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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. Past hour
  2. (Not written by me) What is it like to work with Asperger’s? Jonathan, 25, who is a desktop support engineer at an insurance company in the City of London, has Asperger’s syndrome I have worked at my current company for two years, since graduating with a degree in business computing from Brunel University London. I had an interview for a job at a different organisation but it was a very formal panel and that was hard, as I can feel quite anxious and worried if there are multiple people watching and listening to me and I have to interact with groups at once. I know that my eye contact isn’t always the best and having to make eye contact with lots of people at the same time can be challenging. "I have a mentor as well as a specialist therapist who works with people with Asperger’s and helps me with any issues I face" Someone at my university mentioned Aspierations was helping to link people who have Asperger’s syndrome (AS) with employers, so I looked it up and made contact with the team. Aspierations responded quickly. I met them and they helped with mock interviews and providing tips for interviews, which was really helpful. I was then set up with a one-to-one interview with the hiring manager at my current company. I was given very clear instructions on how to get to the office, including a picture of the building, and what to expect at the interview. The interview started off very informally, with the hiring manager asking me how my journey had been, which helped me relax. He then gave me lots of technical skills questions to answer, which suited me as this is what I like most about my job. Since starting work, my employers have been very supportive. For example, I have a mentor as well as a specialist therapist who works with people with Asperger’s and helps me with any personal or workplace issues I might face. We’ve recently had a big transformation at work, as we used to have four offices in close proximity to each other but last December we moved into one building in Aldgate, in the City of London, occupying the top eight floors. Previously I had been supporting about 100 users in one of the offices and now I’m supporting more than double that. Although we all moved just a few months ago, I am still adjusting to the new offices. I think the adjustment is perhaps taking me a bit longer than other people. "I would like to see more people with AS in the workplace. We need more employers to realise that we have lots to offer" If someone has an IT issue that can’t be resolved by our remote service desk, I will go and fix it. A good day for me is when you come in, work from 09:00 to 17:30 to resolve all the tickets (IT queries – often I manage more tickets than the others on the team) and have a few conversations with colleagues, and then leave the office having accomplished your tasks. Sometimes I can get stressed, such as with ad hoc queries, if people come up to my desk and tell me they’ve got a problem. Multi-tasking is challenging for me, but I’ve been given some Post-its on which I can write a note to myself, which means I can carry on with what I’m doing and then deal with the new issue afterwards. Also I used to get a bit anxious if I was reading messages on my work phone handset on the train coming into work or at the weekend, so now I leave my handset and laptop in the office so that I have a separation between home and work. I did a presentation when I first joined the company. It was organised by Aspierations and held at Lloyd’s. It was shared on LinkedIn. I’ve also done another event and written an article that was shared on my company’s intranet. It means that lots people at work know about my condition, which is good, but I would like to see more people with AS in the workplace. We need more employers to realise that we have lots to offer. One organisation helping those on the spectrum into work The experience of Laurel Herman’s son with Asperger’s syndrome (AS) led her to found Aspierations, the organisation that helped support Jonathan into his job. Ms Herman’s son was diagnosed with the condition as an adult. As Ms Herman saw more and more high-achieving people on the autistic spectrum not succeeding in the workplace, she was convinced to help them. “We help with things like conversation technique, interview technique – all the things over and above their education to make them business-ready,” says Ms Herman. “And we help them with career progression because once they get in they don’t progress.” Aspierations is also building an alliance of AS-fit-and-friendly employers by teaming up with businesses such as the National Grid, BAE Systems and Linklaters to support neurodiversity in the workforce. “We’re helping them to attract, recruit, develop to potential, support and retain their autistic talent,” says Ms Herman. Additionally Aspierations organises awareness events for businesses, and provides training and consultancy on recruitment and preparing workplaces for neurodivergent employees. Ms Herman says it is crucial to remember that there benefits on both sides when people with AS are brought into an organisation. For the individual there is a feeling of self-worth; for the business, it is about bringing in talent with a fresh approach. She says: “If you’ve always got the same people, you’re just doing the same thing. But if you’ve got people with different ways of thinking, which is what neurodiversity is, you will get real innovation and a challenge to the status quo.” Full names have been withheld at the interviewee’s requestSource: Telegraph
  3. Yesterday
  4. Son wants to move out

    Can Mencap help you with filling out the forms? Can you get your GP to write a letter explaining how the "current housing situation is having a detrimental effect to both your wellbeings" also to get social services to write a supportive letter. That's what I had to do so I could get a higher banding to bid for the housing I needed.
  5. New member wanting some advice!

    Congrats on getting him his diagnosis. How is the school with him?
  6. Can't take it he needs to go

    Can Mencap help you to get him diagnosed with a learning disability? Really hope you get the help he needs to move out. Can't a care provider that supports him in the home at first just try and be aware he could have an additional learning disability? If it helps I had a care agency that helped me to go out and get food to cook for me and granny. Later that progressed to me moving out. 10 years later I temporarily moved back to mums for 15months then moved out again. 3 years ago I moved into my current home. It's not perfect but the care agency I currently have help me with a multitude of things.
  7. Earlier
  8. I've posted many times over the years, son is now 25. We're involved with the community enableing team and I'm trying to step away from him more not easy has he lives at home. Anyway he's insisting he wants to leave home so I've contacted gateway to care to request a assessment for care, and they've told me to register him on the choose nd move housing.. I've done that but not filled in form best wait till he gets, a social worker plus I need a few tips and help re the forms. Anyone else can give me tips, advice at working through this mindfield of you're autistic son or daughter moveing out. I think he's better of at home but at the same time eventually hell be alone because I'll be dead.. And I'm getting too old for to be blunt his sh*t he's always shoring and kicking off he really upsets the home. It's time for him to move on. But I need him to be happy and safe and reasonably close by.
  9. Apologies for the duplication. Moderators - could you please delete this thread?
  10. (Not written by me) Oxford doctors puzzled by case of 'miracle man' who came back from the dead  25 March 2019 By Tom Williams OXFORD doctors were called in to try to solve the mystery of how a postman who had been 'dead' for 21 minutes managed to come back to life. Joao Araujo, 48, was being wheeled into the morgue after suffering a cardiac arrest when nurses noticed he was moving and tests revealed circulation had spontaneously returned to his heart. A team of medics said there is no exact explanation for what happened to him or why he was able to go back to work after just three weeks. It was recorded on his medical notes as 'spontaneous return of circulation' and Mr Araujo is known as the 'Miracle Man' on the cardiac ward at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. During his rehabilitation, he was sent to Oxford so doctors could decipher what could have happened but they have been left puzzled by the episode. Dad Mr Araujo said: "It changed me. "I give more value to all the things every day. Every single day. "I say thank you that I am alive, I say thank you that I have a job. "I give more value to my family and my friends. "When I was at the hospital they had no explanation for my problem so people started calling me the 'Miracle Man'. "Unlike everything else in the body below the eyes, they said that the brain is a mystery, it's like a Pandora's Box. "They did not have the knowledge to know the reason behind what happened. "Doctors can't believe I am alive without any damage in my heart, brain or body." Mr Araujo was in the car and about to pull off the driveway with wife Grazielle when his eyes rolled in towards the back of his head and his hands clenched rigidly around the wheel. She grabbed his phone and wedged it in between his tongue and the roof of his mouth to prevent it going down his throat. She screamed for help and a neighbour called for an ambulance. Paramedics arrived and said he was suffering a cardiac arrest and rushed him to hospital. But after six hours of injections and failed attempts at CPR, doctors ruled there was nothing more they could do. They pronounced Mr Araujo, of Linden, Gloucester, dead at 16:00 on Saturday, April 18, 2009. Doctors told his wife and children he was dead, who then phoned his parents in Portugal to tell them of the sad news. But while his body was being moved from intensive care to the mortuary, nurses noticed movement. Doctors rushed to Mr Araujo's distraught family to tell them circulation had spontaneously returned to his heart. They were told Mr Araujo, a lorry driver at the time, could be left permanently brain damaged due to a 21-minute lack of oxygen. He remained in a coma for three days before waking up in his hospital bed to staff calling him 'Miracle Man.' Doctors moved him to a separate room but he remained confused and disorientated, continuously pressing the emergency button. But two weeks later his condition miraculously improved and he was moved to Oxford. With no prior history of heart problems and being in good shape for his age, doctors reached the conclusion that Mr Araujo's brain had not sent the correct signal to his heart. Medical notes about the episode state: "Out of hospital cardiac arrest with prolonged and unsuccessful attempt at CPR but with spontaneous return of circulation soon after CPR was discontinued." He was fitted with an Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) against his heart, which sends an electric shock through to his heart if it stops again. The device also monitors his heart rate and sends readings back to the hospital. Three weeks after the freak cardiac arrest Joao returned to work as a cleaner and continued to live a healthy lifestyle. He said: "I remember my son and wife asked if I could carry on watching football - because I am crazy for football!" Mr Araujo, now a postman who lives with his new partner, visits the cardiology ward every six months for a check-up. He said: "Every time I go back, the nurses and the people who work there go 'The Miracle Man is back!' "Even people I don't know or recognise from different areas of the hospital say 'It's the Miracle Man! Everybody knows you, you are famous!" The postman has only had one issue with his heart since the attack in 2009. In 2015, he collapsed while working as a delivery driver but continued a full day's work before driving back home and visiting A&E. He said: "The doctors said that I have too much energy. It doesn't matter if I am in too much pain, I carry on." Source: Oxford Mail
  11. (Not written by me) Oxford doctors puzzled by case of 'miracle man' who came back from the dead  25 March 2019 By Tom Williams OXFORD doctors were called in to try to solve the mystery of how a postman who had been 'dead' for 21 minutes managed to come back to life. Joao Araujo, 48, was being wheeled into the morgue after suffering a cardiac arrest when nurses noticed he was moving and tests revealed circulation had spontaneously returned to his heart. A team of medics said there is no exact explanation for what happened to him or why he was able to go back to work after just three weeks. It was recorded on his medical notes as 'spontaneous return of circulation' and Mr Araujo is known as the 'Miracle Man' on the cardiac ward at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. During his rehabilitation, he was sent to Oxford so doctors could decipher what could have happened but they have been left puzzled by the episode. Dad Mr Araujo said: "It changed me. "I give more value to all the things every day. Every single day. "I say thank you that I am alive, I say thank you that I have a job. "I give more value to my family and my friends. "When I was at the hospital they had no explanation for my problem so people started calling me the 'Miracle Man'. "Unlike everything else in the body below the eyes, they said that the brain is a mystery, it's like a Pandora's Box. "They did not have the knowledge to know the reason behind what happened. "Doctors can't believe I am alive without any damage in my heart, brain or body." Mr Araujo was in the car and about to pull off the driveway with wife Grazielle when his eyes rolled in towards the back of his head and his hands clenched rigidly around the wheel. She grabbed his phone and wedged it in between his tongue and the roof of his mouth to prevent it going down his throat. She screamed for help and a neighbour called for an ambulance. Paramedics arrived and said he was suffering a cardiac arrest and rushed him to hospital. But after six hours of injections and failed attempts at CPR, doctors ruled there was nothing more they could do. They pronounced Mr Araujo, of Linden, Gloucester, dead at 16:00 on Saturday, April 18, 2009. Doctors told his wife and children he was dead, who then phoned his parents in Portugal to tell them of the sad news. But while his body was being moved from intensive care to the mortuary, nurses noticed movement. Doctors rushed to Mr Araujo's distraught family to tell them circulation had spontaneously returned to his heart. They were told Mr Araujo, a lorry driver at the time, could be left permanently brain damaged due to a 21-minute lack of oxygen. He remained in a coma for three days before waking up in his hospital bed to staff calling him 'Miracle Man.' Doctors moved him to a separate room but he remained confused and disorientated, continuously pressing the emergency button. But two weeks later his condition miraculously improved and he was moved to Oxford. With no prior history of heart problems and being in good shape for his age, doctors reached the conclusion that Mr Araujo's brain had not sent the correct signal to his heart. Medical notes about the episode state: "Out of hospital cardiac arrest with prolonged and unsuccessful attempt at CPR but with spontaneous return of circulation soon after CPR was discontinued." He was fitted with an Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) against his heart, which sends an electric shock through to his heart if it stops again. The device also monitors his heart rate and sends readings back to the hospital. Three weeks after the freak cardiac arrest Joao returned to work as a cleaner and continued to live a healthy lifestyle. He said: "I remember my son and wife asked if I could carry on watching football - because I am crazy for football!" Mr Araujo, now a postman who lives with his new partner, visits the cardiology ward every six months for a check-up. He said: "Every time I go back, the nurses and the people who work there go 'The Miracle Man is back!' "Even people I don't know or recognise from different areas of the hospital say 'It's the Miracle Man! Everybody knows you, you are famous!" The postman has only had one issue with his heart since the attack in 2009. In 2015, he collapsed while working as a delivery driver but continued a full day's work before driving back home and visiting A&E. He said: "The doctors said that I have too much energy. It doesn't matter if I am in too much pain, I carry on." Source: Oxford Mail
  12. Moments That Relax You

    (Not written by me) Forest Holidays Doing Their Bit Forest Holidays are privileged to be situated in beautiful corners of the UK’s forests. They make a promise, hand in hand with local partners, Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales to help the forests thrive, so that they are better than ever for future generations. Here’s how: Over the last 45 years, Forest Holidays have sustainably created a small number of cabin locations in Great Britain. Whilst we occupy just 0.02% of the Public Forest Estate, the benefits each location brings to its local community are considerable. The locations remain in public ownership, are Countryside and Rights of Way designated and open to the public. By creating employment, sharing the economic benefits of tourism, and actively contributing to communities, we can help to sustain the quality of rural life for generations to come. Nature is central to our business ethos and we believe it is our responsibility to care for Britain’s forests, provide favourable conditions for wildlife to thrive and enhance the environment around us. Their commitment to caring for Britain’s forests starts with the immediate environment and extends to the wider forest, helping to support the work of Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, and Natural Resources Wales. They care for the forest environment for today and manage it so that it thrives into the future. They have a long-term biodiversity enhancement strategy, which aims to make a positive contribution to biodiversity, wildlife habitats and people’s enjoyment at each of our locations They provide a long-term, sustainable source of funding to help Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales to carry out their responsibilities. They support projects on the wider public forest estate and their Conservation Fund is used to support ecological enhancement projects They contribute to the creation and maintenance of forest trails to enable people in and around the local community to enjoy the forest more easily It’s perhaps easy to think that nature should just be ‘left alone’ but many forests need to be actively managed to enhance their biodiversity. This is because many of our forests were actually shaped by man’s practises over centuries meaning that the ecology they support is dependent on those conditions being sustained. Forest management must take a long view and our commitment spans decades. We hope you’ll agree Forest Holidays are going lengths to ensure every contribution towards protecting and sustaining the environment matters. They design their locations to be in harmony with the forest, managing them in an eco-friendly way, taking active steps to protect and enhance the forest, and educating their teams, guests and visitors so that they can play their part too. Source: Greenfinder
  13. How do Members with travel with ASD and Aspergers

    That link is broken. Try: The new disability travel site making exploring accessible for all
  14. How do Members with travel with ASD and Aspergers

    Wilder Me (formerly Cool of the Wild) is offering autism retreats in Cornwall for autistic individuals travelling with their carers "from only £395pp".
  15. Help with Eco wellbeing & Activity break

    Cool of the Wild is now Wilder Me. Their autism retreats are targeted at autistic individuals travelling with a carer, so that rules me out.
  16. (Not written by me)Festivals are all about the collective. Who's carrying the beers? Who's going to hammer in the tent pegs while you hold the frame down in the wind (and let's face it, rain)? And who's got the spare bog roll when you run out with two days to go?Heading to a packed field this summer can be a daunting prospect when you're on your own. It can be nerve-wracking to strike up a conversation, especially when loneliness is rife among young people - a BBC study last year found that 40 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds experience it often.Enter Camp Loner. Download Festival has led the way in making a noise about social isolation and loneliness at festivals, with the concept later spreading to the Bloodstock and Reading events.The annual rock and metal festival at Donington Park near Derby has played host to Camp Loner since 2008, offering a spot for the solo camper to meet new like-minded pals."Because it is alternative stuff, is rock and metal, and many people in our group didn't have a ton of friends in school and were marginalised," Ben Willmott, who helps to run Camp Loner, tells The Big Issue. "Obviously I am stereotyping here and that is not all of us but we do get a lot of people joining our group who are anxious and nervous and might only have a few friends online and that's it."It's genuinely one of the most heartwarming bits on a Wednesday afternoon when people arrive at the festival, seeing people chat when they hadn't even met just two hours before and they are relaxed and talking rubbish and really enjoying themselves. Friendships are blossoming and it's just great."Camp Loner was started almost by accident when one reveller from Jersey was let down by his friends a couple of months before the festival. He posted a plea for other people in the same position to join up with him at the campsite.That first year brought together a small core of 35 to 40 people but now as many as 1,000 people camp together in a special cordon of the campsite after organisers made the special community an integral part of the Download experience.And it is not just about five days in June either with Willmott, alongside fellow Camp Loner organisers Louise Bedwell and Chris Morris, organising meet-ups and keeping the "community vibe" going throughout the year.He says: "Going on your own can be very daunting - there is 90,000 of them and one of you, there's five whole days and you're in the middle of nowhere, what do you do? What do you say? Actually it is one of the easiest things in the world."Yes, you do have to sort of reach out to engage in conversation but that little investment pays back a thousand-fold in a matter of hours.""Big" Jeff Johns is all about conversation. The 36-year-old has become a legend in the Bristol music scene for his insatiable passion for gigs, sometimes taking in more than one per night.With his fuzzy blond hair and his 193 cm frame, Big Jeff is unmissable down the front enthusiastically getting into the rhythm, whatever the genre."My experiences at gigs have helped to save and change me. For me, it was the excitement of seeing the musicians that drew me to gigs and being able to connect to something," says Johns, who was diagnosed with Asperger's a few years ago."I find a lot of social situations very intimidating but as soon as I go somewhere and see a stage and PA set up I know that there is something that can take that focus away."Inclusivity is a big deal in the music world, something The Big Issue identified by including Gig Buddies in our 2019 Changemakers list for their work in allowing volunteers to team up with people who have learning disabilities to accompany them to concerts.And the ability to meet other gig-goers has been life-changing. "Without music I think I would be a recluse. I'd really struggle making friends and forming bonds with people because I find social situations difficult," Johns says."I gradually found myself being inter-connected with lots of different micro-scenes within Bristol. It helped me get over my social anxieties because then I know that in between bands I can talk to people and I'd often find that we would have a shared love or a shared hate."When you're waiting for the first set to start this summer, think about how reaching out to other gig-goers could help change the tune.Source: The Big Issue (paper edition)
  17. Gaming meltdown

    Resident Evil sucks now. I honestly think the fourth one is overrated, and it killed the franchise. Of course, a lot of fans love that game, but to me, it's not a scary game. All just shooting. The games since then have been just as ridiculous. https://archive.org/details/Resident_Evil_Peter_Anderson
  18. (Not written by me) Prisoners in England to be taught code The government is to fund a scheme that will see "carefully vetted" prisoners taught to code in order to better prepare them for the world of work. The project is part of a £1.2m effort to increase the digital skills of people from disadvantaged groups. The courses will be led by volunteers and industry experts and prisoners will work on real-world projects with external clients. They will start with basic coding before moving to a more advanced level. An award of £100,000 will be given to fund the project in two prisons initially - Humber [nr Everthorpe, Brough, East Yorkshire] and Holme House, [Stockton on Tees] in County Durham - as well as an employment hub in Sheffield. The hope is that the trials will eventually lead to a network of coding workshops in UK prisons. The programme is modelled on the Last Mile project in the San Quentin prison, in California, which has helped almost 500 offenders find jobs after release, with none of those taking part reoffending. That compares with a national reoffending rate in the US of 55%. Reoffending in the UK is estimated to cost around £15bn, according to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Minster for Digital Margot James said: "The government is committed to stopping the cycle of reoffending and a valuable asset to prevent recidivism is employment. "Equipping offenders with coding skills will help them into life-changing work and give them a path to a hugely rewarding career." Neil Barnby, who has been teaching coding to prisoners at HMP Humber, as part of an organisation called Code4000, said: "The workshops are reducing reoffending at a measurable rate, because we keep in touch with our graduates. "We are constantly seeing success after success. "When I started teaching in prisons, I thought that if I could change just one life, turn one person away from crime, then I have achieved something truly marvellous. "I look back on the years that I have been teaching coding in prisons and can see all the lives I have had a part in changing for the better. "Not just the ex-offenders but their families and, more importantly, their children. "It is an enormous sense of achievement - and with this funding, I look forward to changing even more lives." Prisoners will learn HTML, CSS and Javascript, before moving on to more advanced concepts such as Git, TDD, MVC, databases and full stack development. They will then work on real-world projects for external clients, with money earned being ploughed back into the project. Stage three of the process will see them working for clients on temporary day release, with the aim of helping them find full-time employment as developers when their jail terms are complete. Source: BBC News
  19. I notice that this is now called "The Spectrum", is Asperger's being phased out?
  20. what if Wills and Kates baby has autism?

    You might just as well ask "What if one of Wills and Kate's children turns out to be gay?" Actually someone has already asked the Duke of Cambridge just that... William worries about "pressure" on his children if they come out as gay
  21. (Not written by me) Woofstock UK: The Devon Dog Festival With A Heart There’s no denying that the award-winning Woofstock UK is one of the most dog and family friendly festivals around. Voted ‘Best Day Out’ two years running by Dog Friendly Awards, it’s clear to see the passion and energy founder organisers and dynamic duo Heather and Carol Nesbitt-Bayley put into creating a fun-filled time for all. But what was the driving force behind this barking-mad couple creating the first Woofstock UK five years ago? What craziness made them wake one day and just say, “I know, let’s do a festival for dogs”? It all started with one life changing day back in 2012 when Heather suddenly fell seriously ill. She said: “I dragged myself out of bed one morning, feeling heavy and lethargic. Harry and Maggie, two of our dogs, didn’t bounce in for their usual morning greeting, instead they both stood stock-still and stared at me. My face and neck were covered in unexplained dark purple bruises, and although I tried to take the dogs for a walk, they wouldn’t allow me to leave the house and kept blocking me at every turn. “I was rushed to A&E where a doctor took blood tests, a brain scan and chest X-ray. The diagnosis was my immune system was killing itself and it was seeing my blood and platelets as foreign – basically I was dying. “It was a close-call as to whether I was going to make it through the night. “During my long stay at the hospital, the ‘Pets as Therapy dog’ came to visit which really lifted my spirits. When I was finally released from hospital I thought how amazing dogs actually are, and how our two dogs were fantastic by working out there was something seriously wrong! I spoke to Carol and said I’ve got a crazy idea – I want us to celebrate dogs and all animals, and to leave some kind of legacy – and the rest is history. “I’m still unwell and under the hospital’s neurology care. Carol and I want to carry on raising awareness and much needed money for both local and international animal charities for as long as we are able. That is how Woofstock UK was started as an annual one-day event in the middle of a field for horses which has grown year on year. We are so excited and delighted that we are celebrating our fifth anniversary with a crazy weekend festival in August!” The multi award-winning festival attracts thousands of visitors worldwide and this year is relocating to a 13-acre site based near Dartmouth with headline sponsor Bella and Duke. Held from Friday 16th – Sunday 18th August, it promises to be bigger and better than ever before and pawsome fun for happy hounds, dog-lovers and all the family. Traditionally a one-day event, it has proved so popular that it’s celebrating its fifth year with a weekend extravaganza, including camping, glamping and live entertainment. The only one of its kind in the UK, Woofstock prides itself on being ‘a festival by dogs for dogs’, attracting visitors year on year with its unique dog-orientated aspects. On arrival at the gate canny canines will collect bespoke 100% natural dog biscuit tickets specially made in the Netherlands by independent Ammy’s Delights. The Dutch company has been a great supporter, providing tickets and dog-show award hampers since Woofstock UK first began. Visitors will also be given a list of rules addressed to their furry friends, ‘pawed’ by Woofstock’s mascot, Spaniel Harry, to ensure everyone can relax and enjoy the event and all that it has to offer. Day-time activities include police dog displays, fun dog-shows and for a small fee ‘hot-dogs’ can cool off and have a splashing time in the special pooch pool supplied by the Soggy Dog Company who will be travelling down from Bedfordshire. With lots of things to see and do, including a diverse mix of trade stands; a shopping village and plethora of local artisan gastro delights and drink suppliers; it promises to be a fun time for all the family, with plenty of entertainment, including live music on the main stage and food and fayre for dogs, kids and grown-ups too! Heather concludes: “It’s a chance for like-minded people to come and have a really good time and it is all so chilled like puppy love. You don’t have to have a dog to come to Woofstock, just rock up and have a really good time. I promise you won’t get to the end of the weekend without having made new friends, whether that’s of the furry four-legged kind or of the human kind.” For more information and to book your Woofstock UK tickets, click here. Source: Grow Exeter
  22. (Not written by me) Fortnite creators say Prince Harry was wrong to say video game phenomenon was "created to addict" By Tom Hoggins Epic Games, the creator of video game phenomenon Fortnite have suggested that Prince Harry was wrong to label the game as "addictive" and said it "shouldn’t be allowed". “We were quite taken aback and really rather surprised because the statements that were made, in our view, couldn't be further from the truth from our intentions and design philosophy,” Epic’s senior counsel Canon Pence told the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS). “It's really always been our effort and intent to create a fun, fair, flexible, engaging and generous form of interactive entertainment for our audience. "So I feel like a statement that suggests that there was some sort of nefarious attempt to extract short-term profit is a real mischaracterisation." When asked by committee chairman Damian Collins if the firm felt that Prince Harry had "got it wrong", Pence replied: “I do.” Prince Harry had made the comments about Fortnite, which has over 250m registered players and made $2.4bn in revenue in 2018, during a visit to the YMCA in South Ealing. "That game shouldn't be allowed,” he said. “Where is the benefit of having it in your household?” "It's created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It's so irresponsible. It's like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken down." He added that social media was "more addictive than alcohol and drugs". Epic was giving evidence to the DCMS alongside fellow US game company Electronic Arts about a variety of topics on the gaming industry for the government’s white paper on a duty of care for technology companies. The almost three hour long, often fraught session covered topics such as game addiction, age verification and loot boxes. Both companies cast doubt over the World Health Organisations’ recent classification of "gaming disorder" relating to the overuse of games, with Pence saying: “We do participate in industry organisations which have taken issue with the manner and process of which that has gone through, there is plenty of debate over whether that process was proper.” “I think the use of the term addiction unfortunately masks the passion that our players have and the joy they get from playing our games, I think the term is a mischaracterisation.” Pence said that the upcoming white paper was “an important paper” but there was “more work to be done on it”. “It’s important for us to protect our players and we think it’s an important start,” he said. Source: Telegraph
  23. What's in your Lunchbox?

    Today I had a quinoa salad with sliced peppers, baby corn cobs, carrots and finely chopped red onions. I got the recipe from the side of a packet of quinoa, where it was called "Taboule [sic] of the Incas".
  24. 'Nature' being prescribed by GPs in Shetland

    A community woodland in my town runs a weekly Ecotherapy session. Also see this post in another thread: 'Nature became a support system': How autism helped me campaign for wildlife
  25. "Cat café" offers free sessions for autistics

    One's now open in Stratford-upon-Avon, which makes it the nearest to me as the crow flies. Too bad the frequency of rail and bus links from Leamington Spa leave something to be desired... Shakespaws Cat Café
  26. (Not written by me) High school boy with autism lands Miss Utah hopeful as his homecoming date after classmates play a cruel prank Michael, a junior at Taylorsville High, took Miss Greater Salt Lake to homecoming The teenager, who has autism, received a heartbreaking fake invite to the dance One of his teachers got in touch with the local beauty queen and asked for help Dexonna Talbot, a Miss Utah hopeful, said she cried when she heard of the prank Talbot walked into Michael's class and asked him to go with her instead A beauty queen has helped a bullied high school student get the last laugh on his peers. Michael Conrad, a junior at Taylorsville High School who has autism and ADHD, received a fake invitation to homecoming that left him upset and his mother 'sick to her stomach'. The culprits, who are yet to be identified, egged his home and left a note saying: 'I'm sorry for the mess. But how about I make it up to you by taking you to Homecoming?' Fox News reported. The note was attributed to a friend of Michael's, but when he confronted her about it, she denied all knowledge and told him she already had a date. Michael's uncle said on Twitter the teenager had: 'tried to hide the hurt when this happened but it was obvious that he was upset inside'. Hearing about the cruel prank, debating teacher Jenn Palomino said she was heartbroken, and determined to help right the wrong. She contacted Miss Greater Salt Lake, Dexonna Talbot, and asked if she might be able to help salvage her student's homecoming experience. Talbot, who will compete for Miss Utah in the next few months, said she felt called to act the second she heard about the fake invitation. 'The second I heard about this, I knew I wanted to do something,' she said. 'I automatically broke down into tears, because just thinking about the fact that someone would go out of their way to make someone else feel bad is so heartbreaking to me.' Holding a sign covered in Starburst - Michael's favourite candy, Talbot was filmed entering his high school classroom last week to ask him to homecoming - for real this time. Standing up, he can be heard responding with an enthusiastic: 'Sure!' As the pair chat, Michael's classmates can be heard applauding the unlikely match. On Saturday, Talbot shared photographs of the pair ahead of the big dance. 'Had the time of my life with the coolest, funniest, kindest and most amazing guy at homecoming tonight,' she wrote. 'Michael you are one of a kind. I am so humbled by this experience. Bullying sucks and kindness ALWAYS wins.' Speaking to friends on Facebook, Michael's mother Jennifer said she still doesn't know who played the cruel prank on her son, but the family have chosen to focus on the positives. 'We don't know who did it, but to us it doesn't matter,' she said. 'Through this experience our sweet boy was able to have the time of his life.' 'I just hope [the bullies] realize that you should [not] tear someone down to try and make yourself look cool.' Source: Daily Mail
  27. What's in your Lunchbox?

    Gee, it's a little quiet on here! Would have loved to get some divergent thoughts, but anyway, I looked it up myself and it's nothing major as I envisioned. Look, I know the year has just reached halfway(!), but I really am determined to get it right this time. Over the years I've been guilty of hitting the first-food joints more than I should, so it feels like a breath of fresh air trying something new - only that this time it also comes with wellness benefits attached, which is a big deal for me. The hummus wrap sounds a great option for Meatless Mondays and the broccoli chicken salad from Livestrong makes for an easy prep that's also great for gym days. The Sesame Vermicelli and Pork Salad Lunch Box looks a complete dish, yet simple to make, so I guess this will be finding its way in my lunchbox soon, along with the chicken caesar salad with extra bread that I found on Cosmo that's easier to make than the name might imply. These should make do for starters, but I'm still much open to some more fresh ideas!
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