September newsletter - Robyn Steward is visiting Guernsey in November

The National Autistic Society Guernsey Branch

September newsletter

For many of us the summer holidays are now drawing to an end and a new academic year is about to begin. Whether you are the parent of a child, a professional working with students with autism, an individual with autism embarking on a new school year or course at college or university this can be a difficult time of transition with new routines to learn, new relationships to make and new expectations to understand. With this is mind we've dug out a few links to resources that may be helpful:

Tips for Communicating with your Child's School (Ambitious about Autism)

Resources for Teachers (NAS)

Teaching staff can also sign up to 'My World' and get fortnightly emails full of autism tips and resources

A Guide to Starting University (NAS)

Moving Up: One Student's Story about Moving up from School to University (Ambitious about Autism)


Branch News

Gina Davies
We have received some fantastic feedback since Gina Davies' visit in late July. Here are just a couple of comments made by people who attended her 2 day training course for early years professionals:
"Gina is an enthusiastic and dedicated therapist, and delivered the training with experience. Everyone in the room was fully engaged for the two days."
"Gina was engaging, fun, realistic and thought provoking, it made me want to start using what I had learned immediately."
"You don't get bored in Gina's training. It was captivating!"

Gina's Facebook page is updated regularly with all sorts of interesting and helpful tips and suggestions. At the moment she is posting some great ideas to help children who are beginning school, such as teaching them how to line up and using a message card in lunchboxes to help dinner staff understand a child's eating difficulties. To find her page you can use this link

We are still working on how to continue to best use Gina's resources and expertise locally, so keep your eyes on future newsletters for information.

Framework for Autism - Richard Mills
We have had a good response to Richard Mills' visit on 7th September. Several parents and individuals with autism are going to meet with him and share their experiences of local services and support agencies. This will help Richard to better understand the local situation and exisiting provision on island which will feed into his consultation work on the Framework for Autism.

Summer Programme

We are delighted that 24 families with a total of 41 children took part in our Branch activities this summer. We've had several themed art and craft sessions, a face and body painting workshop, cookery, kayaking, archery, a visit to Candie museum and a Castle Cornet tour as well as our usual fortnightly Sensory Sundays. All of these events were run and supported by volunteers with parents and carers getting involved alongside their children. Unfortunately poor weather meant a few cancellations of beach activities and raft building, but most things went ahead as planned.

We have received very positive feedback about the opportunities that the programme offered for families to spend time together trying new activities and developing skills in a relaxed social environment.

We are going to try and schedule more family activities throughout the autumn and winter, making use of indoor facilities. If you have any ideas for things that we could try then please get in touch, or if you would like to volunteer to coordinate an activity let us know!

NAS News

Is playing Minecraft beneficial for children with autism?
BBC's Newsround featured a story on how the popular computer game Minecraft can be beneficial to children with autism. Minecraft is an online game that allows people to create alternative worlds and constructions using building blocks. Minecraft is very popular, with over 54 million copies sold in 2014, but many people on the autism spectrum particularly love to play the game.  You can watch the brief report here  and see what Dr Brown from the NAS said here

Upcoming Conferences

Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour - 10th November, Exeter.
Presenting the latest research and best practice in understanding and responding to behaviour that challenges us in children and adults with autism.  Hear the latest information from experts in the field and learn from case studies illustrating best practice. With three different seminar streams to choose from, delegates can select the seminars which are most relevant to their work.  Key note speakers include Ros Blackburn

Pathological Demand Avoidance Conference - 26th November, Peterborough.
A one-day conference providing professionals and parents with clearer understanding of the diagnostic criteria, plus essential strategies for education, management and communication.  Featuring Phil Christie and Ruth Fidler (as seen on the Channel 4 documentary 'Born Naughty?') from the Elizabeth Newson Centre.

Christmas Cards

Now, apologies to all of you who don't utter the 'C' word before at least October, but apparently the chocolate selection boxes are hitting the supermarkets already! The NAS Christmas Cards are now available to purchase online. There are 11 new designs to choose from this year as well as bumper packs. You can shop online by clicking here


Branch Events Diary

Sensory Sundays at Styx (fortnightly)

Next Dates: Sunday 30th August, Sunday 13th September, Sunday 27th September

Western Community Centre, (Styx) St Peters


Please pop along and browse, try out and borrow items from our sensory toy library. We will also have our book library available. During every sessions we will have a sensory play activity on offer, which could include sand or water trays, slime, bubbles or painting. The playground at the centre will also be open as usual.

All families with children with autism and/or sensory processing needs are welcome - just turn up!

Autism Seminars for Families - Understanding Autism
October - dates to be confirmed
7.30-9.30pm on 2 weekday evenings
Venue - to be confirmed

Autism Seminars for Families are based on the highly successful help! programme that was developed by The National Autistic Society (NAS) in 2002. This was initially aimed at families of newly diagnosed school-age children with autism, and has developed over time to include seminars for parents with children with all ages and lengths of diagnosis, covering a wide variety of topics.

This seminar provides parents with an opportunity to discuss the diagnosis, learn more about autism and communication, and understand how to access support. It aims to provide parents with opportunities to share experiences, strategies and approaches to help them understand their child and support them in the future. It can be delivered in two different age groups: parents of children aged up to 11 or parents of children aged 11 to 16.

Seminar Framework:
  • The road to diagnosis
  • What is Autism?
  • Supporting communication
  • Sources of support
The sessions will be very informal and presented in an around the table discussion format. You will be given a seminar booklet to take home.

There is a £10 charge per family (1 or 2 attendees) to help cover the costs of resources.

Space is limited to 6 families. If you would like to attend these sessions please email

Robyn Steward
16th and Tuesday 17th November

We have now booked Robyn Steward to visit the island on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th November.

Robyn is a young woman with autism. She has built up an international career, friendships and a life. Her disabilities have influenced her lifestyle. Robyn has a condition called prosapagnosia which means she does not recognise faces, but recognises people by their shoes! Because of Robyn’s physical disabilities, she needs to wear boots, and her visual impairment makes bright colors easier to see, hence bright shiny blue boots. Also, since she dosn’t recognise her own face in photos and can’t always see her shoes, she wears her purple sparkly hat. Robyn’s difficulty with co-ordination makes a paint brush hard to use so instead, she paints with her fingers. Robyn tries to change every negative into a postive and encourages others to do the same.

At the NAS professional awards 2015 Robyn was awarded the award for ”Outstanding achievement by a individual on the autism spectrum”  along with Dr Julia Malkin MBE.

Robyn will be holding a number of seminars and workshops during her visit. The itinerary is as follows, and all sessions are now open for bookings:

Monday 16th November

9.30am-12.30pm Introduction to the Autism Spectrum (aimed at parents/families)

This session introduces the Autism Spectrum; what it means to be Autistic, how it can affect people in different ways, and how you can support your children with lots of examples of strategies that may be used. Click here to book via Eventbrite

4.00pm-5.00pm My life with Aspergers (aimed at young people on the autism spectrum/siblings)
This is a talk aimed at sharing my experiences with others on the spectrum. I don’t have all the answers to every individual problem, but what I hope I can do, is give people some positive energy and hope that they can be happy. Click here to book via Eventbrite

7.30pm - 9.30pm My Life with Aspergers

This presentation is aimed at anyone who wishes to find out a bit about autism or develop their understanding. This is a humorous, engaging  look at my life on the Autistic Spectrum and work with others on the Spectrum. Click here to book via Eventbrite

Tuesday 17th November

9.30am - 11.30am Using Art to Explore Sensory Perception. (aimed at parents/carers and professionals)

This is a fun session, using practical art activities to explore HYPER- and HYPO-sensitivity. We then use these experiences to look at daily life activities and how they can be adapted for people who have different sensory perceptions. Hyper- and hypo-sensitivity will be added to the diagnostic criteria for Autistic Spectrum disorders in the DSM Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders from 2013. Click here to book via Eventbrite

3.45pm-5.15pm School or College From a Person, Not Just a Textbook.
This twilight session is aimed at all teaching staff. Tea and coffee will be served from 3.30pm.
Click here to book via Eventbrite

All sessions will be held at La Villette Hotel.

Tickets are free of charge, however there will be a donation bucket if you should wish to make a small contribution towards costs.

For more information about any of these sessions please email

We would like to wish Stuart and Sarah Holland the best of luck tomorrow as they are taking part in the Guernsey Marathon to raise money for the National Autistic Society UK.
They will be running in 2 relay teams with a total of 10 people. They have already raised over £2,500 - if anyone would like to donate they have an online fundraising page here

You can opt to support the NAS or our local branch in any fundraising event. However, the NAS also organise many active challenges around the UK and further afield every year. From running and cycling events to trekking and climning Everest, if you should ever fancy getting involved you can find out more on the website.

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For more details of all Branch activities and events please visit our local website:

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