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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team

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  1. Yesterday
  2. Autistic daughter needs help with DT project

    Admin note, normally we require members to ask permission via private message before posting research proposals to the list. In this instance the post can be kept on as it stands. Hope your daughter does well in her project.
  3. (Not written by me) System error: Japan cybersecurity minister admits he has never used a computer Yoshitaka Sakurada also seemed confused by the concept of a USB drive when asked in parliament A Japanese minister in charge of cybersecurity has provoked astonishment by admitting he has never used a computer in his professional life, and appearing confused by the concept of a USB drive. Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, is the deputy chief of the government’s cybersecurity strategy office and also the minister in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that Tokyo will host in 2020. In parliament on Wednesday however, he admitted he doesn’t use computers. “Since the age of 25, I have instructed my employees and secretaries, so I don’t use computers myself,” he said in a response to an opposition question in a lower house session, local media reported. He also appeared confused by the question when asked about whether USB drives were in use at Japanese nuclear facilities. His comments were met with incredulity by opposition lawmakers. And his comments provoked a firestorm online. “Doesn’t he feel ashamed?” wrote one Twitter user. “Today any company president uses a PC. He doesn’t even know what a USB is. Holy cow.” Another joked that perhaps Sakurada was simply engaged in his own kind of cybersecurity. “If a hacker targets this Minister Sakurada, they wouldn’t be able to steal any information. Indeed it might be the strongest kind of security!” Sakurada has been in office just over a month, after being appointed in a cabinet reshuffle following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reelection as head of his political party. His Luddite tendencies aside, Sakurada has also struggled to master his Olympic brief, less than two years before the Games open in Tokyo. Earlier this month he claimed to know nothing about plans for North Korea’s sports minister to attend a meeting in Tokyo at the end of the month, in violation of a ban on the regime’s officials entering Japan. After Sakurada told a news conference that he was “unaware” of the report, an aide intervened and he quickly corrected himself, claiming that officials had indeed briefed him. He also suggested that he did not know that Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, had asked the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in March to allow his country’s athletes to take part in the 2020 Games. “This is not something I should be meddling in in my capacity,” he said, according to the Asahi newspaper. “It’s beyond my jurisdiction.” Sakurada blamed one particularly unimpressive performance in parliament on the opposition MP Renho Murata, complaining that she had not given him her questions in advance. “Since there was no prior notice about the questions, I had no idea what would be asked at the session,” the Asahi quoted him as saying. When Renho asked him how much funding the central government would contribute to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, he responded: “1,500 yen”, which works out at just over $13, some way below the actual sum of 150 billion yen. Source: Guardian
  4. My 15 year old Aspie and ADD DD drafted this post and worked on me till I agreed to post it on her behalf. Input will be greatly appreciated. ,I am a gcse student in year 11 currently completing a DTE project, I chose to focus on bettering the emotinal wellbeing of autistic children because I am autistic and would have liked such resources when i was younger. I’m looking for someone- preferably an adult who has an autistic child (age 3-7)- who can review my prototypes and ideas so I can see what would be most useful for an actual person. This would help me itterate my ideas and hopefully make a real world solution. ,
  5. Last week
  6. There is currently a petition to "Stop the detention of people with autism & learning disability’s in ATU’s" on the UK Government and Parliament petitions website. Perhaps some of you would like to sign it, here is a link to it: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/231406
  7. We should create our own country. 悠哉國.

    Why the Pacific? That ocean doesn't touch Europe (apart for some French and British overseas territories).
  8. (Not written by me) The gamer who spent seven years in his dressing gown By Johanna Carr 9 November 2018 A gamer who left his home fewer than 10 times in seven years explains how he's now helping other young people break away from a life of isolation. "Years and years were just spent sitting at my computer," says Billy Brown. "I would only go outside for doctor's appointments or dentist's appointments. "I would never go outside to socialise or interact with other people. My entire existence was online." In what was a difficult childhood, Mr Brown was taken into care repeatedly during his mother's hospital stays for her mental and physical health problems. His attendance during his GCSEs was 13% but it was the stress of starting A-levels at college, coupled with breaking his ankle, that caused him to withdraw from the outside world completely. Mr Brown, now 24, dropped out of college and spent the following years at home - gaming, in chat rooms and reading about politics. He became almost entirely immersed in an online world of "echo chambers" where he felt the pull of extremism and cybercrime. Mr Brown, from Ashton near Helston in Cornwall, says he became increasingly "eccentric" and eventually lost touch with reality. "I can count the number of times I went out in a seven-year period on both of my hands," he says. "I wasn't taking care of myself, I was only taking care of my mother. "There were times when I was suicidal. It really took its toll on me. "I wasn't sure why I was alive, why I was here... I realised if I didn't do something I wouldn't be here in a year or two years." He finally decided to seek help and ended up taking part in the Real Ideas Organisation's (RIO) Game Changer programme, which aims to encourage young people to develop skills and overcome any issues they face before getting them into work, education or training. Now, just 14 months after stepping outside for the first time in years, Mr Brown has come up with his own way of helping people like him to improve their lives - through tabletop gaming. His board game, which he also hopes to develop into an app, aims to help young people build on their social skills and overcome any issues they face. How do you play the game? It's a role-playing board game for small groups. Players meet once a week over a period of weeks or months, improving their social skills as they play. No equipment is needed aside from a pen and paper, but additions can include dice and character descriptions. The idea is the participants play themselves, earning points by achieving certain tasks. They can improve their "characters" and get extra points in between sessions by taking on a challenge in the real world. Participants have to prove they have completed the tasks and share the details in an online group set up for each game. "It is my way of giving back, my way of trying get people to interact and socialise," Mr Brown says of the as-yet-unnamed game. "Something had to change [in my life] and I don't want people to have to get to that point before they make a change." Kirsty Atkinson, who has experienced isolation, is one of the volunteers who took part in a test session for Mr Brown's game. "I didn't have any friends because I had been through a lot of bad relationships and friendships, so because of that I just stayed inside," says the 22-year-old from Pool near Redruth in Cornwall. "I didn't do much, I didn't get out - I didn't want to." She describes Mr Brown's game as "really fun", and is "very sure" it can help people in a similar situation to hers. "I feel like we really connected as a group," she says, adding that it's a good way to meet other young people struggling with similar issues. Another player, 20-year-old Ryden Pyrosa, from Pendeen near Penzance in Cornwall, started the session concerned about not knowing how to play the game. An hour later he wanted to know when they could play again. "There was just something about it," he says, grinning. George Hardwick, a consultant with the Real Ideas Organisation who's been working with Mr Brown since he took his first steps to reintegrate with the world, says it was "wonderful to see young people of both sexes interacting... to see them smiling and laughing - that in itself is a massive victory". For Mr Hardwick, watching Mr Brown lead a group through his new game for the first time in a test session was an emotional experience. "Billy had essentially been living in his dressing gown for seven years," he says, describing his progress as incredible. Mr Hardwick, who is supporting the 24-year-old with the game launch, adds: "He has gone from being severely agoraphobic to now hosting a game that is helping young people to explore their gifts and talents and how they might be able to share those with the world in a way that can really support them. "It is a testament to him, to his determination, to his courage and, in my opinion, the appropriate support that he has got along the way." Mr Brown, who is now working in his first job as a youth support worker, has seen his horizons broaden in a way he would never have thought possible a couple of years ago. For him, the board game is about the "redemptive power of community". "People spend thousands of hours playing games just to see their character grow," he says. "But what if they can see themselves grow?" Source: BBC News Online
  9. Choosing the most suitable job

    I suppose that I would be in the Table 3, with the possibility of going down to Table 4 if I had to. What I was looking for was a computer programme or web page linked to a database with many more types of jobs. Also, to be more useful, it could take other factors in to account, such as hypersensitivities to things such as noise, light level, smell, touch etc which an autistic person might have. For example, I visited a workplace where I could potentially have had the skills to work, but I found it was a very noisy (overbearingly so) workplace. Someone could have good cooking skills, but might not cope with a hot, noisy, crowded kitchen in a restaurant etc. A job might look good on television, leading people to think about doing it, but there might be facets of the job that might be a problem for autistic people such as dealing with difficult or unreasonable customers which might require high level interpersonal skills.
  10. Earlier
  11. (Not written by me) Remember when we wrote about Iris Grace, the incredibly talented 5-year-old girl with autism who paints beautiful pictures? It turns out that she has a behind-the-scenes helper who’s also worthy of praise – that’s Thula, her therapeutic cat. Thula, who is almost 1 year old, is a Maine Coon. This breed is known as the intelligent and gentle giant of the cat world and though she’s still small and young, Thula does not disappoint. Her gentle and compassionate character is especially important for Iris, a young girl growing up with autism; “Thula has lowered [Iris’] daily anxieties in life and keeps Iris calm,” Iris’ mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, told Bored Panda, “but equally has the effect of encouraging her to be more social. She will talk more to Thula, saying little phrases like ‘sit cat.’” Carter-Johnson, had almost given up on the search for a therapeutic animal companion for her daughter. When Iris happened to connect with a Siberian cat that her family would up cat-sitting for Christmas, however, she realized that she “just hadn’t found the right animal yet.” Read more and view lots of adorable pictures here. Although the web source is American, Iris Grace is actually British - from Leicestershire. Read more about her artwork here.
  12. We should create our own country. 悠哉國.

    Long time no see, Compatriots! Good news! WAO's subreddit finally opened! Special Thanks to Compatriot TrueReplay7 from Scotland for his support!!
  13. (Not written by me) Mother says her son with autism was ‘mocked’ by rail staff after asking about an earlier service Sarah Hilary said her son was becoming stressed at Paddington station in London and had hoped they might be allowed on an earlier service Josh Barrie Wednesday October 24th 2018 A mother claimed she and her son, who has autism, were “mocked” by Great Western Railway staff at Paddington train station after she asked whether they might be allowed on an earlier service. Sarah Hilary, a crime novelist, said she had booked to travel on the 6.20pm train from London home to Bath but her son, 17, a vulnerable passenger, was struggling. “They were accusatory and it felt like they were mocking me and my son” Ms Hilary said he can become overwhelmed on a sensory level in places such as hectic train stations. Given he carries a disabled person’s railcard, she hoped GWR would allow them both to start their journey early and avoid any upset. She said to i: “They [staff] acted like gatekeepers, they were intimidating and belligerent, and it seemed like they were trying to save GWR profits rather than support customers, which is their job. Nervous and upset “They were accusatory and it felt like they were mocking me and my son. It was bullying. They were acting like they thought we were ‘pulling a fast one’ and I was only asking to have some flexibility to get a freebie. “It distressed my son and he was visibly agitated and nervous. He doesn’t react well to these situations and hates confrontation. I showed them his railcard, but they just scoffed. “When I explained my son was autistic, one of the men said, ‘yeah, so’s mine’. If he is, I’m worried for his son, given the way he is. “I’ve never been treated so badly. It was horrible to experience, especially in front of other passengers.” Ms Hilary, who shared her and her son’s experience on Twitter, said she felt “humiliated” by the ordeal. Complaint After complaining at the ticket office, she was eventually allowed to change trains and was put on an earlier service. “I explained the situation and they were quite dismissive”, said Ms Hilary. “I didn’t receive any apology after I said I would like to complain – they just stamped our tickets and allowed us on an earlier train.” Ms Hilary said the carriages were incredibly busy and she thought her son “might collapse”. She took him to 1st class, and added that the train manager on board was “very gentle, kind, and understanding”. After taking her complaint to GWR head office, the novelist said senior staff at the rail company were helpful, offered her a refund on her journey, and free tickets on a future fare. Investigation But she also said the experience really affected her son: “He told me afterwards, ‘mum, if that happens again, just sit me in a corner and I’ll ride it out. Please don’t ask the help desk again’.” GWR said what happened was “totally unacceptable” and said it has launched an investigation. A GWR spokesperson told i: “We are sorry to learn of Sarah’s experience while at London Paddington with her son. We work closely with a leading autism charity to give all staff awareness training as part of our customer service training programme. “An investigation has been launched into the issues raised. We are grateful to Sarah for bringing this to our attention and are in contact with her as part of the investigation.” Source: iNews
  14. (Not written by me) A 5-year-old with autism made a 999 call when his mother collapsed, despite normally struggling with conversation Tyler Semple, five, was presented with the award by the National Autistic Society Florence Snead Monday October 1st 2018 A youngster with autism who struggles to hold conversations has earned an award for bravery after he called 999 and guided paramedics to his house when his mother collapsed. Tyler Semple was presented with a bravery award by the National Autistic Society for his actions after his mother, Charley-Anne Semple, fell unconscious at home while unpacking some shopping. Ms Semple, 27, was at home in Thurrock, Essex, with her two children when she collapsed on September 21. ‘He’s very clever with technology’ “I was home just putting some shopping away, which was the last thing I remember,” she said. “What I’ve been able to piece together and have been told by the paramedics is I was lying on the floor unconscious.” She explained her five-year-old son then took her mobile phone to call for help. “He knows the pin code, he’s very clever with technology,” she continued. “He called 999. He was on the phone for a good ten minutes, which is extremely difficult and quite surprising for Tyler as he doesn’t hold conversation very well. “He has speech therapy. He’s verbal but keeping interest in conversation, staying on topic is difficult. “He told them he needed an ambulance and he recited our address. We’ve only lived here four months. He was giving them the phonetic postcode – Romeo, Mike… He was also giving her directions.” Ms Semple said her son’s call might have sounded “like a hoax” at first as Tyler – who struggles to answer direct questions – said she had died after eating a “poisoned apple”. ‘He’s more capable than people give him credit for’ Tyler then went with his three-year-old sister Annabella – who was also given an award – to fetch a neighbour for help. Ms Semple’s collapse was caused by a pre-existing medical condition. She said she had fainted before but not recently. She said both her children were “so happy with their awards” and that by dialling 999 Tyler proved to her that “he’s more capable than people give credit for”. “I think what’s nice and what I’m really trying to push is to celebrate how fantastic I think the children did on the day and to raise autism in a positive light,” she said. “It’s nice to celebrate them.” An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said Tyler had been “very brave” to stay calm in what must have been a “very frightening” situation. Additional reporting from Press Association. Source: iNews
  15. where can I build a website

    I use hPage Website Builder because it has everything. I registered my domain there, got my custom email, 300 awesome design templates, website statistics, secure SSL encryption, mobile responsive designs, photo galleries, guestbook for visitors’ messages, appointment calendar for important dates, contact forms, link list, sending of newsletters directly to subscribers’ e-mail, member area, password protection, pinboard, shoutbox, sitemap, aan audit log to track website changes, own a domain, create e-mail addresses, and much more. hPage - https://www.hpage.com
  16. Choosing the most suitable job

    Which table (in the article) are you part of?
  17. What a time to be alive. Technology is making this easier for us.
  18. (Not written by me) The fifteen-year-old climate activist who is demanding a new kind of politics By Masha Gessen October 2, 2018 Greta Thunberg’s protest outside of Sweden’s parliament building has made climate change a topic of that country’s daily conversation. Sometimes the world makes so little sense that the only thing to do is engage in civil disobedience—even in a country as attached to its rules and regulations as Sweden is. Fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg has been protesting for more than a month. Before the country’s parliamentary election on September 9th, she went on strike and sat on the steps of the parliament building, in Stockholm, every day during school hours for three weeks. Since the election, she has returned to school for four days a week; she now spends her Fridays on the steps of parliament. She is demanding that the government undertake a radical response to climate change. She told me that a number of members of parliament have come out to the steps to express support for her position, although every one of them has said that she should really be at school. Her parents think so, too, she said—that she should really go to school, though she is right to protest. Thunberg’s parents are Svante Thunberg, an actor, and Malena Ernman, a very well-known opera singer. Ernman has published a book in which she described her family’s struggle with her two daughters’ special needs: both Greta and her younger sister, Beata, have been diagnosed with autism, A.D.H.D., and other conditions. In part because of her mother’s fame and the publicity that surrounded the publication of her book, Greta’s protest serves a dual purpose. It not only calls attention to climate policy, as she intended, but it also showcases the political potential of neurological difference. “I see the world a bit different, from another perspective,” she explained to me, in English. “I have a special interest. It’s very common that people on the autism spectrum have a special interest.” Thunberg developed her special interest in climate change when she was nine years old and in the third grade. “They were always talking about how we should turn off lights, save water, not throw out food,” she told me. “I asked why and they explained about climate change. And I thought this was very strange. If humans could really change the climate, everyone would be talking about it and people wouldn’t be talking about anything else. But this wasn’t happening.” Turnberg has an uncanny ability to concentrate, which she also attributes to her autism. “I can do the same thing for hours,” she said. Or, as it turns out, for years. She began researching climate change and has stayed on the topic for six years. She has stopped eating meat and buying anything that is not absolutely necessary. In 2015, she stopped flying on airplanes, and a year later, her mother followed suit, giving up an international performing career. The family has installed solar batteries and has started growing their own vegetables on an allotment outside the city. To meet me in central Stockholm, Thunberg and her father rode their bikes for about half an hour; the family has an electric car that they use only when necessary. Sweden prides itself on having some of the most progressive climate legislation in the world: policies adopted over the last couple of years aim to make Sweden “the first fossil-free welfare state in the world.” But there was relatively little discussion of climate policy in the lead-up to the September election, even after Sweden was hit with an unprecedented heat wave and catastrophic fires in July. Karin Bäckstrand, a climate-policy researcher at Stockholm University, told me that climate policy wasn’t an election issue precisely because a broad national consensus exists. “Everyone except the [far right] Swedish Democrats agree that we should become fossil-free,” she said. Thunberg calls bullshit on the consensus. In our conversation, she pointed out that, despite Sweden’s progressive legislation and the scientific consensus that rich countries must cut their emissions by fifteen per cent a year, in Sweden actual emissions had gone up 3.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year. She has written a piece called “Sweden is not a role model,” in which she points out that even the best-laid plans to address climate change make no attempt to look beyond the year 2050. “By then I will, in the best case, not even have lived half my life,” she wrote. “What happens next?” It’s true that emissions have risen this year, Bäckstrand said, because Sweden is experiencing an economic boom. On the other hand, the country has cut its emissions by twenty-six per cent since 1990, even while its economy has grown. In just ten years, Sweden has increased its use of renewable sources of energy by twelve per cent. The country is building the world’s first fossil-free steel plants. (To put this in context, Bäckstrand noted that she had just returned from San Francisco, where more than twenty thousand people, including the representatives of dozens of national governments, attended the Global Climate Action Summit, but no one from the Trump Administration attended; “Trump didn’t even tweet about it!” Bäckstrand said. Bäckstrand added that Thunberg’s “voice is needed, because until the fires and the drought, climate change was priority number eight for Swedes. She is arguing that it should be at the top, and she is right.” Thunberg’s strike has received extensive coverage in Sweden; for the time being, she is a household name, and climate change is a topic of daily conversation. Thunberg’s is a voice of unaccommodating clarity that reminds me of Soviet-era dissidents. I suspect that some of them were also on the spectrum, which in their case meant acting irrationally in the framework of the Soviet system—risking their lives to make the doomed demand that the country act in accordance with its written laws and declared ideals. Thunberg smiled in recognition when I told her this. “I can become very angry when I see things that are wrong,” she said. On a recent class trip to a museum exhibit on climate change, for example, she noticed that some figures in the show—statistics on the carbon footprint of meat production, for example—were wrong. “I became very angry, but I’m quiet, so I just went to the exit and sat there by the doors. I didn’t say anything until people asked me.” In general she prefers action to conversation. In undertaking her school strike, she was inspired by the protests staged by American high-school students in response to the Parkland shooting this year—Thunberg’s sit-in is also a walkout. When Thunberg is at her now-famous post outside of parliament, people come by to talk to her and bring her food. This has had an unexpected effect: Thunberg, who generally eats the same things every day, has tried new food. She surprised herself by doing this, and by finding that she likes falafel and noodles. In the weeks since the election, the Swedish political conversation has centered on topics far from climate change: the main centrist parties finished in a dead heat, making a far-right party, the Swedish Democrats, which came in third, a potential power broker. Formerly rote procedures such as choosing the speaker of parliament and appointing cabinet members have come to overshadow any policy discussion. Thunberg is peculiarly uninterested in this, though. “I think the election didn’t matter,” she told me. “The climate is not going to collapse because some party got the most votes. The politics that’s needed to prevent the climate catastrophe—it doesn’t exist today. We need to change the system, as if we were in crisis, as if there were a war going on.” Masha Gessen, a staff writer, has written several books, including, most recently, The Future Is History: How totalitarianism reclaimed Russia which won the National Book Award in 2017. Source: The New Yorker
  19. News article: " Autistic boy 'mocked' by Great Western Railway staff ": https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-45952442 What a terrible thing to do. Has anyone on here had any thing like that happen to them?
  20. News article: " Autistic boy 'mocked' by Great Western Railway staff ": https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-45952442 What a terrible thing to do. Has anyone on here had any thing like that happen to them?
  21. Another newbie :)

    Hi Neal Like you , I was diagnosed in my early 50's. I had always know that I was a bit different, diagnosis gave it a name & helped make sense of things. The really good thing about it was that suddenly I realised that I was not alone & that there were other people around who had experienced life much as I have . So when you say you exist in a bubble I know exactly what you mean because that is what it is like for me. You can see things going on but somehow can not be a part of it. anyway, I'm no good at writing so I'll keep it short. Cheers, Tony
  22. "Jazz hands" rather than clapping

    I think this would be a wonderful idea.
  23. (Not written by me) Autistic woman allowed to have sex with numerous men 'despite not being aware of dangers' Patrick Sawer, Senior News Reporter 18 October 2018 • 5:03pm Social workers have defended their handling of a case in which a young woman with autism was allowed to have sex with several men despite not always being aware of the potential dangers. There were fears the woman, who has severe learning disabilities and an IQ of 52, was repeatedly exploited during a two-month trial period this summer in which random men were permitted to visit her Manchester home between 10am and 4pm each day. She was also taken to shisha bars and on numerous occasions had sex in public, including in a taxi and at the back of a bowling alley, because the carers paid by Manchester City Council to look after her would not intervene. The arrangement only came to an end last month when Manchester City Council returned to the Court of Protection to alter the terms of her care plan. In a report to the court last month a psychiatrist warned that allowing her to continue to be exposed to such a “high level of risk” was unacceptable, unprofessional and might lead to “sexual abuse, violence, injury or death”. The National Autistic Society has called for “urgent lessons” to be drawn from the case, saying that while autistic people have a right to a sex life, “the responsibility to keep people safe falls on those in positions of care, like the courts, councils and support providers” and that “its essential safeguarding measures are followed meticulously”. In a statement Manchester City Council said: “Various parties have had to weigh the young woman’s freedom against the need for restrictions in the interests of her safety. Our priority has been to keep her safe from harm, acting in her best interests.” But relatives of the 23-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have accused care authorities of approving an “experiment” that led to the “pimping out of a highly vulnerable young woman”. The young woman had a history of running away from home from the age of nine and was reported missing ten times in five years. Court papers obtained by The Times newspaper state that “significant concerns arose that [she] had been subjected to sexual activity with men, particularly Asian men”. This included “sexual violations and rapes” while she was still a child. When she became a teenager, she developed an “obsessional interest” in men, particularly “from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds”. Following her 18th birthday in 2013 the woman’s care has been determined by the Court of Protection, whose role it is to safeguard vulnerable adults who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. In 2015 a judge ruled that she was able to consent to sex, but because it was feared she would be “at significant risk of sexual harm if she was allowed unescorted access to the community” a specialist company, Engage Support, was employed by Manchester City Council to provide her with 24-hour support. The same year the woman met a restaurant waiter of Bangladeshi nationality and the pair married in 2016. However, 12 months ago the woman is said to have embarked on a series of risky attempts to have sex with men she barely knew, sending them dozens of nude photographs of herself. The local authority told the court that a psychologist employed by the company believed that giving her “unsupervised contact with men” was in her best interests. But when she began to undertake sexual encounters in public, Engage Support is understood to have threatened to terminate its contract with Manchester council unless the restrictions on her freedom were reduced. A psychologist employed by the company said that giving her “unsupervised contact with men” was in her best interests, but council social workers argued that to withdraw her support in the community would leave her at “risk of sexual harm, violence, abuse and trafficking”. However, in June Judge Jonathan Butler gave Engage Support permission to leave the woman alone at home “to have sexual relations with others during daytime hours [10am to 4pm]”. If she sought sex in public, carers were “not expected to intervene physically”, nor to “remain present during such acts”. Over the next few weeks she had sex with at least six men in her bedroom and continued to seek sex in public. On one July night alone she left home and had sex with three men before police brought her back at 4.30am. The woman’s husband was not informed of the court’s decision to allow his wife to have sex with men when he was not at her home and was said to have felt “devastated and betrayed” by the decision. In late August Engage Support said it would no longer allow men to visit her home after concerns were raised over her sexual behaviour and the welfare of its staff, who were present. It withdrew from the contract early last month and the woman has been moved to a different location, run by a new care provider. Lucy Powell, the MP for Manchester Central said: “This is an appalling case which raises serious questions about the care system for vulnerable adults. The decision by the judge and care provider, against the wishes of the local authority charged with this woman’s care, beggars belief.” Manchester council said it had gone to the court to consider how best to manage the risks to the young woman. “We took the case back to the court in September precisely because the situation which arose was so concerning and we felt it needed to stop to protect her from harm,” it added. Source: The Telegraph
  24. News story. "Autistic woman, 23, whose condition meant she sought risky sex was allowed to be 'pimped out' to strangers by carers so she could 'learn from her mistakes' ... ": https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6288827/Autistic-woman-23-condition-meant-sought-risky-sex-allowed-pimped-out.html# Sounds terrible.
  25. Since being diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) in her late teens, Sara Barrett has found herself becoming angry at the portrayal of autistic characters in books – none more so than The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Here’s why: I have autism and the lack of authentic autistic voices in books angers me (Guardian)
  26. What's everyone listening to?

    Songs by this band called Sleeping at Last calms really well. Currently have the song 'Saturn' by Sleeping at Last on repeat. They also sang 'Turning Page' on the last Twilight movie soundtrack.
  27. The Undateables is back

    Thanks! I'm starting on it!
  28. "Jazz hands" rather than clapping

    This is not a new thing, the autscape organisation has been using 'jazz hands' since 2005 with success at their annual autistic conferences.
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