her one of the highest qualified proprietors in Hampshire. She is a very experienced teacher of clients with special needs and for many years she ran the Black Farm group RDA.
At Russells, they have recently developed a new Club Room and working area separate to the rest of the stables specifically so that groups of children/young people with disabilities and/or additional needs can have the opportunity for a ride while parents and carers can socialise and have a cup of tea/coffee. Siblings are also welcome. The group will need to book a minimum of 5 ponies at £15/pony per hour (the children can share ponies). If you are interested please call Carol on 02380 473693, or see http://www.russellsec.com/index.html.

28 Aug
New autism passport for hospitals launched
The National Autistic Society recently launched a new hospital passport to support health professionals to better understand the needs of people with autism in hospitals.

The project is being led by NAS Vice President, Baroness Angela Browning, and it is backed by the Department of Health and NHS England.
The short booklet is designed to accompany the general notes that medical professionals refer to when treating a patient. It contains essential and useful information about the needs, likes and dislikes of a patient with autism, to make their stay in hospital more comfortable and reduce the risk of distress or misunderstanding.

Download the passport at www.autism.org.uk/hospital-passport.

21 Aug
Hampshire Autism Strategy for Children and Young People
The Hampshire Autism Partnership Board (HAPB) Need Your Help!

The HAPB have released the final draft of the Hampshire Autism Strategy for Children and Young People and would like to know what you think of it. Your opinions will help them make the strategy better.

The strategy has been put together following much consultation over the past few months. We have had significant input into this but it is now important that all parents/carers of children and young people in Hampshire can comment on the strategy before it is finalised.

This is your chance to ensure it is fit for purpose and can support the needs of children and young people with autism.

For full details of the consultation and to download the Final Draft Hampshire Autism Strategy document visit http://www3.hants.gov.uk/autism-consultation.

The consultation period runs until and including Friday 7th November.

14 Jul
ASC Carer drop-in
From September, after an initial meeting earlier this month, we are jointly hosting this new monthly local initiative with Eastleigh and Winchester Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Paediatric Services (Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy) and the Primary Behaviour Service (Education). The group is specifically for families across Eastleigh and Winchester who are on the waiting list for an assessment of ASC (or related issues) in CAMHS or paediatric services, and those who have received a diagnosis from these services. The group will also include families being seen by the Primary Behaviour Service. Please note: to keep the size of the group manageable it is by invite only.

24 Apr
FASS Adventurers, Saturday afternoon activity group for children 7-19 years and their families
Autism Hampshire and the QE2 Activity Centre are working in partnership with Fareham Autistic Spectrum Support (FASS) to offer an exciting new opportunity for children aged 7-19 years with autism, and their families.

Starting Saturday, 26 April 2014, then fortnightly (please check the FASS website for future dates and activities), 1.00pm to 4.00pm, £2.50 per child at QE2 Activity Centre, Manor Farm Country Park, Pylands Lane, Bursledon, Hampshire, SO31 1BH

QE2 Activity Centre caters for people of all ages with additional needs including autism. At each Adventurers session you will be able to drop in and enjoy the outdoor woodland space, ropes course, zip wire, indoor sports like skittles or badminton, arts and crafts, fun and friendship.
On alternate sessions in addition to the drop in activities, they will offer a more adventurous activity such as climbing walls, a boat trip or archery with a qualified instructor. Please note these activities will incur an additional charge of £3 per child and need to be booked and paid in advance. To find out what is on offer look at the FASS website diary page.

For more information please contact the FASS Co-ordinator. Please note that she works part time, so leave a message or email (core times – Tuesday and Thursday morning). Contact: Telephone: 07900297267, Email: FASSadmin@googlemail.com, Web: www.farehamautisticspectrumsupport.org.uk/events.html  

31 Mar
New service for children with Speech and Language needs
Afasic is a national charity supporting parents/carers of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. As the Area Coordinator for Hampshire, Isobel Chick is involved in setting up support structures for parents/carers locally and would love to hear from you about the kind of support you feel would help. Please join their Facebook group to share your thoughts and ideas at www.facebook.com/groups/afasic.hampshire or alternatively, email her directly at isobel.rawlings@pmb.oxon.org

31 Mar
Women with Asperger Syndrome
Are you a woman with Asperger Syndrome who would be willing to contribute to doctoral research on your experiences of work or seeking to gain employment?

Tracy Turner, a PhD student at Hertfordshire Business School (part of the University of Hertfordshire), is conducting research into this important area. The aim of her research is to give a voice to, and explore the experiences of, women with Asperger Syndrome in the workplace. The research will include women who are currently employed, previously employed, or who are seeking, or have sought, employment. If you are over the age of 18, have received a formal ‘diagnosis’ of Asperger Syndrome, or if you have self-diagnosed or you self-identify with Asperger Syndrome, she would like to hear about your work/life experiences.

To take part please complete the short questionnaire at https://sdu-surveys.herts.ac.uk/womenasperger which collects some basic demographic and contact details. She will then use these to arrange a mutually convenient time and method to interview you. The interviews, which should take no longer than an hour, would be face to face, by telephone or by Skype, all at a time convenient to you. Interviews can also be offered by email if preferred. All information collected will be kept strictly confidential and you will not be able to be identified in the final research or any conference presentations or publications that may arise from it. If you would like further information about this research please contact Tracy Turner at t.turner2@herts.ac.uk

27 Feb
‘Putting the pieces together’ guide
Learning Disability Today have released a useful guide on autism and challenging behaviour. It helps to solve the puzzle of what causes someone to exhibit behaviour that challenges and how to prevent it happening in the future. View the guide here or call 01273 434943.

27 Feb
Supporting people with autism into work
Employment support is a key part of our recent campaigning activity, with 53% of people with autism saying they would like to receive more employment support. The NAS are working to address this issue by forming partnerships with other organisations, such as Autism Success Formula, so that they can support people with autism into employment more effectively. Read more about this here.

27 Feb
NICE Quality Standard on autism
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently published its Quality Standard on autism setting out what good services for children and adults with autism should look like. Local councils and the NHS will now need to look at whether services are meeting relevant areas of this standard. This should mean the specific needs of people with autism are taken in to account in the design of services. The standard can also be used by people with autism and their parents/carers as information about what high-quality care or services should include.
For further information click here.

27 Feb
National Autistic Society Policy and Campaigns Priorities Survey 2014
The National Autistic Society campaigns and lobbies at a national level (as well as supporting local campaigns) to improve services and support for children and adults with autism and their families. They are currently planning their work for April 2014-March 2015 and want to hear from you to make sure they get their priorities right for people with autism and their families. In this survey, they explain more about the areas they plan to work on and ask for your feedback. There is also an opportunity at the end of the survey to tell NAS about other issues that you think they should work on. To access the survey, click here. If you have any questions, please email policy@nas.org.uk or call 020 7923 5799.

8 Feb
Travel and Holidays Guide
Are you now starting to think about your summer holiday? If so, you might like to take a look at Cerebra’s guide which suggests things to be considered when planning a trip with a child with additional needs. The guide includes topics such as access, accommodation and flying and much more and has details of other useful websites. Visit their website to view the guide.

8 Feb
New study on Autism
The Studying Autism and ADHD Risk in Siblings (STAARS) project is specifically researching the early development of baby brothers and sisters of children with autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorders and typical development. In the long term, they hope this will help to improve early detection and diagnosis of children with ASD and ADHD, allowing for earlier and effective intervention thus improving the quality of life of children and their families. Do you have a child with Autism? You can help with the STAARS project if you are pregnant, or have a baby between the age of 0 -10 months who has a brother or sister diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. If you are interested in getting involved and supporting this project, find out more on the STAARS frequently asked questions web page at http://www.staars.org/, contact the team on 020 7079 0761 or email staars@bbk.ac.uk.

8 Feb
Toilet Training for Children with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Guide
Cerebra’s informative guide on toilet training has been updated and is now accompanied by a new infographic making it much easier and quicker for parents and carers to find the advice on toilet training that they are looking for. To view the guide, call the Parent Support Helpline (Freephone) 0800 328 1159 or visit http://www.cerebra.org.uk/English/getinformation/guides%20for%20parents/Pages/ToiletTraining.aspx.

8 Feb
Blog Article – Moving up: My transition from school to university
The Talk about Autism blog has recently featured an article from an 18year old student moving onto university. It is a first-hand account of the different challenges and worries he faced making the transition from school, and the support he has received along the way. To read the blog article, visit http://blog.talkaboutautism.org.uk/2013/12/moving-up-my-transition-from-school-to.html.

8 Feb
Science Museum Early Birds event
The Science Museum presents Early Birds, a new experience for families with members who have an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). On selected dates in 2014 the Museum will be open from 08.30 for families to come along and enjoy the Museum free of the general public. The Early Birds sessions will see some of their interactive galleries open exclusively to booked Early Bird guests until 11.15am. There will also be a selection of workshops, the opportunity to access selected galleries and witness some thrilling demonstrations.
All of these events are completely free and suitable for families with children under the age of 14.
The next Early Birds date is Saturday 8 March. For free registration please call 0870 870 4868. Booking is essential. Further information is available on their website at http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/Plan_your_visit/events/other/early_birds_event.aspx 

8 Feb
Autism Education Trust (AET) – parent guide
The AET is developing a guide for parents, focusing on what they feel is important in a school for a child with autism or Asperger syndrome. If you are a parent, they would be very grateful if you could spend 5 minutes to answer a short survey to tell them what you think is important for YOUR son or daughter.
Visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/J592W8P to complete the survey. The survey closes on the 21 February.

22 Jan
New activity from our branch
We are delighted to announce the start of an additional activity from February 2014:

Monthly afternoon Parent/Carer Support group meetings
These support group meetings will be in additional to our regular evening meetings and commence on Thursday 6 February. They are being run in partnership with The Friends of In Touch and will take place, on the first Thursday of the month (except August), at Y-Zone Youth Centre, Blackberry Drive, Fair Oak, SO50 8RB, from 1:30 to 3.00pm. Two professionals from In Touch will be present at these meetings and a selection of items from our resource library will be available for members to borrow. Light refreshments will be available and we ask for a donation of £1.00 per person to cover costs.
Please note: parking is limited at this venue, so please use either the Centre car park or the nearby small car park on the left of Blackberry Drive (just before the Centre). Please do not park in the road – thank you.
For full details click here.

21 Jan
Annual Report 
The annual report of our branch was presented at our recent AGM. Please click here to read.

18 Jan
Get your new year off to an inspiring start with the NAS employment handbook
The employment training team at The National Autistic Society is excited to announce the publication of Finding work - a job searching and work preparation handbook for employment professionals and people with autism, including Asperger syndrome.

Designed to help seekers with autism to find meaningful employment and prepare individuals for the workplace, it is also a useful resource for anyone supporting a job seeker with autism, including professionals, parents/carers and relatives.

The handbook includes a series of worksheets, information sheets and templates for job seekers covering topics, such as:
• how to write an effective CV
• interview skills
• what to expect when you start work.

It also includes an access code to Network Autism, where you can download further employment resources. Find out more and order you copy today.

The NAS are building partnerships with supported employment organisations across the UK and working with positive employers to increase access to effective support for job seekers with autism and create more employment opportunities. Find out more about the employment services they offer.

18 Jan
New QE2 Saturday Activity Group for Young People with Autism, coming soon
Would you be interested in NEW regular, low cost, Saturday activity group for children and/or young people with autism and their families at the QE2 Activity Centre, Bursledon? Archery, climbing, indoor games, rope course, zip wire, motorboat, fun and friendship – sound interesting? Wonderful woodland setting near Manor Farm, Hampshire and experienced, caring staff. Autism Hampshire are working in partnership with the Centre to start this group in April. If you think a group like this might be good for your family, please email Kathryn Cornish (Autism Hampshire) on kathryn.cornish@has.org.uk to let her know you might be interested or call 02380 633951. It would be useful for her to know:
1. The age of your child/children with autism.
2. Number and ages of any siblings who might attend.
3. Anything that might help your child with autism and the rest of the family to attend.
4. Anything that might stop you from coming to the group (eg. transport).
5. What time at the weekend would be best for you?
6. Your contact details to keep you informed about the group: name, phone, email, address.

18 Dec
Local Autism Directory now launched
From the public consultations that took place across Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth (SHIP) in 2011 and 2012 we were told that people with autism, their families and professionals all wanted a one-stop-shop of information.

The Local Autism Directory (LAD) is the response to people’s request for a one-stop-shop of information. The LAD will help to connect the autism community, professionals, employers and service providers and help them access autism information all in one place.

The LAD will provide information about many local issues including support groups, activities, schools, employment, housing, developments taking place across SHIP and neighbouring counties. It also has clear and simply written autism research articles to help people stay up to date with new approaches and helpful information.

The Local Autism Directory has been commissioned by SHIP Adult Services and Health, and developed by Autism Hampshire. It is very much a combined and joint approach to give information and support to people with, and connected to, autism.

Please access the directory by this web link: http://has.org.uk/local-autism-directory/  

It is very important that this brand new resource is comprehensive and accurate, so if you would like to submit a new entry, request a change to an existing entry or have any constructive comments, please download the change request form from the front page of the directory or contact the Autism Hampshire Outreach Department (22 Midanbury Lane, Southampton SO18 4HP Telephone: 023 8063 3951 Email: autismdirectory@has.org.uk) and a form will be sent to you. 

18 Dec
Thank you for your votes
You will be delighted to hear that our Southampton Social Groups have been awarded £3,000 from Lloyd's Community Fund. You will recall we asked you recently to vote for them and, obviously, this paid off! The money will be used to expand the services of our Southampton groups over the next year.

18 Dec
Raise the profile of autism in your local surgeries
Two posters have been produced by the National Autistic Society to raise the profile of autism among health professionals. One asks how autism-friendly a GP practice is and the other highlights the ‘invisibility’ of autism. When you next visit your local health centre, dentist, optician or any other health professional, take a poster with you and ask if they will display it.

18 Dec
New Autism Communication Passport
The new passport to individual autism support is a simple, at a glance document which explains the communication, sensory and support needs of the individual to whom it belongs.

The passport is designed to be carried by adults who find it difficult to explain their needs when in stressful situations, such as meetings and interviews.

Many people at the higher functioning end of the autistic spectrum live independently and do not receive support or advocacy. Over the years, many have learned to mask their autistic traits, so they are not obvious and others may fail to recognise or accept them. These ‘hidden’ problems can place people with autism at a disadvantage in situations where their health, welfare or employment needs are being evaluated.

The passport can be filled in easily and can be presented in any situation, to social, health or employment professionals. Reading it will inform the recipient of the specific needs of the individual and help them to make the necessary adjustments to deliver a tailored and effective service.
To download a copy of the autism passport go to: http://www.autism.org.uk/news-and-events/news-from-the-nas/new-gp-passport-now-available.aspx.

11 Nov
Further information for Grandparents and child care support
Below we mention Community First New Forest’s Grandparent Carers Information Day is taking place on Monday 25 November, from 10.30am till 1.30pm at Lyndhurst Community Centre.

We have also received information about further support for Grandparents. Some Grandparents who care for their grandchildren may not be aware of other childcare that maybe available and the help that is available towards these costs. Hampshire Childcare and Family Information Team can help with this information around childcare matters - there is lots of information on their website at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/childcare/cis.html. There is 2 year funding available for parents and carers on
certain benefits or who are caring for ‘Looked after Children’ - see http://www3.hants.gov.uk/childrens-services/childcare/parents/cis/eye/2-year-old-offer-2.htm. They have also produced a fact sheet about the help that is available to assist with the costs of childcare at http://documents.hants.gov.uk/childrens-services/20130801HQPublicationCFITFinancialHelpWithChildcareCostscolourversion.pdf.

The Grandparents' Association is a national charity which supports all grandparents and their families. Visit their website at http://www.grandparents-association.org.uk/.

11 Nov
Community Wessex open new offices in Southampton
Community Wessex provides a range of personalised social care services to people with autism and other developmental disorders, learning disabilities and associated mental health problems.

29 Oct
The Netbuddy website
The Netbuddy website has a listing of inclusive events in the UK including live music, autism-friendly film screenings, accessible sports, relaxed theatre performances and more. There is also information about how you can add details of your own events. Netbuddy is joining the disability charity Scope and they will be merging to create a new online community, offering practical tips and information to even more disabled people, families and professionals. They expect to launch their new community in the Spring of 2014. 

29 Oct
The Autism Food Club
The Autism Food Club is a new innovative website that helps turn global scientific research into affordable, simple and healthy family meals. The site aims to provide people with an autism spectrum condition, teachers, professionals, parents and caregivers of people with autism, embarking on a Gluten & Casein Free (GFCF) dietary intervention, a complete and readable overview of the science behind the GFCF diet and how that science can practically be translated into tasty recipes suitable for all the family.

29 Oct
Wendy Lawson workshops
A number of you will have attended the excellent recent workshops given by Wendy in Alton. Her daytime and evening PowerPoint presentations can now be found on the Hampshire Short Breaks Learning and Development web pages which also includes links to the very interesting YouTube clips she used on the day. Other information can also be found on Wendy’s website.

29 Oct
Visual Stress
The subject of visual stress in people with autism was discussed at the recent workshops given by Wendy Lawson in Alton. As a result we include the information below which may be of interest.
Visual Stress can be associated with Dyslexia, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis and Autism.  People who suffer with Visual Stress complain of the following symptoms; words appearing to move on the page, patches of colour, darkness on the page, headaches(migraine)/tired eyes, photosensitivity, blurring of print and sore eyes.
Visual Stress, also known as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, is sensitivity to visual patterns, mainly stripes.  In some individuals this condition can cause visual perception problems which interfere when reading. These symptoms can be present despite normal vision.  Individual precise colour can help alleviate Visual Stress by calming the visual cortex, allowing the reader to process visual data more easily. Symptoms are different for everybody.
A simple effective way of determining whether colour is of benefit to the sufferer, is to carry out an Overlay Assessment, although this is merely a stepping stone to Colorimetry which is a much more effective tool to combat Visual Stress.  An Overlay Assessment is carried out using twelve transparent coloured sheets to see if any symptoms can be alleviated with colour. However using an overlay has limitations as it can only be used for reading.  Colorimetry is carried out using an Intuitive Colorimeter. The patient can choose the most effective colour from over 100,000 colour combinations. The colour is then made into Precision Tinted Lenses to enable the wearer to use their optimal colour for other activities such as computer use and interactive white boards.
Rex Wingate Opticians have specialised in helping children and adults with reading difficulty for over thirty years. They provide the highest standard of professional care in a child friendly environment. For more information please contact their Havant branch on 023 9248 4184 or email havant@wingateopticians.co.uk.

16 Oct
New ‘Early Support’ film answers young people’s questions
A new Early Support film shares the experiences and stories of young people, covering sensitive or often awkward to discuss topics like relationships and sex, as well as practical topics like transitions, independent living and work experience. Read more and view the film.

4 Oct
The Saturday Club 
This is held at The Romsey School (SO51 8ZB) on the third Saturday of every month, for Year 6 to Year 11 pupils in mainstream schools, from 10.00am to 12.30pm. Click here for more information

26 Sep
Avon Tyrrell Outdoor Activity Centre Inclusion Events
Situated in 65 acres of beautiful grounds in the idyllic setting of the New Forest, the centre belongs to the youth work charity, UK Youth.
They are now coming up to their third year of holding their Inclusion Events which are a great success. The events give Hampshire based families a chance to gain confidence, achieve new experiences together as a family and make new friends. The families have the opportunity to enjoy their unique residential, fully supported adventure activity weekend while staying in their beautiful old country house, Avon Tyrrell.

The Residential weekends are sponsored by Hampshire County Council/Inspiring You and are open to all Gateway Card users.

The events are their standard 2 night stay and will be charged at the 2013 rate of £50 per person for Gateway Card Holders.
For Gateway Card families taking part in this weekend there are also travel bursaries available on request.

Friday 25 October (16:00) to Sunday 27 October (14:00) (Limited spaces)
Friday 6 December (16:00) to Sunday 8 December (14:00)
Friday 13 December (16:00) to Sunday 15 December (14:00)

If you have any queries contact the Activity Centre on 01425 672347 or visit their website.

26 Sep
Calshot Activities Centre 'No Limits' sessions
Calshot's successful ‘No Limits’ sessions are designed to provide fun, challenging and exciting activities for those with a range of disabilities and their siblings.  Using variations of standard and adaptive equipment they aim to make every activity accessible and inclusive. Activities include – ski slope activities, inclusive cycling, archery, rock & rope and shooting.

Half day sessions (9.30am to 12.30pm) cost £15 per session for Gateway Card holders (£25 for non-Gateway card holders) and take place on 20 October (archery, slope activties), 1 November (inclusive cycling, slope activties), 17 November (rushing rockets, rock & rope), 7 December (team swing, egg drop/ringos), 4 January (inclusive cycling, archery/shooting), 9 February (rushing rockets, rock & rope), 21 February (team swing, egg drop/ringos), and 16 March (archery, rushing rockets).

Full day sessions (9.30and to 4.30pm, including lunch) cost £25 per session for Gateway Card holders (£45 for non-Gateway card holders) and take place on 29 October (team swing, archery, rock & rope, egg drop) and 18 February (inclusive cycling, slope activities, archery, rushing rockets).

For full details contact Calshot Activities Centre on 023 8089 2077 or email calshot.ac@hants.gov.uk.

23 Sep
Secret Stories from the Archives
An event for children of all ages with any disability at the Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester SO23 8TH on Saturday 12 October from 1.00 to 4.00pm.

The event: Delve into the archives to make and decorate your own Story Box to take home, add your personal story to our Story Wall or listen to our very own Storyteller telling stories old and new. Bring your own family stories or invent a historical thriller – it’s up to you! Hear and see untold mysteries from your local archive and find out what people got up to in the past in Hampshire…

There will be a display of archive documents that highlight the Story theme.
The Storyteller will tell stories periodically throughout the afternoon (those who don’t wish to listen can carry on writing their own stories/decorating their own story boxes), and children can sit on bean bags to listen in a corner of the Education Workroom. Alternatively children can listen to stories and music on their own using our special wireless headphones.

Cost: £1 per child.  Booking required.  Please phone 01962 846154
Other info: It will take place in the Education Workroom. Children must be accompanied by parents. There is no maximum number (although the room should seat about 25).
Sensory info: There will be a silent film playing on the white board. There will be quiet, calming music playing in the background (NB if a child wishes to come who is affected by sound we will not play the music in order to keep the room quieter.) There will be natural light. The Storyteller will pass around Smell Cubes.

23 Sep
Getting On? Growing older with autism
The National Autistic Society has recently launched a new campaign with accompanying reports: Getting on? Growing older with autism. The reports set out some of the key issues facing older people with autism and what government and other bodies need to do to make sure they have the services and support they need. Full details, including copies of the report can be found on the NAS website or call 020 7833 2299.

23 Sep
Makaton News – September edition
Makaton Charity provides information and advice to families that use Makaton to communicate. This month they have information about a new resource for schools and colleges, and free signs and symbols for Harvest Festival. There’s news about their CEO Lysa Schwartz being appointed to the Programme Board of The Communication Trust, details of events they’re attending, No Pens Day Wednesday and much, much more! Also, if you have not already completed their survey there is still time to take part, it is your chance to tell them more about yourself & what they can do to help you. Closing date is 30 September. For more information or to receive their newsletter, click here for their website; call 01276 606760 or email info@makaton.org.

22 Sep
School Exclusions Service
The School Exclusions Service offers advice and information to parents of children and young people with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) on all aspects of school exclusion in England. This includes advice on informal (illegal) exclusions; fixed-period and permanent exclusions; how to challenge your child’s exclusion and what you can do if you are concerned that your child is at risk of exclusion.
In the academic year 2010-11, 2,480 pupils with ASD received one or more fixed period exclusions. The most common reasons given were ‘Physical assault against a pupil’ (20%), ‘Verbal abuse/threatening behaviour against an adult’ (20%), ‘Physical assault against an adult’ (19%) and ‘Persistent disruptive behaviour’ (19%).
However, in some cases behaviour associated with this hidden disability can be confused with disobedience because of a lack of awareness of the condition and a lack of empathy with the individual. Sometimes a pupil with ASD, trying to cope with school life can go into meltdown - the bewildering bombardment of instructions and demands; the deluge of sensory stimuli;  the struggle to keep up with the flow of social interaction that comes naturally to those around them – can prove too much and anxiety can build to stress and ultimately to aggression.
Headteachers may feel that exclusion is the only solution in order to maintain the safety and well-being of other pupils. Indeed it may be the case that a mainstream school is not the most appropriate setting for a particular child. However, disruptive behaviour can be an indication of unmet needs and schools have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to policies and practices to ensure that pupils with ASD also feel safe, confident and able to experience success.
How to use the School Exclusions Service:
  • Call the NAS Autism Helpline on 0808 800 4104 (Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm). The Helpline will take details of your query and arrange a telephone appointment for you with the Exclusions Adviser, who will call you back at the agreed time to discuss your query in detail.
  • Email your enquiry to schoolexclusions@nas.org.uk. It would be helpful if you could provide as much detail as possible regarding your enquiry

They aim to reply within 5 working days. Please note that it may take them longer than this if their Exclusions Advisor is away.

16 Aug
Visual impairment and autism
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and other partners conducted a research study from 2009-11 investigating strategies used with children who have both autism and a visual impairment. From this research, they have produced a new resource pack, containing case studies and information about strategies. This resource pack has now been put online into a "microsite", containing over 200 pages of information and guidance for practitioners. You can visit the website here.

16 Aug
Help with research
Claire McGonagle is a Psychologist in Clinical Training in Trinity College Dublin. She is investigating stress in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Specifically she is looking at what factors increase the individuals experience of stress, coping and anxiety. It is hoped that this research will have implications for both clinical interventions and service development. Participation involves completing a questionnaire pack online (30-35 min). All information is confidential and anonymous. She is hoping to get as many parents' responses as possible in order to get a representative view of this topic. If you would like to take part, please follow the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/82H8X9K.

16 Aug
Adults with Autism
Some interest has been registered by adults with autism who are looking for peer support. Hampshire Autistic Society (who are changing their name to Autism Hampshire) is interested to find out how much demand there would be for this. They would be grateful if you would let us know your views, your responses will be used to help develop and deliver future services. 
They would like to know the adult's name (optional), which area of Hampshire they live in, the adult's age ( 25-39 or 40+), would they attend a peer support group for adults with autism, would they like the group for autism discussion, social friends and/or activities.
Please return your replies by email to outreach@has.org.uk or by post to Hampshire Autistic Society Outreach Department, Midanbury Site, 22 Midanbury Lane, Bitterne Park, Southampton, Hampshire  SO18 4HP by Monday 2 September.        

16 Aug
Hampshire Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Pathfinder
We had a good attendance at our July support meeting at which Tesni Mason from Hampshire Parent Partnership talked about Hampshire Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Pathfinder and the effect it will have on all children with special needs. As promised Tesni has sent us the relevant links to information that you may wish to look at.
Information about Hampshire's Local Offer, including the Local Offer framework, is at www.hampshirelocaloffer.info  
The Hampshire Pathfinder website is at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/childrens-services/specialneeds/se7sendpathfinder.htm  
Hampshire Parent Partnership's site is at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/parentpartnership where you can access their leaflet and fact sheets.  

24 Feb
Annual general meeting
Our annual general meeting took place on Monday 18 February (having been postponed from the 'snowed-out' original date in January). Over 50 members attended and we were delighted to welcome Dr Tony Brown as our speaker.
A copy of our 2012 annual report is available here.

For more information on the Brain in hand project that Dr Brown talked about is available here.

28 Jan
Calshot Activities Centre, Southampton
Calshot are running activity mornings, 9.30am to 12.30pm, for children with disabilities and their siblings called 'No Limits'. The cost per child is £15 (Gateway Card holders) £25 (non Gateway Card holders).

Check out the website as they run these sessions monthly and also have two days over the half term (19 and 22 February). Go to www3.hants.gov.uk/calshot/action-adventure-days.htm#section403046-3 or call 023 8089 2077 for more information.

14 June
NAS Train Walk - come and join in the fun!            
We are pleased to announce that one of our members, Val James, is organising a National Autistic Society Train Walk on our behalf this summer. This will take place in Winchester on Saturday 21 July and we are delighted that the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Frank Pearson, will be joining us for this fun event.
To take part, contact Val by emailing valjames28@hotmail.com or ring 01962 883190 and she will send you a sponsor form. Spread the word and bring your family and friends.There will be a fancy dress competition for those who wish to dress up in a Thomas themed costume (or any other theme if you like).
The event will leave the Cathedral grounds at 11.30am and make its way through the city to River Park where the fancy dress competition will be judged and there will be a prize for the best dressed child. Bring a picnic along and we will cut the 50th anniversary cake.
The NAS has a partnership with Thomas & Friends to theme this family-fun sponsored walk to raised money for autism. Everyone loves Thomas & Friends and Train Walks are a great day out for a great cause. Help us to celebrate the NAS' 50th birthday by joining up with your family and friends to raise both the profile of autism and funds for our branch - and have loads of fun at the same time.
Please note: parents must be responsible for their own children and please follow the directions of our stewards to ensure a safe and enjoyable event.

28 Feb
Asperger's Syndrome Help Guide
A new help guide has been specifically written, by Jan Wells of Queen Mary’s College, to provide help and guidance to mainstream Science, IT and Maths teachers in a Further Education setting.

However, this excellent document would be a useful tool for anyone who finds they have a learner with Asperger’s Syndrome in their classroom, whatever subject they are taking.

Strategies for Supporting Students with Asperger’s Syndrome to Learn Effectively in a Further Education Setting

We are grateful to the College for making this freely available.

28 Feb
Register for a Gateway card now!
Hampshire County Council's Gateway Card is for children and young people who:have a disability and/or additional needs and may require support to participate in leisure and recreation activities
are between 0 to 19 years old, live in Hampshire and/or attend a school in Hampshire (excluding Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight as they have similar schemes).

It is free and will give you access to activities, play schemes and buddy schemes available through their short breaks programme.
It will be necessary to have one of these cards to access all these activities from 1 April 2012.

For full details visit http://www3.hants.gov.uk/childrens-services/specialneeds/shortbreaks/gatewaycard.htm

29 Nov
AACT...Autism, Asperger’s Climbing as Therapy

AACT are continuing to run their indoor rock climbing program at Calshot Activity Centre, designed especially for children with additional needs, e.g. behaviour problems, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Asperger syndrome and autism. The program features one-on-one attention and encouragement where each child climbs at their own pace.

Many Children with Additional Needs have difficulties processing sensory information. Rock climbing is a one stop therapeutic shop! It is very tactile, both in the holds and in the texture of the walls. The holds are brightly coloured with different shapes so are visually stimulating.

Thanks to funding from Inspiring You sessions have been reduced to £10 per child for a 45 minute climbing session.

For further information check out their website: www.aact-climbing.com or contact Nicky on: 07921779154 or email: nicky@aact-climbing.com.

15 May
400 attend Asperger syndrome seminar in Winchester
World renowned expert in Asperger syndrome, Professor Tony Attwood, and Dr Michelle Garnet, Director of 'Minds & Hearts: A Specialist Clinic for Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism’, both travelled from Australia to give an excellent seminar to over 400 parents, carers and professionals in Winchester Guildhall on Tuesday 10 May 2011. Click here for pictures of the day.
31 Mar
Hampshire Riding Therapy Centre
This excellent centre cater for adults and children with learning difficulties and disabilities. Throughout April and May they are running a series of after school clubs that may be of benefit for anyone with disabilities and they believe that horse riding is very beneficial. Click here for full details.
10 Sep
New look to our website

Over the past few years, our branch website space has been provided for us by BT Community Web Kit, a free service from BT for charities and local organisations. This autumn BT is changing its service provider which has meant that, during the summer, we have had to recreate our entire site with the new provider. We have taken the opportunity to give the site a fresher and clearer look and hope you like it. We are always pleased to receive constructive feedback, so please let us know what you think of it – it is there for you, so if there is anything you would like to see added, please let us know.
6 Sep
Transition Pathway

Hampshire County Council has produced a Transition Pathway leaflet which is a step by step guide to help and support you prepare your child’s plans for their future.
12 Jul
ASD Learning Action Groups for teachers and other school staff

The Learning Action Group (LAG) model has been developed as a cost-effective way for schools to develop their provision and inclusive practice for pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). We work with both local authority and independent sectors.

LAGs are set up for groups of either mainstream primary, mainstream secondary or SEN schools. This is due to the requirements of each of these settings being specific to the abilities/ needs and age groups of its pupils. LAGs are run locally and historically participating schools take turns to host the workshops.

The LAGs address relevant topics and issues relating to ASD and offer practical support through advice, bespoke training and interaction with other professionals within the group experiencing similar challenges.

For full details,
click here.
12 Jun
Autism Education Trust launches new website for young people with autism

A new website for teenagers with autism called The Den has been launched by the Autism Education Trust (AET), England’s only umbrella organisation for autism education.

The Den is a hub of information, advice, personal stories, films and games designed specifically for teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum and their siblings and friends.

The new website is the first of its kind, designed to give teenagers with autism information about the subjects which may interest or worry them in a way they can easily digest, as well as share their opinions and experiences. It uses short films to present a lot of the information, as many people with autism find visual information easier to process. The films also have the option of sub-titles. Visitors to The Den can meet the team of experts and email questions directly, offering them the chance to ask for advice on sensitive topics. The ‘Get the facts’ section includes essential information and expert advice on a range of general life topics from health and relationships to work and money, and includes links to further advice.
Support from Eastleigh Carnival

We are delighted to report that our Branch has been selected as the main beneficiary charity of Eastleigh Carnival this year.

Carnival week takes place in August and various events will be advertised in the local press.

We hope you will be able to join in the fun and support the events.

In addition to us being the main charity, many other local groups will benefit from the proceeds of the week.

9 Jun
Makeover for NAS website

With over 280,000 visits a month, the NAS website is one of the most important online sources of information about autism on the planet. Using the internet to support and connect the autism community is a major priority for the NAS. That’s why they have invested in new technology and a better website.

The internet is now about so much more than one-way communication, so their strategy promotes interaction between visitors and supporters and between NAS staff and everyone interested in autism. You’ll see more and more initiatives to support this interaction, from simple content rating tools to a new online community.

Why not visit the site now, at 
www.autism.org.uk and register to become part of this new online community.

8 May
Free PECS (Picture Symbols) on the iPhone

Free PECS (Picture Symbols) on the iPhone for asd/AS users

There is a really useful application on the iPhone to make Picture Communication Symbols more portable for non-verbal children or adults with autism. It may be free to certain phone users - follow the link: 


This could be a fantastic application to have for parents, carers, and people with autism, and also staff working with people on the spectrum.

8 May
Delivering the Adult Autism Strategy

The first year delivery plan for the adult autism strategy was published at the start of April. It sets out what will happen in 2010/11 to begin putting the recommendations in the strategy into practice. Much of the first year plan focuses on actions to be taken at national level, but that doesn’t mean that local authorities don’t need to start looking now at how they are going to deliver the strategy, and many are already moving forward.

One of the priorities must be to get structures in place to enable local authorities to deliver the strategy. Every area should appoint a local lead with responsibility for autism and we are pleased to report that Hampshire County Council has already done this.

The strategy also says that local areas must include adults with autism and their parents/carers in planning and delivering services, and recommends setting up Autism Partnership Boards ‘that bring together different organisations, services and stakeholders locally and set a clear direction for improved services’.

The Hampshire Autism Partnership Board has been formed and the National Autistic Society are represented on this both at regional and branch level.
Rachel Carter is our representative on the board and will be pleased to receive comments and feedback from you to ensure your voice is being heard.

6 May
Launch of the Managing Money project

With funding from the Financial Services Authority, as part of their national strategy for financial capability, the NAS has developed a new educational programme.

The online resource is aimed at empowering young people and adults with autism to learn how to manage their money. It consists of 25 learning modules including bank accounts, investing money, paying bills, personal security and fraud.

The website will also include interactive quizzes, downloadable budgeting tools, video tutorials and a virtual ATM. It has been developed in consultation with people with autism and their parents and can be used for both independent learning and in a group or class setting. For those who are not comfortable with e-learning, a free printed workbook will be available from the end May.

For more information visit 

12 Apr
Adult Autism Strategy for England has been published 

This sets out a long list of actions to radically improve health, social care and other public services for people with autism and includes chapters on awareness-raising and training, diagnosis, improving access to services, improving access to employment and supporting local partners to work together to develop services. Crucially, the strategy also emphasises that local authorities and health services should be involving adults with autism and their parents/carers in developing and delivering services. A link to the full strategy, is available on the NAS website at www.autism.org.uk/dhstrategy.

Change will not happen overnight, but the strategy is a huge step forward, and the NAS couldn't have done it without you. The Autism Act 2009, which placed a duty on the Government to produce the strategy would not have been passed without your support, and the strategy includes many of the measures that the NAS have been calling for in the I Exist and Don't Write Me Off campaigns.

11 Apr
BIC® Kids School Club

The National Autistic Society has teamed up with BiC® Kids UK to offer support to teachers working with children and young people with autism. As part of the partnership they have worked with BiC Kids to make free downloadable autism resources available to teachers and parents from their website. A monthly prize draw will give nursery and primary schoolteachers the chance to win £150 worth of BIC Kids colouring products when they sign up and download the free teaching resource. For more information visit www.bickidsschoolclub.com.

5 Apr
Awards for All grant

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a grant by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All scheme. This is to extend our outreach to individuals and families affected by autism. We are planning to run some events later in the year as a result of this and more information will be available soon. The grant will also fund a laptop and multimedia projector for the branch which will be a great help when delivering talks and seminars.

25 Jan
Autism friendly screenings in Eastleigh

The Vue Cinema in Eastleigh is planning to launch Additional Needs Screenings from February.

These screenings are targeted at children and young people who have additional needs. Siblings and adults of the person with additional needs are more than welcome. The idea is to have it as a normal family trip to the cinema. Everyone pays the same – 95p.

As film volumes tend to be quite high they turn down the volume and have the house lights up slightly in case guests wish to move about during the performance.

To ensure this is only available to those with additional needs, the screenings will not be announced on the cinema website but will appear on the Diary dates pages of our website – so please keep checking as we will publicise these as soon as we get the information. We will also circulate the information to all those on our email circulation list.

Tickets will be available to be purchased either directly from the cinema itself or via their telephone booking line. They will not be listed on the internet, to prevent tickets being miss-sold.

Vue cinemas will be listing it as A for Film.

The screenings will follow a similar pattern as the Vue Cinema in Camberley who, in conjunction with the NAS Surrey Branch, have been running fortnightly A for Film screenings on a Sunday morning at 9.30am.

18 Dec
Animations about Asperger syndrome

Charlotte has aspergers and has made some fantastic animations about her experiences and what it is like to be on the autistic spectrum.

To view the animations made by Charlotte, visit the ITV Fixers website.

4 Dec
NAS free Christmas guide

The NAS have produced a free Christmas guide to the festive season for parents and carers of children with autism. This includes advice about involving your child in Christmas activities, remembering the needs of siblings and making presents autism friendly.

The guide is available to download from the NAS website at

29 Nov
Supporting Children in Education

Many parents raise concerns about how well their child is going to cope with moving from primary to secondary school. This can be a difficult time for young people, especially when they have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Up until now there has been little research carried out on this subject. Consequently, there are few formal support structures in place. Many schools have to work on a 'trial and error' basis if they decide to put transition packages into place.

The research team at Great Ormond Street Hospital have received a grant from their Children’s Charity, to enable them to research the difficulties and stresses that occur when a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder moves to secondary school. Through examining these difficulties and learning more about current school practices they wish to create a new system of evaluation and intervention that primary and secondary schools can use to help them to put in appropriate support for the transition.

They need to learn more about the ways in which schools and parents are currently planning for transition to secondary school. There are various ways in which you can participate in the research – click here for more information.

6 Nov
Meeting with John Denham MP  

The Branch Officer, along with the organiser of our Asperger Support & Social Groups in Southampton, recently met with Southampton MP and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham.

The reason for our meeting was to bring to his attention the lack of funding being approved by Southampton Primary Care Trust to adults who have been referred by local GPs to the Autism Diagnostic Research Centre in the city. We highlighted the fact that both Hampshire and Portsmouth PCTs were approving funding but Southampton seemed to have a different approach.

He has agreed that this is not acceptable and has promised to investigate for us.

We now await the outcome.

5 Nov
New youth club being formed  

We are delighted to announce that a 'teenage' youth club, similar to our established club in Fair Oak, is being set up at Hamble College for young people from Year 7 onwards (12+) with mild to moderate mental or physical disabilities, health or anxiety issues; such as learning needs, low self esteem, Autism, Aspergers etc.

Starting Thursday 19 November 2009 from 7.00 to 9.30pm.

Please click here for information.

23 Oct
Meeting of Hampshire Autism Support Groups

We recently represented our branch at a meeting of organisers of autism support groups from across the county.

It was good to meet up with the other NAS branches and independent groups.

We hope this will become a regular event where we can exchange views and, as a group, be a strong voice for those affected by autism in the county.

The meeting was a joint initiative between the National Autistic Society and Hampshire Autistic Society.

22 Oct
Autism Bill success 

Today we have made legal history!

The Autism Bill has made it through its last parliamentary stage, and will now become the Autism Act 2009: the first ever disability-specific law for England.

The Act will guarantee a future Adult Autism Strategy that will introduce a range of duties to improve local services.

For more information visit the NAS website at www.autism.org.uk/autismact2009.

Many thanks to everyone from the South Hampshire Branch who campaigned throughout the year, with NAS members throughout the UK, to make this happen.

The NAS will of course continue to campaign until the strategy makes a real difference to people affected by autism.
13 Oct
Launch of new NAS campaign on employment and benefits
Today in the Houses of Parliament, the NAS launched their new national campaign, which aims to ensure that people with autism are supported financially if they cannot work, and are able to access the right support if seeking employment.

Our branch were represented at the launch.

Please email your MP now and ask them to support the campaign to help us change things for adults with autism. The more people who write to their MPs, which can be done easily on the website below, the more likely we are to succeed in changing things for the better, so please take a few minutes and contact them now.

Please visit 
www.dontwritemeoff.org.uk/ to find out more.

31 Aug
Support for students with autism  

The NAS offer support to students with autism (including Asperger syndrome) who are in further and higher education, as well as training for tutors and other staff.

If you're receiving Disabled Students' Allowance, all the support can be funded through this.

For more information, visit

11 Jul
New information on our website 

Following on from the talk we gave at the Open Doors event on 10 July, we have produced some new information leaflets which cover a number of areas we talked about, in more detail.

These can be accessed from the
Support page of our site, or in hard copy format from us. They cover: 
  • Transition
  • Guidelines for teaching and caring
  • Girls and Asperger syndrome
  • Suggested things to find out about during school/college visits
We have also included two Word templates that can be customised.
  • Customisable Word template for a child's personal guide to autism/Asperger syndrome
  • Customisable Word template for college visit notes
The National Autistic Society also produce numerous excellent information sheets on their website.

1 May
Family Days Out

The National Autistic Society offers advice on choosing activities and planning ahead in its fact sheet ‘Families: ideas for days out’.

See it online by visiting the NAS website or call the NAS helpline on 0845 070 4004 to request a hard copy.

1 Nov
The Transporters DVD

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre ARC) at Cambridge University and David Lammy, Culture Minister, launched a novel animation DVD to help young children with autism earlier in the year. It has now been re-released.

The Transporters DVD aims to help children with autism to look at the human face and to learn about emotions. The DVD is aimed at children from two to eight years.

Click here for full details. We have some copies available at out Parent Support Group meetings and Family Youth Club.

23 Oct
We are now the South Hampshire Branch

Our membership has increased considerably to well over 100 families and, as it now covers a much wider area than just Eastleigh and Winchester, we have decided to change our name to reflect this.

At a special re-launch event on Thursday 23 October 2008, over 100 parents/carers, individuals with autism, councillors, health and social care professionals met to help raise the profile of the needs of people with autism. Speakers at the event were:

  • Dr Sarah Nicholson, Child Psychiatrist, Southampton Autism Assessment Service
  • Dr Tony Brown, Autism Diagnostic Research Centre, Southampton
  • Robert Pritchett, The National Autistic Society's Regional Director, London & South East Region
  • Councillor Roy Perry, Deputy Leader, Hampshire County Council
  • Mark Houston, an adult with Asperger syndrome who gave a particularly inspiring talk.
We were also delighted to be able to announce that the Asperger Support & Social Group based in Sholing, Southampton, are joining forces with us to become part of the South Hampshire Branch. This now gives us the opportunity to extend our support to children, young people and adults with autism.

1 Sep
Make School Make Sense

The National Autistic Society's make school make sense education campaign was launched in 2006 and aims to improve educational provision for children with autism, so that every child can get the education they deserve.


The South Hampshire Branch is a self-funded branch of the National Autistic Society and run entirely by volunteers.

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