Autism: Life in Colour Exhibition Opens

Autism Initiatives and the Gallery on the Corner are organising an exhibition of the finest photographs submitted as part of the Autism: Life in Colour project. The exhibition will open at the Gallery on the Corner in Edinburgh on Tuesday the 6th of August and will be available to view until Saturday the 31st of August before touring galleries across the country.

Autism: Life in Colour aimed to capture the views of people with autism about their lives by inviting them to submit two photographs or video clips, both taken on April 2nd 2013, World Autism Awareness Day.

The purpose of the project is to provide a visual representation of the Scottish Government’s Autism Mapping Project which aims to gain an understanding of what life is like for people with autism throughout Scotland. Autism: Life in Colour will add to this understanding directly through the eyes of the person with autism.

This project is unique in including people of all ages with autism across Scotland.

The exhibition will be hosted by the Gallery on the Corner from 6th to 31st August before touring galleries across the country.

The Gallery on the Corner is located on 34 Northumberland Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6LS.

The Keys to Life - New Learning Disability Strategy in Scotland

The Scottish Government has now published the new learning disability strategy in Scotland, following on from, and building on the principles and successes of The same as you?, the original review of service for people with a learning disability, published in 2000.

The same as you?, published in 2000, was the original 10 year programme designed to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities. It was highly successful in shifting the balance of care to support more people to live in the community. It also led to the closure of over 1000 long-stay beds, improved day opportunities, created employment and meaningful day activity and better protection from harm.

In 2010, a two-year evaluation, involving the detailed participation from people with learning disabilities and their carers, began to assess what progress had been made and what needed to be achieved. From these findings, key themes were decided and debated by a national Learning Disability Strategy group who discussed key themes and agreed broader responses which have formed The keys to life.

The emphasis on this 10-year strategy is health. There are over 50 recommendations, the majority of which are aimed at health. One is solely for local authorities and rest involve varying degrees of participation working with other agencies.

Download your copy of the new learning disability strategy, also available in the Easy Read format, from the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government launches new Open University training initiative for Autism Course

The Scottish Government is working in partnership with the Open University on a new training initiative, providing free places to selected individuals on an OU autism course.

The Scottish Strategy for Autism was launched in November 2011 to ensure people with autism and their families are supported by the widest possible range of social care, education, housing, employment and other community based services.

18 months into our 10 year strategy we are making good progress towards delivering the goals of the strategy. There is still much to do but we are beginning to make a difference to the lives of people with autism by improving support services available to people who need them.

The Scottish Government Autism Reference Group tasked with implementing the Scottish Strategy for Autism sees education for those who work with and care for people on the autism spectrum as a vital part of their initiative to improve the lives of people with autism and their families.

That is why, for the second year running, we are providing funding for up to 180professionals, carers and other individuals with a special interest in autism to study the Open University Course ‘Understanding the Autism Spectrum’. Funding will be offered FREE to students in Scotland as part of the £13.4 m autism fund to implement the strategy.

This initiative will make a real impact in delivering the strategy. Through this training we will increase the understanding of autism, and help to ensure that people on the spectrum have access to professionals within autism services which understand and are able to meet the needs of people with autism.

The course starts at the beginning of November 2013 and lasts for 20 weeks. Study materials include a textbook authored by the course team and a DVD. All other elements of the course, including assessments are delivered online. For further about the module information click here.

To apply for a place on ‘SK124 Understanding the Autism Spectrum’ within the Scottish Government funded scheme, please follow this link and complete the form.

The deadline to be considered for a funded place is 10 October 2013 and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis to those in the target groups.

Please do not use the standard Open University registration system provided via the course website if you are seeking to register within this funded scheme.

Edinburgh Autism Plan Consultation Now Underway

Towards an Edinburgh Autism Strategy

The City of Edinburgh Council already has set out plans for services for people with autism who also have a learning disability. However we have identified that there are significant gaps in provision for people with autism who do not have a learning disability.

To address this, a group of people affected by autism and professionals involved in their support have been meeting.  They have talked about what services and service improvements are needed for children and adults with autism. This is a joint development between the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian. The group has developed a draft plan and identified 5 priority areas.

The 5 priority areas are

  • Development of a care pathway - getting the right services at the right time
  • Housing - better support on housing matters and the right kind of housing
  • Employment - increased support in finding and sustaining employment
  • Individual outcomes - improvements in people’s quality of life
  • Better training / awareness of autism - increased training and awareness of autism in services and for carers.

The plan is about how we can get the right service at the right time to promote the independence and resilience of people with autism and their carers. It considers the needs of adults, young people moving into adult services, and children.  You can download and read the Towards an Edinburgh Autism Strategy.

For further information, please visit the City of Edinburgh Council website by clicking here.

BILD Conference: A successful future? Planning and managing for transition for young people with Special Educational Needs

If you work or support children and young adults who are moving from school to college or thinking about ‘what next’ after they finish in education then this conference will be of interest to you or your colleagues.

This conference will explore the challenges for the future examining what provision and good practice is available and what will be needed. It will provide an opportunity to identify what alternate routes and opportunities can be created to offer meaningful occupation and activities for young people with SEN and complex needs both now and in the future.

If you would like to book onto the conference please contact:

William Nicklin  [email protected] or phone 0121 415 6970.

Alternatively, you can book online at