The Autism Show 2017

Lucie Hamilton

Faculty: Health, Social Care & Education
Department: School of Education and Social Care
Course: BA (Hons) Early Childhood Professional Studies
Category: Education

29 June 2017

I have always had an interest in special educational needs (SEN) and as someone who also loves attending training, conferences and events for my professional development, I jumped at the chance to attend The Autism Show at the Excel in London.

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I went along to the Childcare Expo back in March - read more here.

The Autism Show was in association with The National Autistic Society – a leading UK charity supporting autistic people and their families – and was showcased over two days at ExCel nin London's Docklands.

I have had previous dealings with The National Autistic Society when I trained with them two years ago, gaining five certificates spanning from learning the basics of what autism is and how to support families, to dealing with sensory anxiety and communication. So when I saw the advert for this show, I knew it would be good.

Over the two days there was over 100 hours’ worth of talks, specialist clinics and workshops and hundreds of products and services – including training and studying opportunities – to explore.

  • Lego Therapy and Jumping Clay workshops – helping to improve communication, language development and social interaction skills as well as being sensory experiences
  • Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) help centre – offering independent and practical advice
  • Autism Uncut Cinema – four-minute films made by aspiring filmmakers to shed light on the ‘real and uncensored’ world of autism
  • Sensory Room – designed by Mike Ayres, showcasing the latest in sensory design and technology
  • Autism Meets… – a part of the show where everybody and anybody can meet with those on the spectrum, ask questions and seek advice.

I chose to attend three of the talks provided on the day I was there. It was really hard to decide which talks to attend because they all sounded so interesting. I was a little disappointed that the final talk I turned up for had actually been cancelled but these things cannot be avoided. The talks I attended were When is behaviour not behaviour?, How social media can improve autistic communication, and Building attention and communication in the early years. I chose these three because I had a particular interest in the subject matters for them. I chose to focus on behaviour on a recent assignment so I was interested to see what I could further learn on the subject. Social media plays such a dominant part in everyone’s lives so this talk sounded perfect to indulge in; and building attention in the early years is very relevant to my degree – whether the children are autistic or not – so I was instantly drawn to this talk. I found all the speakers very knowledgeable and engaging and the content of their talks was fantastic – I came away with a notebook full of notes and potential further training.

I was at the show for six and a half hours, and left feeling empowered to learn more and contribute to making positive changes in the word of education and SEN. I also left with bags full of leaflets and free merchandise and purchased a new textbook for my education bookshelf (How the Special Needs Brain Learns, David A Sousa).

I would highly recommend this event – I even gained a CPD certificate!

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