Another Autism Awareness Week is upon us. Over the last month or so, I have asked 100 people (an exaggeration…) what it is that we should be aware of, what is the message? It’s not an exaggeration to note that the answers have been varied and inconsistent. I’ll look forward to the debate, the discussion, the conversations but maybe this will be the year that we will move things forward?

It will be a busy week and I will be speaking at the following events. If any of you are attending the following events, come and say hello, teach me stuff, tell me what you think;

Saturday 25th
Let’s Get it Right for Autism Event, Livingston
For more information look here:

Monday 27th
The Richmond Fellowship, Glasgow – Launch of their Autism Strategy document
For more information look here:

Tuesday 28th
St Mary’s Primary School, Polbeth, Bathgate – Parents Event
For more information look here: St Mary’s ASD Parent Group

(p.m.) Hamilton Accies Community Trust event
For more information and to register click here: Eventbrite

Wednesday 29th 
Autism Network Event, Dumfries and Galloway

Thursday 30th 
Glasgow City Council – Event organised by the Inclusion Team

So much good stuff going on, so many good people doing it. And where there isn’t?

Well, there really is no excuse…

‘I never want you to have to ask the awkward whys 

I always want you to have somebody by your side’. 

Robyn Steward, from her song ‘Panic Attacks’.

Robyn is, in her words, a person on the Autism Spectrum. She is also an Autism Trainer, Conference Speaker, Author, Musician and wearer of the coolest hat. I have shared a conference platform with her on three occasions this year and been blown away by her insight and wisdom. She is the author of a wonderful book called ‘The Independent Woman’s Handbook to Super Safe Living on the Autistic Spectrum’. It is a valuable and important book and I have found myself recommending parts of it to people with Autism, both female and male, to schools and to parents. It deserves to be read widely and I only worry that the title may limit its reach? It shouldn’t.

Robyn Steward writes about Women and Autism


I knew that Robyn was a talented musician and think back with joy of the day in Manchester when she took me on a search for a plastic trumpet! I didn’t know that she wrote and performed her own songs, however.


Robyn Steward playing her guitar at an Autism Conference.


Robyn performed her song, ‘Panic Attack’, at a recent conference.

‘What’s this thing that’s happening to you? 

The same thing happened to me’. 

Robyn’s story is thought-provoking and there is much we can learn from her. She probably won’t thank me for saying this but she is a teacher. The audience leave her presentations having learned something, something that can change or improve thinking.

She will be speaking at the Medica conference in Glasgow. This will be the fourth time I will have heard her in 2016. And I am looking forward to it.


And she promises to bring me a cd recording of the song.

‘I never want you to have panic attacks in the middle of the night’ 

Thanks Robyn

You’ll find Robyn’s website here.

“You have to provide an irresistible invitation to share attention and communication…!”.

 And then she held the Conference spellbound for an hour.


Gina Davies. Where? At the Medica Conference of a few years ago in Glasgow. Conference delegates (and the Chair) were then left enthralled by a powerful and practical presentation from Gina, at yet another excellent Conference. With the help of a singing monkey (don’t ask…), Gina’s presentation was a highlight in what turned out to be a wonderful conference. She described how shared attention was taught in her Centre; how those ‘irresistible invitations’ were made and how communication was made ‘worth the effort’ for young people with Autism. It had a big impact on me then and I have since quoted her on numerous occasions. See

And now Gina is returning in November at the Medica cpd November conference on Autism and also presenting a half day workshop! Read about that here.

This is not to be missed. These are the Conferences that make a difference.

Jim Taylor is presented with his award

NAS Lifetime Achievement Press Release

It has taken me some weeks to come to terms with receiving this honour. To be nominated alongside colleagues with the capabilities and standing of Dr Jacqui Ashton Smith and Dr Luke Beardon, both of whom have inspired and motivated me for many a year, was a great honour in itself. But to be given the Award on the night both surprised and delighted me. I am so grateful to colleagues who nominated me,  the judges who made the final decision and to the National Austistic Society for this fantastic accolade. The evening in the Royal Hall in Harrogate was one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in all my time working in the field of Autism.

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The Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio, is a huge, sprawling shop in an old house with many rooms and many treasures to be found. Too engrossed in the shelves to know what was happening around me, I’d taken one step back and stood on an old woman. She just smiled and said, You die when you have read all the books! We both agreed to keep reading the books.

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