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Welcome to our October bulletin, and a particular welcome to the new families that have joined us. We hope you are keeping safe and well.
Please contact our staff if you need support or information. Scroll down to the green box below for our contact details.
Please make sure you enable pictures to be downloaded
so you can see all the information below
AFSO Support
If you have not yet made a referral, please find a referral form at www.afso.org.uk

If you have already made a referral and your child is aged 14-25 years, contact:  Sam Burkin, Community Outreach Worker  sam@afso.org.uk 07975 600 625

For general office enquires, or to make a referral, contact
Judith Payne, Administrator judith@afso.org.uk 01235 754 700

For enquires about training or courses, contact: Rebecca Kerry, Training administrator training@afso.org.uk

For enquiries about holiday activities and youth groups, contact:  Georgina Palmer, Activities Coordinator georgina@afso.org.uk 07947 349 655

For all other enquiries including job opportunities, fundraising, development and volunteering, contact:  Gita Lobo, Chief Executive Officer gita@afso.org.uk 07929 379 125
Coronavirus News

Is your you or your young person nervous about getting their Covid jab?
These  guides might help:
Covid-19 Vaccination - A Guide for children and Young People
What to expect after your Covid-19 Vaccination - A Guide for Children and Young People
Covid-19 Vaccination for Children and Young People aged 12-15 years old Easy Read
How to take a Lateral Flow Test - video guide from My Life My Choice

People in Oxfordshire are being reminded of the importance of socially responsible behaviours – testing, isolating and taking extra care – to keep themselves and their families safe from COVID-19 as cases in the county have risen.
 
Thank you
Many thanks to all of you who fundraise for us. We appreciate all your support and this enables us to continue supporting families and to grow.  Some of you have organised an event or participated in a challenge. 

Others donate every time they buy something on the internet by using Easy Fundraising or Amazon Smile (If you want to sign up to these, the links are at the bottom of the Bulletin). Some have donated in lieu of a birthday presents or to mark an event.

Thank you to all who raise funds for us. If you have a fundraising idea, please contact Gita Lobo gita@afso.org.uk  and she can send you some information.  We can also help publicise the event.

Please let us know if you fundraise for us and we can add your details to a future bulletin.
Activities
There are a number of activities with posters below. Make sure you enable pictures to download to see them.

Thomley 
are running activities over half term including Trunk or Treat Halloween Event, Pumpkin carving, Crocodiles of the World, Woodwork and Music. Please go to their website for more information and details of how to book. Their Christmas Market is also returning on 27th November 10am-3pm. Free Entry and no need to book. Please click on the pictures below for links to the Fireworks and cooking club.

Oxfordshire Autism Alert Card - please click on the card below

Kingwood Aspiration Service run activities including: An allotment in Henley-on-Thames, Tuesday Club in Wallingford, Cafe Group in Oxford and Cinema Group in Oxford. They also hold parties at Christmas and May.

ROAR Festival 2021 (25-31 October) is happening online and around Oxford. There are more details on this website

KEEN - click on the link  for information about KEEN's virtual and face to face activities. They are nearly back to a full timetable of sessions.

KEEN Buddies has been set up to provide 1-2-1 support for young people to do fun activities of their choice, from a trip to the cinema or a walk in the park, to joining a sports club together. For more information go to their website.

Vana Trust Organic Farm provide opportunities for ages 14+ including Farm Work (learn how to look after the farm), Cooking Classes (to cook healthy meals and increase independence) and Well Being Craft. They are based in Ludgershall, Bucks, For more information contact Sharon on 01844 237146 or sharon@vanatrust.org.uk 

Ark-T Music Project is for ages 13-25 years and provides free and inclusive music sessions. To find our more click here.

TAIL FEATHER DANCE are running online dance classes for young adults with learning disabilities, including dance fitness, disco night, ballet, musicals and contemporary dance. For more information go to their website.

SOUNDABOUT are running online multi-sensory music sessions for adults and children with SEN including SLD and PMLD. For more information go to their
website


GOT2B is offering a Free Parent Buddy Mentor for those living in the Carterton or Witney area with school aged children.  Click here for more information and who to contact. They are also looking to start coffee morning for parents of children with SEND or awaiting a diagnosis, in Witney on a Monday morning. Please contact them for more details.

STREET TAG is a fun, free, smartphone app that offers rewards for exercise. It turns a physical activity into a game and converts walking, running an cycling into Street Tag points, turning streets and parks into giant virtual playgrounds. For more information click here
Other Support
Connectivity - a friendship group for adults 18+ on the autism spectrum. They are based in Oxford  and currently meet online. Please email for more information  or go to their website

Trans Carers Oxfordshire Support Group
meet online.  Contact via their Facebook page or email transcarers@carersoxfordshire.org.uk

GUIDEPOSTS If you are struggling with anxiety of feeling isolated, Guideposts are offering help.  Their free helpline is available 9am-5pm Mon-Fri 0800 048 7035 or email gis@guideposts.org.uk.

Oxfordshire Mind are pleased that they are now able to offer a range of  their wellbeing courses virtually.  For more information, follow this link

Got2 B are running  Prism  LGBTQ+ Youth Groupin the Carterton/Witney area. Please contact them for more information www.got2be.org.uk 

Kingwood ASPiration Service is for Adults diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism living in Oxfordshire. The service is delivered by Autism at Kingwood and offers short-term support. The aim of the service is to enable autistic adults to develop and maintain skills, confidence and independence to help them reach their potential. Although the support intervention is short-term, the aim is to give people life-long skills to maintain their independence and ability to overcome barriers. They offer structured learning and short term 1-2-1 support. For more information please click on this link

British Heart Foundation have volunteer opportunities in their Abingdon shop. The managers are focused on upskilling volunteers. Volunteers must be 16 and over and have not unspent criminal convictions or appear on any criminal registers. Please contact Jack Burrows if you want more information 07741906852

Women's Radio have a programme called "All Things Autism" (nothing to do with the course that we run!) and a link to it is given by clicking on the link below to a show with Helen Eaton. Although it is on Women's Radio, anyone can listen. It It is hosted by Anna Kennedy, a mum with 2 autistic boys, and they have lots of  guests.

IPSEA (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) is a registered charity (number 327691) operating in England. IPSEA offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). They also provide training on the SEND legal framework to parents and carers, professionals and other organisations. T find out more, please go to their website.

EHCNA/P (the Council's new EHC Needs Assessment/Plan system) is now live. For more information please go here. Video and written guidance for the Portals can be found here.

Be Free Young Carers is a charity supporting young carers, including siblings, who live in the SODC and VOWH districts of Oxfordshire. They organise activities and trips, offer emotional support and befriending.  Please click on their logo below to find out more. 

Be Free Buddy Service is a new service from Be Free Young Carers for young carers aged 8-18 living in SODC and VOWH aiming to connect families together. For more information go to their website.

Young Carers Youth Club (13-17 year olds) in Carterton 3:30-5:30pm on Mondays. Please contact Got2b for more information.


Daisy Chain Project are offering a National Virtual Support Service to those with, or awaiting, an autism diagnosis. They offer:
  • Signposting
  • Bespoke Visual resources
  • Listening Service
  • Personalised Family Support
  • Bespoke Strategies and intervention
Please contact them for support and advice.

Fit2Care have a number of opportunities for carers to improve their fitness and mental well-being. 
  • Outdoor Fitness Classes in Abingdon every Monday 12noon-1pm 
  • Online Pilates in Tuesdays
  • Strength Training in Abingdon on Fridays 12 noon-1pm
For more information go to their website

LOCAL OFFER - please follow the link to see what is on offer in Oxfordshire for 16-25 year olds

My Life My Choice are open and running events for adults with Learning Difficulties. They run Stingray Nightclub, Self Advocacy groups and Walking groups. They are running a Coronavirus support service offering advice, guidance and friendship.  They can even link you up with a Phone Buddy to keep you company during the crisis.  If you want to find out more or to make a referral then email yazz@mylifemychoice.org.uk or phone 01865 204214. You can also find out more by visiting their website and Facebook group.
 
 
Courses, Workshops & Events
Annual Health Checks for young people aged (14+) with Learning Disability Q&A session,  on 9th November 12:30pm-2pm is being run by the Oxfordshire Parent Carers Forum. This is to help you find out what happens, what conditions are more prevalent and promoting health and wellbeing. This is a free event. To register, click on this link.

Paul Isaacs is running  a zoom workshop on 23rd November 11am-Midday giving practical advice on Exposure Anxiety "a syndrome of involuntary and compulsive avoidance, diversion and retaliation responses" . Paul has written a book Exposure Anxiety: the Invisible Cage of Involuntary Self Protection Responses. He comments that these is considerable overlap between Exposure Anxiety and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD). For more information, and to book, email lisa.robins@annakennedyonline.com

Autism Oxford are running a series of regular Webinars.
  • 22nd October is "Meltdowns - what they feel like and how to manage them"
  • 1st November is "Living in the Spectrum"
  • 8th November "Spoon Theory" how it can support reduction in burnout, meltdowns and shutdowns
  • 26th November is "Emotional Regulation".
  • 17th December  "Camouflaging" 
Friday 19th November they are holding a Face to Face event at Thomley for an "Autism Masterclass" to give you an introduction on what it is like to be autistic.

Tickets for these events are available here.

Fortune College  is a specialist college for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities aged 16-25. The college’s Further Education Through Horsemanship (FETH) Course offers an educational residential/day programme, working with horses, that prepares young people with learning disabilities to live as independently as possible and participate in their local community. The college provides the opportunity to achieve accredited qualifications,  develop communication skills, independent living skills, self confidence and skills for working life. for more information go to their website www,fortune.ac.uk 

Girl with the Curly Hair Project runs Autism seminars including:
  • Sensory Processing and Autism
  • How do I make friends and keep them
  • Females and Autism
  • Emotions and Autism 
  • Social anxiety and autism
  • Gender dysphoria and autism
  • Meltdowns and shutdowns
  • Autism and anxiety
  • Understanding Masking
For more information go to their website.
 
Helen Eaton is a Neurodiversity Specialist and is running some online Autism Training. Including "Autistic Girls and Women" For more information please see her website

ACTION FOR CARERS are offering FREE online well-being courses including Mindfulness, Yoga, Safe Moving and Handling, and Reclaiming me. If you are interested in finding out more please contact emmahessian@carersoxfordshire.org.uk or 01235 849470
Resources
BOOKS there is a wide variety of books on offer with JK Publishers.  Some of their latest books are:
"Autism Working" buy Michelle Garnett & Tony Atwood, self-guided workbook providing advice, strategies and activities to manage the difficulties that can arise in the work place.
"Masturbation, Autism and Learning Disabilities by Mel Gadd, A guide for parents and professionals
There are sections of books on Autism and employment,  relationships and sexuality and Autism Women and Girls as well as Mental Health and Wellbeing
📣 Coming Soon - "Supporting Spectacular Girls" a practical guide to developing autistic girls' well-being and self esteem.

Help support AFSO

If you shop online, there is a way of helping to support AFSO without it costing you anything. Please sign up for either, of both by clicking on the logos below.  Its' easy and free.

Research
Oxfordshire Parent Carers Forum are seeking a few more parent carers to join their CAMHS Focus Group. Please contact them on forum.chairs@oxpcf.org.uk to find out more.

Understanding resilience in carers: An online study
Resilience is adapting to difficulty. Researchers at Kings College London are wanting to learn more about the different ways of thinking behind resilience in carers. They are looking for participants who currently provide unpaid care or support to an autistic adult (family member, friend or neighbour) for at least the last 6 months. The research is via an online questionnaire and a sorting task. It will take no longer than 40-60 mins.  Four months later you will be asked to repeat this again.  Participants will be invited to enter a prize draw for gift vouchers worth £10, £25 and £50. The deadline to take part is 29th October 2021. For more information please click on this link

Dancing out for a Voice:ASD
Researchers at the University of Essex are trying to understand how dancing with a fitness videogame could improve autistic children’s social communication skills. There are not many therapies that improve symptoms associated with autism like limited communication. The project hopes to find new ways of improving social development through dance.  Researchers are also hoping to help strengthen the relationship between parents/caregivers and their autistic child. They are looking for Parents or caregivers of autistic children between 8 and 12 years old. The overall study is based on parents/caregivers dancing with their child at home. You will make videos of dancing using "Just Dance", a fitness videogame available online.  The study will last 9 weeks. Learn more about the project in the study's website or in this video. If you have any questions, email the researcher on Phoebe.morris@essex.ac.uk. Deadline to take part is 25 October. 

 

If you want some specific advice on how to support your child, we are still available, and our contact details are included above.

Best wishes and stay safe

From all of us at AFSO

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