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Autism, Asperger’s & Communication: Barriers & Strategies

Richard Brooks & Annie Brooks

with our
highly acclaimed Autism Oxford Autistic Speakers

Date: Sat, 8th July 2017
Time: 8.30am for 10am - 3.30pm

Didcot Civic Hall
Britwell Road
OX11 7JN

Booking Rates: Professionals: £66 (£55 plus 20% VAT). ASC & Family members: £42 (£35 plus 20% VAT). Concessionary Rate £30 (£25 plus 20% VAT)

Autism, Asperger’s & Communication

Difficulty with social language and communication is a defining core feature of autism.  Communication issues apply across the autistic spectrum – including to those with extraordinary verbal ability.  There are frequent misunderstandings between autistic and non-autistic people of all ages.  How can we achieve the most meaningful and useful communication in a variety of settings and situations with autistic children and adults?

It is important first of all to ensure that the circumstances and environment are not preventing effective communication.  We will explore common barriers and triggers for overload that need to be addressed.  We will also consider the words used in everyday verbal communication and the way in which they are used – how can we adapt the way we speak to enhance two-way understanding?

We need to identify each autistic individual’s natural method of communication and find the best way to engage with them, to make a connection.  We will consider the use of silence and reduced talk, of tuning in to passionate interests and joining in activities.  New research around autism and movement will be discussed, and its implications for communication.

To communicate successfully we have to speak the same language. Teaching autistic individuals ‘our’ language and systems of social interaction is not good enough; we have to learn ‘their’ language(s) and communication systems too. 

Richard Brooks & Annie Brooks

Richard and Annie between them have over 80 years’ experience as practitioners with autistic children, young people and adults.

Drawing on their extensive experience, Richard & Annie Brooks will share their insights and experience of effective strategies for effective communication, using the strengths and interests of the individual.  They will discuss practical strategies and ideas for making meaningful connections and finding ways to relate to autistic children, teens and adults, illustrating their points with anecdotes and practical examples from their work….

Autism Oxford Speakers

Our hugely popular Autism Oxford Speakers will include Ann Memmott, Chris Memmott and Susan Ward Davis, giving valuable insights into aspects of communication from the perspective of autistic individuals. 

What is the experience of autistic children, young people and adults of trying to communicate with non-autistic people?  What do autistic individuals wish that non-autistic people could understand about autistic communication?  We can learn so much from listening to autistic speakers about how best to communicate and about practical strategies that can completely change difficult interactions into successful ones.

Ann Memmott

National Consultant on Autism; Autism Oxford Senior Trainer & Consultant

The Importance of Language used by Families and Professionals

Autism is not a mental health condition.  Yet, a major charity recently released research showing that some 66% of autistic people have considered taking their own life.  It’s not ‘autism’ that is to blame.  Is it a lifetime of being described in negative terms? Are we ‘suffering from autism’?  Are we a ‘tragedy’?  Are many of us ‘low functioning’?  What is the impact of hearing this sort of language, over and over again?  Autistic People, or People with Autism?  Ann will outline the autistic perspective on the difference, and explain why it matters to ask, and listen.  She will also talk about the myths of ‘functioning labels’.

Twenty years of working alongside autistic people has revealed some of the possible causes of suicidal thoughts.  Ann will talk about this and look at how language around autism is a vital part of good self-esteem and positive outcomes.  She will tell some of her story and discuss the impact of language on herself.  Ann will also report on the value and necessity of engaging with autistic people as equals with expertise, when delivering training, and producing materials and resources.

Susan Ward Davis

Anxiety as a Barrier to Communication

Consider how difficult it might be to have meaningful communication with someone when anxiety and fear are so strong that they cause paralysis of the brain – all thoughts are frozen, the ability to process what people are saying has crashed …….. Now imagine having this depth of anxiety and fear about communicating with other people every single day…….  What are the causes, why does this happen?  How do autistic children, young people and adults find the strength to keep fighting their anxiety, to keep camouflaging how they really feel, to keep trying to have effective communication with others? 

Susan, in common with all of Autism Oxford’s team, experiences huge anxiety around communication.  Yet it doesn’t show on the outside, not at all, not even a hint.  Recent research has confirmed that ‘camouflage’ is used by all on the autism spectrum to disguise what’s happening inside, to ‘fit in’, but girls and women are especially skilled at it.

Chris Memmott


Sensory Issues as a Barrier to Communication

Imagine trying to have meaningful communication when lights make unpleasant noises and behave like strobe lights …….. or when all conversations in a building are audible and intrusive and electrics and electronics are making screeching noises.  Sight and sound are just 2 of the 7 senses that can be heightened.  Sensory sensitivities and differences are a now part of the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum conditions.  It is essential to good communication that these issues are understood and acted upon.

Chris will outline common sensory experiences, using illustrations from his own experience.  He will invite the audience to consider what they are asking autistic children, young people and adults to overcome in order to communicate in a variety of environments.  How can the issues be identified, and what can be done to lessen their effects?


How To Book

  1. Online: Book and pay online using a debit or credit card or PayPal account
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    Autism Oxford
    Sanderum House,
    38 Oakley Road,
    OX39 4TW
  3. By Invoice: If you are paying the professional rate and require a VAT invoice, please complete the online booking form.

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