Category Archives: Adults

For adults with autism, their parents or carers

Web safety

See  Technical Guide  for information about the safety of this site.

Safety on-line

Click PDF  icon for a pretty complete guide to staying safe on-line, from Ambitious about Autism .        Click page icon on the right for an encyclopaedia of on-line safety.

Company websites need to be checked out before spending money or giving personal details.      This can be tricky, especially if they are not well known companies.        Here is an introduction to checking out a company, with links at the bottom.

Safe social networking

UK Safer Internet Centre have produced a handy guide to on-line safety when using the social networking service ask fm.                Click icon to view.

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Firewall

You only want one.          If you have more than one active at a time they may clash.          Some security packages have them bundled in but all versions of Windows have one available.

For more information see: Technical Tips:

  • To see why one firewall is enough see the not overdoing things bullet point.
  • To find Windows Firewall settings see under security screens.

Anti-virus

For a sound introduction to the issues and context see Do you really need antivirus software?

For a guide to free options click Best free antivirus software .

Again, you only want one Anti-virus package.      You can have too much security.

Things to avoid

You may see adverts or find software on Google claiming to fix problems on your PC or speed up performance.    Treat these with a great deal of suspicion.

The Science – The Geek Syndrome …

The Geek SyndromeAbilityPlusDisability

  • Is there a connection between geekiness and autism?
  • Could Silicon Valley hold the key?         Steve Silberman considers the question in The Geek Sydrome.         (new)
  • Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen thinks scientists and engineers could be more likely to have a child with autism, though other scientists say that this has not yet been proved.       The article argues the science in an accessible way.
  • A Guardian journalist states that IT companies actively recruit an autistic workforce expecting to find people who are technically very competent with good concentration skills.         He also shows how computers can be a mixed blessing.

Autistica

Autistica is a UK based reasearch charity.            Click icon for their website and scroll down to see their current research projects.             Their research priorities are about improving life for people on the spectrum.                    (updated)

See also Diversity press about priorites, e.g. Steve Silberman.

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Introduction to brain research

The Cambridge Neuroscience website projects an image of a hive of activity.        Their Autism Research Centre aims to understand the biomedical causes of autism.        They have published a Short History of neuroscience at Cambridge.

Brain Bank for Autism is based at Oxford University.          Click icon for for their brochure.          The Medical Research Council offers information about donating brain tissue in the UK – see Map & FAQ.        The National Autistic Society has a position statement which sets out issues for potential donors to consider.

Is ADHD a Spectrum Disorder?

New research suggests that ADHD has a number of subgroups.          All of them are associated with a weak connection in the brain’s neural networks.            This article describes how, according to Joel Nigg, Ph.D, they affect children with ADHD and how the brain matures.

Empathy

Oxford associate professor has a new interpretation of autism distinguishing it from alexithymia.            He says that autistic people can have empathy and non-autistic people can lack it.            He also says that the two conditions are completely independent of each other.            Click icon for article.

Autism communication trial

A specific research programme at the University of Manchester, UK.            Six years after parents were trained to understand and interact with their preschool children better, researchers observed improvements.

An autistic child may not interact with his or her parents at all.           In this trial, when a child eventually did offer a toy or made a noise that could be interpreted as a request, the incident was played back on video and the parent encouraged to respond.            Parents parcticed what they had lerned at home every day.            Click icon for article.

Overlap between ADHD and Autism

Click icon for an introduction.           For a more thorough treatment see this article.

Until as late as 2013 a joint diagnosis of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was not permitted by the most influential psychiatric handbook.           But both conditions are increasingly found to occur together.          In addition mechanisms in the brain that are involved in the overlap of these conditions have been identified.

Evolutionary brain benefit

Genetic variants linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have been positively selected during human evolution because they also contribute to enhanced cognition, a new Yale study suggests.          See:  Independent article              Yale article

Autism Camouflaging

There’s such a thing as “autism camouflaging” and it might explain why some people are diagnosed so late.              Across the whole sample, higher camouflaging scores were associated with higher levels of depression, but not anxiety.            Click icon for article.

Early detection

Brain scans can detect autism long before any symptoms start to emerge, say scientists.            Click icon for article.

Cause of Dyslexia

Scientists have discovered what appears to be a fundamental reason why people are dyslexic based on MRI scans.           What is particularly interesting is that better reading skills in adults and children with dyslexia were associated with greater repetition-induced neural adaptation,             Click icon to view article.

Logical Decisions

People with autism make more logical decisions, study suggests.       ‘Listening to your heart and being in touch with your emotions – usually seen as positive things – may lead to decisions that are not so rational’.          See  article.

Causes of Autism

How close are we to solving the puzzle?       Here is a TV documentary featuring comment from experts in the field.        It was uploaded in 2011 and lasts 15 minutes.

Is there an autism epidemic?

The short answer is no.          What is more, the autism epidemic myth has had damaging consequences.         Here is one paediatrician’s explanation.

Mothers on the spectrum

This is a study released in Baltimore, USA, comparing the experiences of autistic mothers with typical mothers.                It specifies additional difficulties that autistic mothers face .              See study for more information.

New brain study

A new study adds an intriguing, unexpected, and sure-to-be controversial finding to the mix:       It suggests the brains of children with autism contain small patches where the normally ordered arrangement of neurons in the cerebral cortex is disrupted.        “We’ve found locations where there appears to be a failure of normal development,”  said Eric Courchesne, a neuroscientist at the University of California.           See article.

Most costly medical condition

Research published in a leading international medical journal shows that autism costs the UK more than heart disease, cancer and stroke combined.     “There is an unacceptable imbalance between the high cost of autism and the amount we spend each year on researching how to fundamentally change the outlook for people …”.          See article.         See also related article with  a 14 minute video at the bottom of the page.

Social scripts

Your child may be repeating words or phrases constantly – why might that be?                Here is a 10 minute video about the difference between echolalial scripting and social scripting and their role in a child’s development.

Do fish oils help?

Some people say that fish oils help to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).             Unfortunately, independent scientists seem to say that it does not benefit all children with ADHD.         They say it may benefit a particular group of children who ‘are highly oppositional, especially if their normal blood levels of EPA are low’.                  See Fish Oil and ADHD: What is The Evidence? under the heading:  Summary and implications.          Even then, they say that more research is needed to be sure.

Drama & Performance activities

“Children with autism who take part in drama and performance activities may be able to improve their communication and interpersonal skills, a study has found.”              See newspaper article.

Oliver Sacks

According to his website he was, A physician, best-selling author, and professor of neurology        He contributed quite a bit to the scientific understanding of the nature of autism.

For the book worms amongst us Awakenings might make for an interesting and uplifting read.         This is an account of a group of patients who were woken from sleeping sickness in 1969 by Dr Sacks using a drug that was new at the time.           See also   Library record.

Do complications during birth cause autism?

The science is not as clear or as simple as that and research is still at an early stage.

  • The NHS has a page about the causes of Autism.
  • The National Autistic Society covers the ground quite well and contains some insightful comments.           It is also very easy to read.           See causes.

Research Autism

Research Autism is dedicated to researching interventions in autism.           They claim to be, The only UK charity exclusively dedicated to research into interventions in autism.             This is their Range of research findings.

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.              See disclaimer.

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Employment

Adult life

Eric from Singapore has written some handy guides to adult life as someone with Asperger’s.        He addresses aspies everywhere in a readable style with insightful tips.         Click icon and browse under the Real life menu:   Basic work rules          Staying employed         Freelance jobs         Financial literacy        Working with money         Insurance discrimination

For anyone interested in the freelance jobs page, be sure to check points 1 – 3 at the bottom of the page.       Earning a bit of pocket money while living with one’s parents may be straight forward enough but it would be wise to consider the potential risks of going freelance carefully before relying on it in a big way.        Here are is a more mainstream view of avoiding  the risks.

Avoiding job scams

The internet can be very useful but it can pose dangers too.                Here are a couple of helpful guides to avoiding on-line job scams:

warning signs                           Which guide   (new)

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Can do

What work can people with autism do?             Here is a personal view.                The author describes his brother’s ability as follows:  “You can give him any task and, as long as he is guided through it a couple of times, he will get into the habit of doing it.”               His message to employers is, ” Tap into this pool of potential with targeted descriptions, clear demands and a touch of humanity”. 

Be part of the change

Ambitious about Autism are asking people to register to join their Employ Autism campaign by submitting your name and a valid email address.              They say, “Recent figures show that only 15% of people with autism are in full time, paid employment”.               If you are very keen you could even ask for information about their Youth Patrons.

Employment for Disabled People
Social Obligation or Individual Responsibility? 

Some people are at the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum have achieved remarkable things, e.g. Richard Branson and probably Isaac Newton to name but two.     A significant proportion of university lecturers are said to be in a similar category.     But whatever your level of potential the law offers some protection against discrimination in the work place.

The research paper referred to below might be said to offer useful insights to those with disabilities, indicating where they stand in relation to the world of work.      The full article is pretty heavy going though, so the link below takes you into a brief outline.

Tips

If you are preparing for the world of work you could probably do with some one-to-one advice and guidance, but here are a few pointers that might help:

  • If you are high-functioning this may be reflected, to some extent at least, in your qualifications, like GCSEs.      Technical work might be right up your street.
  • Whatever your level, it looks good if you can get some work experience – however small and straight forward.     This shows to yourself and possible employers that you are getting somewhere in the world of work.       Voluntary work can be a useful start.    Anyway, it might be wise to start small to begin with and see how you go.
  • There may be some things to avoid:  maybe too much stress or work that requires particularly good people skills.   For example, teaching might not be a good idea for you.
  • If your health affects your fitness for work your GP may be able to issue you with a Fit note, stating the limitations of what you can do.      For example you may need to limit the hours that you do.

For help and advice contact the National Careers Service.       They have:

  • useful things like a CV builder etc.
  • a free phone helpline,  0800 100 900.        They seem to have a calm and relaxed manner, with no pressure.
  • online chat.

Steps to work

This is a programme aimed at parents thinking about returning to work.                 It is run in Grantham on specific dates at either Swingbridge or Belton Lane Children’s and Community Centre.              For more information click on the icon.

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.              See disclaimer.

Specialist Services – NE Lincs support ….

Family Action Support

North East Lincs Family Action Support Team (FAST) is a specialist service for families with children with attention and behavioural difficulties, including Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other complex needs, aged 3-17 years. 

Linkage

Linkage supports children, parents and carers where the children are aged between the age of 5-18 and have special educational needs, learning disabilities /difficulties across the whole of Lincolnshire.         The service is free.        They can:

  • Provide guidance and reassurance in completing referral, benefit forms and support in following appeal processes and attending tribunals.
  • Provide support on strategies that can be used in the home or in school.
  • Support young people and their parents getting the right support in school, preparing to leave school or college, training courses, colleges, supported internships and supported employment  and day activity opportunities.
  • Planning for the future – work, supported accommodation, available leisure activities.
  • Meet children and families at home, liaise with the school.

Click icon for more information,

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Options Group

Options Group accepts referrals for specialist autistic services in North Lincolnshire.          Click icon to see their map.         They offer an outreach service, community-based living services and longer term adult residential care:  Options Watermill       Thorpe House.

Autism East Midlands

Autism East Midlands aims to to ensure people with autism can live their lives with dignity, choice and independence.              The nearest services to Grantham are in the Nottingham area.             They offer outreach servicesday services and residential services.               Here are their   Admission criteria   and   Application form.              Click icon below for their Home page.            Once you are in the Adult Services section, navigate via the left hand column.Autism E Mid

Guide to viewing updates

This web site’s View updates menu offers lists of recently updated pages or recently created posts.
The idea is to make it easier to keep up to date with this site.          If you have not tried it already, select one of the options to below.

  • With Mozilla Firefox they give you a page with a list of the most recently updated pages on this site for your chosen category.         See extract on the right.         It has a link to each post or page.         Underneath each link is a condensed display of the first couple of lines or so of content to give you some idea which ones might be worth selecting.         The latest update is at the top of each page on this website.
  • With Google Chrome you need to add an extension to the browser in order to get the preview display described above.         Without the extension you just get a list of page links.           Click icon to find out about this extension.

Actually the correct name for this list of updates is RSS feed, but it is not obvious what that means.          There are a number of ways to access feeds, several of which come at a price.

Bookmarks

Formatted page vs bookmark display

  1. The recent updates page option above gives you a preview of each page or post, which gives you a much more specific idea what it is about than the Bookmark option outlined below.
  2. The bookmark option is quicker to use.         On the other hand, it does not show the content preview that you see on the page link above.          Click icon to get an idea how to set one up in Firefox and see how worth while it looks.

Interest News

  • Tour de France: 2018:   This year Le Tour takes place Saturday July 7th to Sunday July 29th, ITV4 coverage as last year.          See:  Official guide         ITV guide            Update:   Did you know that one of the teams are using disc brakes on their bikes?
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  • Tour de France: 2017:   This year Le Tour takes place Saturday July 1st to Sunday July 23rd, ITV4 week days: 11am – Highlights followed by live coverage.        7pmHighlights.           Weekend live coverage times vary.
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  • General election, Thursday 8th June 2017 – Easy read manifestos
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  • Tour de France: 2016 coverage:  Stage 7 win.            In the end Chris Froome notched up his third tour win for Britain and the Sky team.           See:  Pictures            Official guide            2015 video           Froome on 2016
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  • New Eurostar trains         Eurostar - Valero e320Eurostar are replacing their original French built train sets with new German Siemens trains.           There are plans to extend services to destinations in the Netherlands and Germany.          “In September 2013, Eurostar announced that its new service between London and Amsterdam, intended to begin operation in December 2016, would be operated by the trains.        The first Class 374 set entered service in November 2015, ahead of the full launch of the new type; the receipt of the safety authorization from the Intergovernmental Commission was received earlier than expected, allowing Eurostar to begin utilizing the type on a small number of services for in-service testing.”.            See Wikipedia for more information.
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  • “Einstein’s gravitational waves ‘seen’ from black holes.”        “Scientists are claiming a stunning discovery in their quest to fully understand gravity.”      See  article  complete with video clip and pictures.            In 1916 Albert Einstein predicted that gravity might be found to work like a kind of wave.           See:  PHD Comics         Wikipedia.
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  • Chris Froome wins the 2015 Tour de France cycle race.          See:  The finish        The day before.           The young Columbian runner up might be one to watch next year.
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  • A NASA space probe sped past Pluto in July 2015.           See: article – with pictures from the probe and illustrations.
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  • Steve Morse joined Deep Purple in 1994, and this recording of Smoke on the Water has a particularly good version of the guitar solo.              In the 1970’s most teenage boys knew the solo, and pretty much most of them with a guitar had a go at playing it.

Join the team

To become a GAN member see:  Membership

Secretary

We are looking for a volunteer in the Grantham area to help us with our committee minutes mainly.        Click icon for details.

 

Help with events

We are also looking for a volunteer in the Grantham, Lincoln, or Stamford areas to help out  running some of our family and/or fund raising events.         Click icon for details.

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Using Facebook

How private can it be?

If you do not want to make friends on Facebook it is possible to be pretty private.

  • Users  do not have to give their real name.         It is OK to make one up.
  • They  do not have to give their real date of birth and it can be changed.
  • It is possible to use Facebook without answering most of their questions.         You may see a box on the screen urging you to “complete your profile”.         It is OK to ignore it.
  • Users can also join Facebook without displaying any photos.
  • This should be enough to enable browsing public Facebook pages freely, e.g. GAIN Facebook page.       Many Facebook users post pictures about their family what they have been doing but some hardly post anything at all – which does a lot to protect their privacy.
  • If a user wants to join a group it would be good post something to help fit in.       For example with the GAIN events group something from the GAIN Facebook page would be an idea.

Privacy Settings

Some people are particularly keen to protect their privacy and stop people bothering them.         So they may feel need to pay quite a bit of attention to Facebook privacy settings.           Here are some guides that might be worth a look:

Getting started             Tips            Detailed guide

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Auto-playfacebook-settings-options

It might be worth having a look at the video settings on Facebook.         Switching auto-play off might make your browsing experience more tranquil and reduce broadband usage.

On the Settings page, it is the last option in the left margin.                Click thumbnail for quick how to guide.         See also  detail for more information.

Facebook opportunities

People on the Autistic Spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome, tend to have restricted social lives.         It goes with the territory.         Facebook may offer opportunities for the  high functioning  to develop their social lives and skills, though.

  • You need a couple of real life friends to whom you can send Facebook friend requests, in order to get you started.       Your Facebook friends need to be sound people that you can trust.        If you do not know why then ask someone you trust about it.
  • On the plus side, with Facebook you can look around to see what people are saying.          This may help you to build up a picture of the social landscape around you.
  • On the other hand some may need supervision – if it is suitable at all.        For one thing, the official minimum age for Facebook is 13.        So it not considered to be suitable for everyone – click play button.       Also, with some  Parents own comments,  opinion is divided.
  • In case it helps, Facebook offers tools for parents.

Click icon above for a detailed guide to Facebook for Aspies,  containing discussion and tips.

Mark Zuckerberg

As a matter of interest, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook,  is said to have a touch of Asperger’s.         See article

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.              See disclaimer.

Facebook gallery

Facbook small iconThese are a few selected posts copied from the GAIN Facebook website, mostly.

Click red play button to watch a GAIN Facebook slide show.

                     

                               

fb67                fb62                fb70

fb67                       fb45

FB27              FB28              FB36

FB19                    FB21                     FB14

FB20                       FB25                       FB23

FB24                                FB22

FB05                    FB06                     Autistic people

What is it like 02                  Video dev                    FB11

Distinctive01                    FB07                   FB10

Facebook03                     What is it like02                  GAIN Facebook post 01

Teaching quote         Bacon & Autism - Jane Peck - FB                 FB03

QuoteYau01            Facebook02

ME/Chronic Fatigue

Symptoms & diagnosis – The core symptom of ME/CFS is profound and disabling fatigue, which almost always affects both physical and mental functioning.     The fatigue and other symptoms are not caused by ongoing excessive exertion and are not relieved by rest.     One of the most striking features of this fatigue is what is termed ‘post-exertional malaise’ or ‘post-exertional symptom exacerbation’.

What is ME/CFS?  … the scale of impairment across a range of physical and mental activities can be just as great or greater than is seen in many other chronic medical conditions.

  • Is CFS related to autism?       I suspect all three have related underlying processes and, given a specific genetic makeup, the very same processes that trigger CFS and fibromyalgia in adults can trigger autism in children.         See article
  • Managing CFS/ME – friendly guidelines for people with the condition.
  • The NHS website says, Extreme tiredness and other physical symptoms can make it hard to carry out everyday activities.
  • ME Support is a UK national support group.

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.              See disclaimer.