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Attwood on Asperger’s & Autism (two days)

Event supported by Witherslack Group Chaired by Professor Charles Newton

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Day 1: Identifying and Understanding Autism Spectrum Conditions
Day 2: Cognitive Abilities, Special Interests & Autistic Distress Behaviour that Challenges

Date: Thu, 3rd May 2018
Time: 8.45am for 09.30am – 4.30pm

The Kings Centre
Osney Mead

Booking Rates: Professionals: 2 Days: £348 (£290 plus VAT) 1 Day: £228 (£190 plus VAT). ASC & Family members: 2 Days: £288 (£240 plus VAT) 1 Day: £187.20 (£156 plus VAT). Concessionary Rate: 2 Days: £228 (£190 plus VAT) 1 Day: £150 (£125 plus VAT) Group Discount: 10% off for groups of 5 or more professionals

Witherslack Group is once again supporting the event and also offering parents and carers the opportunity to apply for a free ticket for one of the days.  To be in with a chance of being allocated one of a limited number of tickets please email events @ with your full name and address.  The closing date for applications for the Witherslack offer is Friday 6th April.

also featuring

Autism Oxford UK’s Highly Acclaimed Autistic Training Team

NAS Professional Award Finalist in 2014 & 2015; Winner 2016

Day 1: Identifying and Understanding Autism Spectrum Conditions

Day 2: Cognitive Abilities, Special Interests & Autistic Distress Behaviour that Challenges

Further Information

‘Live’ Diagnostic Interview with a Female

This interview will look beneath the surface of how girls and women accommodate and camouflage the characteristics of ASD-Level 1 (Asperger’s syndrome).  Using his skill and experience of many years, Professor Attwood will demonstrate, with his female interviewee, how to draw out common examples of the life experiences of girls and women with Asperger’s syndrome.  The interview will be followed by a Q & A discussion with the audience.

Recent estimates of the ratio of males to females on the autism spectrum suggest it may be 1:1.  Historically, females with autism and high IQ were rarely clinically identified, and despite recent advances in recognising how autistic females may present, they are still far less likely to be diagnosed autistic than males. 

One possible explanation is that our current ascertainment methods for autism are biased toward males, making females harder to diagnose.  Autistic boys often have co-occurring symptoms and conditions that prompt attention (including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and disruptive behaviour).  Autistic girls, on the other hand, often have more subtle related symptoms (such as social withdrawal, depression and anxiety), so their underlying social communication problems are often overlooked.  Also, the special interests of females are more likely to be similar to those of their neuro-typical peers (celebrities, horses, shoes, handbags etc), making them less remarkable – until it is discovered that the range and depth of knowledge of those interests is far from typical.  In addition to this, there is increasing evidence that many autistic people, especially adults, habitually ‘camouflage’ their autistic behaviours in an attempt to ‘fit in’ with their peers.  Autistic females who are intellectually able tend to show a greater capacity to ‘mask’ their difficulties, and to develop compensatory ‘covering up’ behaviours. 

Following the diagnostic interview and discussion, Professor Attwood will present on differentiating autism / Asperger’s from other diagnoses, and also the Latest Research on autism spectrum conditions and its practical applications. 

‘Reflections on a late Diagnosis’ by Susan Ward Davis

Susan was diagnosed autistic aged 62, having received various other diagnoses over the years which did not explain her life experiences.  Many question the point of diagnosing adults so late in life, especially as specialist support services remain few and far between.  In her moving presentation about the effect of finally receiving a diagnosis that makes sense to her, Susan dispels any doubts about the value of ‘knowing’, of finally having an explanation for so many life experiences.

‘Camouflaging our Autism’ by Richard Maguire

Why do children, young people and adults ‘camouflage’ and cover up their autistic behaviours?  What is the function of the camouflaging?  Why is it used (covering up their needs) even during assessments when the individual is seeking help and support? How can we tell when camouflage is being used, and how can we work with the individual to understand their needs and provide appropriate support?  Richard will discuss these issues with his usual blend of many years’ professional and personal experience, warmth and humour.

Further information tbc

Guest Speaker

Professor Tony Attwood

World Renowned Author of
‘The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome’

Tony is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in autism spectrum conditions since he qualified as a clinical psychologist in England in 1975.  He currently works in his own private practice, and is also adjunct professor at Griffith University, Queensland and senior consultant at the Minds and Hearts clinic in Brisbane.  His book Asperger’s Syndrome – A Guide for Parents and Professionals has sold over 350,000 copies and has been translated into over 25 languages.  His subsequent book, The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, was published in October 2006 and is one of the primary textbooks on Asperger’s syndrome.  He has several subsequent books published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Future Horizons Inc. and Guildford Press.

Tony has been invited to be a keynote speaker at many Australasian and International Conferences.  This will be his 5th appearance for Autism Oxford UK.  Tony presents workshops and runs training courses for parents, professionals and individuals with Asperger’s syndrome all over the world and is a prolific author of scientific papers and books on the subject.

Tony has worked with many thousands of individuals of all ages with Asperger’s syndrome or an Autism Spectrum Condition.

Event Chairman

Professor Charles Newton

Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kilifi, Kenya
Cheryl and Reece Scott Professor of Psychiatry,
University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Charles Newton qualified from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, with postgraduate training in Paediatrics in Manchester and London, United Kingdom. As a lecturer at University of Oxford, he went to Kilifi Kenya in 1989, to help set up a unit to study severe malaria in African children. Thereafter he spent 2 years as a Post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins, USA; studying mechanisms of brain damage in central nervous system infections. He completed his training in Paediatric Neurology at Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK. In 1998 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellowship at University College London, to return to Kilifi, to study CNS infections in children. He conducts research on CNS infections in children; epidemiological studies of epilepsy and neurological impairment; tetanus, jaundice and sepsis in neonates. He is particularly interested in behavioural comorbidity of neurological conditions in children.  In 2011 he took up a professorship in Psychiatry at the University of Oxford to conduct studies of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Epilepsy in Africa and Autism in the United Kingdom and Lithuania.

Autism Oxford Speakers

Richard Maguire

Richard has worked with Autism Oxford UK since 2010, and says the effect of autism on his life is not ‘mild’, and what one can see on the outside is the result of a lot of strategies covering up what is happening on the inside. Richard is a senior member of our team.  A talented and gifted trainer, speaker, consultant and 1:1mentor, Richard worked for 29 years in the field of Health and Social Care, with people with learning disabilities and people on the autism spectrum.  He built up a reputation for being able to ‘tune in’ to the communication profiles and needs of those he worked with, and colleagues turned to him for advice.  Richard has been a highly valued member of Oxfordshire’s Transforming Care Partnership Board since 2017.

‘I dream in Autism’, Richard’s first book, was published to high acclaim in 2014, and was shortlisted for the People’s Book Award.  His perceptive and incredibly useful insights and tips were recognised by Professor Tony Attwood, resulting in 16 of Richard’s articles being included the book: “Been There. Done That. Try This!: An Aspie’s Guide to Life on Earth”, edited by Professor Tony Attwood in 2014.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2010, and having a wife and teenaged son with Asperger’s, Richard is passionate about trying to ensure that others on the autism spectrum are enabled to live fulfilling and rewarding lives.  Richard is a very popular trainer and conference speaker, always receiving enthusiastic, appreciative feedback. 

Susan Ward Davis

Before she retired, Susan worked as a Special Needs Advisory Teacher, having had diverse careers and jobs throughout her life, including Ballroom Dance Teacher, second hand book seller and Truck Driver in the United States.  Susan was diagnosed as Autistic very late in life at the age of 62. Since then, her granddaughter too has been diagnosed at the age of fifteen. Susan has a particular interest in the presentation of Autism in females and especially why so many go undiagnosed.  Many women, herself included, spend a lifetime hiding their true feelings and masking behaviours while at the same time searching for answers to their social and other difficulties. Why did she feel such stress, panic and anxiety for much of her life and suffer from so many periods of depression? Why wasn’t the medication and treatment doctors prescribed more effective? What were the reasons for her string of failed relationships and varied and inconsistent work life?

Susan herself has coped reasonably well with her life, but it was at huge cost to her emotional well being and her relationships. For her, it was a great relief to finally have an explanation for how she has felt inside since childhood and the difficulties she has faced. For this reason she has become an ardent advocate for encouraging anybody, but especially women, to seek a diagnostic assessment for Autism, at whatever age it might be suspected. She began working for Autism Oxford after her diagnosis and she says that the knowledge and training the organisation provide have been invaluable. She continues to “spread the word” via Autism Oxford, and is always more than happy to talk with any woman who may recognise something of herself and her experiences in those that Susan describes in her presentations.

Chris Memmott

Chris is a younger adult on the autism spectrum who is severely affected by sensory sensitivities.  Our newest team member, Chris has a university degree in Psychology and Counselling, and played national Rugby Union for some years as Prop Forward.  He worked one:one with at risk autistic children at a National Autistic Society school for two years, helping to re-integrate the children back into society.  As well as working as a member of our Autistic Training & Consultancy Team, Chris also works with families needing respite care and specialist expertise.  His expertise in interpreting autistic communication and behaviour, and in settling anxious individuals is very well regarded. His natural talent for imparting his knowledge and expertise to others makes him a very accomplished speaker and trainer

Catherine Green

Catherine is a highly accomplished Autism Oxford UK speaker with a talent for moving and powerful presentations. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 14, she has worked on a variety of different early intervention programmes for children with autism.  She co-founded a support group for young adults with Asperger’s in 2001. The group meets twice a month, and she is an active member.  She has worked with university students on the spectrum with the National Autistic Society, and now provides study skills support for university students with Dyslexia and Asperger’s.

Catherine graduated in Psychology, and studied Computer Usability, Communication Sciences and Dyslexia at Postgraduate Level. Throughout her studies, Catherine was particularly interested to learn about research in Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Given her educational, personal and professional background in Autism Spectrum Conditions, Catherine is passionate about integrating theory and practice.  She is highly motivated to raise awareness of life on the autism spectrum, especially the apparently more subtle, but equally profound, effects of Asperger’s syndrome on females.
Always a popular speaker at our events, Catherine has a talent for moving and powerful presentations. 

Tilus Clark

Tilus is an enthusiastic young speaker, originally from South Wales. Being passionate, energetic and intelligent, he found conforming to school routine difficult. In secondary school he was labelled as ‘difficult’ and his potential was not recognised. There was nowhere for him to get to grips with his desire to learn and pursue his passions in creative subjects, and he was given poor support and no choice in what to study. Bullying was a constant in his life until recent years, and disrupted his further education. He still struggles with very high levels of anxiety.  Tilus’ friends and shared interests are important in helping him through life, giving him enough strength to keep going.  He is working with Autism Oxford to connect with his inner talents and desire to help others. An engaging and knowledgeable speaker, he has a passion to communicate ‘the life of autism’

James Hoodless

James is the youngest member of our team and has a passionate interest in Transformers.  He is enthusiastic and has lots of potential for success in life.  Like most autistic people, he is sincere, honest and hard working.  He is extremely highly self-motivated to be employed, to feel useful and earn money.  Having gained confidence working with Autism Oxford’s team, James was able to overcome the obstacles (application forms, interview etc) to get his dream job – in a toy shop.  Often expecting impossibly high standards of himself, James is very kind and tolerant of others.  He is a talented, insightful speaker with much to tell us. 

Further Details to Follow .....

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