Category Archives: Students

Web safety

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

Safe social networking

UK Safer Internet Centre have produced a handy guide for children, young people, parents and teachers, to on-line safety when using the social networking sites.        Click icon to view.        Also, here are some handy tips for parents.     (new)

Safety on-line

Click page icon for an encyclopaedia of on-line safety.       Their Safe internet use page has some handy bullet points for checking websites.        For example try clicking icons in web browser address bar – circled in red in example below.       The website information you get may vary according to which browser you use and browser extensions and addons in use.        (new

Before spending money or giving personal details a website needs to be checked.      This can be tricky, especially if they are not well known companies.        Here is an introduction to checking out a company in the UK, with links at the bottom.

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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.

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

Interest News – Tour de France

  • Tour de France: 2018:   This year Le Tour takes place Saturday July 6th to Sunday July 28th.        See  Official guide         For ITV4 coverage see  TV schedule          Daily highlights 7-8pm.
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  • Money for nothing – Dire Straits trubute band in Bourne, 12th Apr 2019.       Bourne CiCLE feltival men’s road race, 1st Sep.
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  • Queen on scheduled train:  This year, 2018, the queen caught a regular rail service to Norfolk for her Christmas break at Sandringham.        See pictures        In 2017 she recreated the first rail journey by a British monarch – Queen Victoria.
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  • Tour de France: 2018:   This year Le Tour takes place Saturday July 7th to Sunday July 29th, Did you know that one of the teams are using disc brakes on their bikes?
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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.

Sensory Sensitivity – Opticians

Quiet opticians

Lunettes in George Shopping Centre, GranthamNG31 6LH, offers SEND friendly eye care.       Click icon for more information.       (new)

Specsavers in Lincoln High Street, LN5 7DW, held its first quiet clinic on Sunday 6th August 2017, 10am until 4pm with the next one being on Sunday 3rd September and then the first Sunday of every month,         These clinics have been planned in consultation with local support groups such as Canadda and PAACT.       Click icon for more information.

Food challenges

Options Group have produced a helpsheet – Facing food challenges for those with autism & sensory processing differences.       The author is one of their specialist occupational therapists.        Click icon to view.

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Sensory differences

Click icon to see an article from the National Autistic Society.        They say that many people on the autism spectrum have difficulty processing everyday sensory information.

  • It covers many possibilities.
  • Senses may be over or under sensitive.
  • Look out for Too much information.

Haircut

There is no shortage of advice for coping with sensory sensitivity when getting a child’s hair cut.

A haircut technique

One barber has developed a unique technique where he will cut a child’s hair during long periods while sitting on the floor, on window sills or even in the car.            See article with video clip.

Going to the dentist

  • This article was written by an autism parent after a trip to the dentist.                 The first half of this is the How Did We Get Here part.          The second is How Can You Maybe Get Here part. 
  • Many of us dread the thought of visiting the dentist but for people with autism and/or learning difficulties it can be an especially challenging experience.                  See:  helpsheet

Sensory library

Linkage has a sensory toy library.           The Linkage Sensory Library is a new venture that will bring fun, learning and the therapeutic benefits of using sensory equipment to people with disabilities, including those with learning difficulties, across Greater Lincolnshire.             Click icon on the left for more information.           They have sites in Toynton, Grimsby and from September 2017, Lincoln.            They also have a touring bus.            See also website.

Ear plugs

Vibes are earplugs that are designed not to block outside noise, but to lower the volume.          Like many people with autism, Noah, From Ohio, hears noises much, much louder than the rest of us.          His father says Noah first tried them at a play, when he felt agitated by the noise.          See:  Vibes          FAQ         Amazon.            There are also alternatives.          Please be aware that GAIN is unable to vouch for any of the ear plugs.

SPD

Sensory Processing Disorder is the newest term for the condition that you may see  referred to using similar names like Sensory Integration Difficulties.            Click icon to find out about it.            See also:  What is SI?         ConferencesUK        Star Institute          What is SPD?          SPD and other disorders           Q & A – e.g.  UK mum

Stimming can be a useful coping mechanism for people with sensory sensitivies.        For coping with sensory overload see Why does that happen?.

Sensory issues

This booklet givers an occupational therapist’s view.     It addresses how to read the signs and coping strategies.

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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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Have you seen – Sesame Street?

Muppet

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Triumph of the nerds

This is the story of how Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and their mates changed the world of computers during the 1970’s and 80’s.       Also, how did the IBM PC come to be cloned?        Click play icons to watch the video of the TV series.        Click the page icon to read about what really happened when Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC.

Part 1             Part 2  

Surprisingly complicated

This is a comedy series shot on Staten Island, USA.         It is based on a mum’s experience of bringing up twin boys who have autism.        Click icon for the back story and a video preview.          Watch:  Episode 1       Episode 2.         See also their Facebook page.

If you spend time on Facebook regularly you might be able to save quite a bit of broadband usage – see our Using Facebook page.                 If you are not sure about the PAL DVD format see viewing options.

Autism Rocks

Meet the boys from UK’s premier autistic rock group The AutistiX.

See:  video           website

Chasing Shadows

How does someone with Asperger’s fare in the workplace?       This drama was shown on ITV in September 2014.          It might give you some idea.

It is a gritty drama about a maverick who starts work at a missing person’s unit.        You can view a trailer and a free rough and ready Youtube version of episode one.            See Youtube right margin for other episodes.              There is also a DVD version.

Holby City

Have you noticed the character Jason Haynes in the TV hospital drama series Holby City?         The National Autistic Society has been actively working with researchers, producers and writers.        Jason was introduced into the story line via his aunt Serena.  

The actor who plays Jason has a unique insight into what makes Jason Haynes such a special character, as he himself is a young man with Asperger’s.          See article.          In an interview he also highlights employment issues for people on the spectrum.

An oral history

Here is a brief animated video of a talk about her own development as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome that Temple Grandin gave at Colorado State University in 2008.                See article.

Atypical

Netflix has given a straight-to-series order to “Atypical,” a dark comedy about a family with an autistic son, set to star Jennifer Jason LeighVariety has confirmed.              “Atypical” landed an eight-episode order for the first season of the coming-of-age story that follows an 18-year-old with autism and his search for love and independence.                      See  Intoduction about Atypical.                     See also  viewing options  about Netflix.

Me and my Asperger’sFacbook small icon

A personal blog.         Life in a strange world.    Me!    They call me odd, huh.    Anyway welcome to my page.    Feel free to post comments, share your thoughts and/or page.”           Lincolnshire            Click icon to browse:

Temple Grandin

This film dramatises the life story of a lady with high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome who made an academic career for herself.            She has an unusual name, Temple Grandin.               See film Preview.               There are two options:

  1. See Amazon for the DVD of the film.
  2. Alternatively see Amazon Video and click the More Purchase Options link.               Then, unless you have a high-definition display chose the Buy Movie SD option.

The DVD may not be in stock at present so please be aware that on websites without UK in the address you may need to take care to get a version that plays in your machine.              See viewing options for information about DVD formats.

See also Speech & language for The Girl Who Thought in Pictures, an illustrated story book about Temple Grandin.

Doc Martin

This has proved a popular TV drama, with repeats showing on ITV1 or ITV3.      The signs of Asperger’s in the character of Dr Martin Ellingham are hard to miss.       They are outlined and analysed on this blogspot and you can see them illustrated with video clips from the TV series, explained with text.

Opinions differ, though, as in discussion 1 and more so in discussion 2.      Things are explained by the author.      It turns out that he was supposed to have the condition but to work on changing himself for the sake of his relationship with his wife and young son.      Also, the scripts are written for entertainment, so things will not be entirely realistic.

Roy Cropper

Have you seen Roy Cropper on Coronation Street?

He feels at home with trains, particularly steam engines from times past.   After Hayley’s passing, Stephen found him at a museum, where he showed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the early steam
engines on display.

Since his return to his flat, his friends have found him shut away with his model railway.        It obviously means a great deal to him.

The Wikia page for the Coronation Street character describes him as, remarkably intelligent, but socially naive.    The page also suggests that Roy has Asperger’s syndrome.      This has not stopped him from making a go of his life, though.

The actor who plays Roy is married to an additional needs teacher and she suggested giving Roy Asperger’s.     Doing so transformed him into a character with long term potential.

His life with Hayley has been an enduring and popular feature of the street.      Click on  slide show  for a quick review of their story.      On the slide show page, click on the row of miniature pictures of the couple under the large picture.      Left and right arrows will appear to scroll to more pictures.

Roy’s people skills are actually quite good in some respects.      He and Hayley earned Fiz Brown’s appreciation having  fostered  her.     He acted as a  mentor  to Fiz’s brother Chesney.     Anna Windass, who works in his cafe, also gets on well with him.      Recently she confided in him that she was carrying a secret that she felt unable to share with anyone and he advised her that it would eat her up if she did not tell her boyfriend, Owen.

Associated conditions

Mental health

The National Autistic Society has a page about mental health and autism.      Click page icon to view.        Also, Autistica has produced a help sheet about autism and mental health.         Click PDF icon to view.

Patients may be referred to a psychiatrist for associated mental health issues.        See NHS introduction.        Ambitious about Autism has produced a guide to making the most of an appointment.        (new)

Handwriting 

Options has produced a help sheet about developing early handwriting skills for children with autism.         Click icon to view.      (new)         See also:

  • Letter dominoes is a game that is easy to make yourself.
  • Here is a video tutorial setting out several aids – including pencil grips.        It offers insight into what does and does not work.
  • This video tutorial demonstrates the sock method of teaching proper pencil grip.
  • This video tutorial demonstrates writing 3 letters of the alphabet.        There are more related videos in the margin, too.
  • Some mums provide a sloping board/surface to write on.

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Alexithymia

A condition involving lack of empathy.         A difficulty in experiencing, expressing, and describing emotional responses.         Some with autism have this lack of empathy but many do not.        Click icon for an easy reading interview.        Professor Geoff Bird says that alexithymia and autism are independent of each other.

For detailed and definitive information see:  Alexithymia info 

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that mainly affects the way people read and spell words.        Click icon for an easy reading introduction.         Scroll down for comments.

  • For more detail, see  British Dyslexia Association  (BDA).         Includes FAQ.        They also have resources for parents.         And much more …
  • See Dislexia outreach for support in Lincolnshire.        They support parents, teachers, and pupils.
  • See also under handwriting aids below.

Demand avoidance

Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) – part of the autism spectrum.            Click page icon on the left for PDA society website and PDF icon for a PDA Society PowerPoint presentation.

Demand avoidance sounds similar to Oppositional defiance, so what is the difference?         In the PDF file above, page 29, it says that PDA is an autism spectrum disorder rooted in anxiety, whereas ODD is not.

Echolalia

  • Here is an introduction to echolalia.        Mimicry is an efficient way to experiment with different sounds and practice emerging social language skills. 
  • This article offers a medical analysis.        People with echolalia repeat noises and phrases that they hear.      They may not be able to communicate effectively because they struggle to express their own thoughts.         If they struggle to do anything other than repeat what has been said, they may have echolalia.         Some children with autism are regularly tested for this during their speech lessons.
  • Here is a more detailed article about echolalia with autism Even echolalia is a normal way to learn language.        Most children use echolalia to learn language.         The majority of children babble in a rhythmic way, which is actually mimicking the cadence of our language. 
  • In adults Echolalia should normally disappear around two and half years of age.         It is often considered abnormal if it persists beyond age 3 years.

Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is having difficulty learning to:     1. recognise and write letters and words       2.  link sounds, speech and writing.

  • For an easy reading introduction, see  About Health.           See links for more detailed information.
  • This dedicated Dysgraphia website has been written by a mother and university lecturer, and an undergraduate with dysgraphia.

Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a specific difficulty with arithmetic, or maths.

  • The Dyscalculia website looks pretty definitive.           It offers a handy introduction
  • For more information see Dyscalculia Talks.         It has articles to read as well as video clips to watch.
  • The Dyscalculia Conference website is aimed at professionals, but might be interesting to anyone teaching their own child at home.

Dyspraxia

A Developmental co-ordination disorder.

  • For an easy reading introduction, see  NHS Choices.          Scroll down for comments.
  • The Dyspraxia Foundation has a great deal to offer, including introductionchildren,   FAQ.         See also:  Home for helpline and  Local groups – including Leicstershire and Peterborough
  • You may be surprised to learn that it can affect speech, see Speech and Language.

Doc iconSpecific Learning Difficulties

SpLD is an umbrella term used to cover a range of frequently co-occurring difficulties, more commonly:

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia / DCD
  • Dyscalculia
  • D.D / A.D.H.D

Specific Learning Difficulties (or SpLDs), affect the way information is learned and processed. They are neurological (rather than psychological), usually run in families and occur independently of intelligence. They can have significant impact on education and learning and on the acquisition of literacy skills.

In general, a student may be diagnosed with a SpLD where there is a lack of achievement at age and ability level, or a large discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability.

See also an analytical view

Tourettes

Tourette’s syndrome is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics.        See introduction

  • Tourettes Action website seems to be the go-to place for all things Tourettes.        Click icon on the left to browse.         They have a Find support menu.
  • The Lincolnshire support group meets in Lincoln and Grantham.
  • Discussions :  Netmums         Tourettes & Aspergers
  • Facebook videos might be worth a look.

Swallowing difficulties

Click icon to view help sheet for people with Autism about Dysphagia by a speech and language therapist.

Epilepsy

Autistica has produced a help sheet about autism and epilepsy.         Click icon to view.  See also Epilepsy Action:  Website             Information           Help & support

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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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Take a break

Helpsheet

Options Group has produced a helpsheet about planning an autism-friendly holiday.

Wildside Venture

The Wildside Venture offers outdoor short breaks to adults with learning disabilities and autism.             The nearest to us is two nights of camping in The Great Yorkshire Forest.            Click thumbnail for details.           See also:  about         map           home                 (new)

Sand le mere

Sand le mere seaside holiday park has a sensory playroom.            The seaside holiday park near Withernsea has also provided a second room as a place of rest and comfort for parents … has a soft setting where parents can calm their children down.              See:  holiday village         find us         area map               Sand le mere holiday village, Tunstall, Yorkshire, HU120JN.

Disability LincolnshireSkegness pic01

Disability Lincolnshire offer subsidised short breaks.            This is for families living in Lincolnshire who have a child with a disability between 0 – 18 years of age.         Children can enjoy a holiday with or without their parents,           Click thumbnail to the right for more information about this specially adapted accommodation at Skegness.            There is a variety of activities on offer.

Magic Moments

Magic Moments have a caravan seven miles from Skegness.                PAACT support group says it has had good feedback about them.               It is available to any family affected by disability or illness.               Prices are discounted.              See also  website          Terms & conditions                (new)

Hesley HouseHesley House

Hesley House Cottages – self-catering for children with special needs, near Skegness.              For more information click here.

Thomas Centre

The Thomas Centre offers much sought after specialist holidays at their site near Louth, Lincolnshire.             It is located near to the coast.             Suitable for supported living or residential care providers.               For more information click on Thomas Centre ©.

Respite Association

The Respite Association is a charity that can help with the cost of respite care.           It is based near Spalding.               See their website.              To apply for help see  Contact Us          (01775) 820176           help@respiteassociation.org                They have published outlines of cases of families they have helped.

See also information sheet about autism-friendly holidays.

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Resources

NHS

The National Health Service website offers a guide to established medical opinion in the UK.        Click icon for their autism page.         In What is autism? they say that autism is not an illness or disease.         It means your brain works in a different way from other people.       The NHS carries out diagnosis of autism and treatment of related conditions.

Children’s therapy

Find out about NHS children’s therapy services in Lincolnshire, e.g.  information       guidance       FAQ          Click icon to browse.

Reforms

There has been some bad press about autistic children in mental health hospitals.       NHS reforms to address failings are on-going.         Click icon for an outline.

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Services

Here is an NHS booklet intended to be a good place to start for families to access appropriate support and services in Lincolnshire for children and young people with additional needs and complex difficulties / Autism Spectrum Disorders.        Click picture to download the booklet – at bottom of page.        Preview contents.

Phone iconClick  phone icon for a guide to all the services offered by the Council Customer Services Centre.        See also definitive Council contact information.         (new)

Family services directory

The Lincolnshire County Council on-line Family Services Directory is the go-to place to find out about services.        Click SEND icon below for the SEN and Disability section.         It covers services for children with disability as well as education – e.g.  Short breaks

The directory is likely to be the place with the most up-to-date information.         Service providers can update their own entries.        There are more menu options on their home page.        Click page icon on the right to see.

Council website

The Lincolnshire County Council website has many pages of information for parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disability.        Click icon to browse.        It includes Short breaks and ESCO.       Their website also has a Things to do page.

Council information about assessment and specialist services for children with a learning disability in Lincolnshire  comes under the heading Children with disabilities social care.       Click icon to browse.       Short breaks and either social care or direct payments may be available.        To find out how to arrange an assessment contact the Customer Service Centre on 01522 782 111.

This website also has:  Take a break       Activities & support       ESCO support

Helplines

Phone iconDoc iconThe National Autistic Society have an on-line form as well as a phone number.       But before you call or email check to see how they can help.        They are much in demand, so it might be worth a look.        See also  Specialist advice & information services.         See icons to the left for the next step.          The Specialist Advice and information services page presents parents, carers and people with autism with a list of their specialist services to choose from.        If the helpline is busy you could try their Find answer on-line page.

Phone iconChild Autism UK is an autism charity.         See website.         It used to be called Peach.         Click the phone icon to see how they might be able to help.

Phone iconThe Challenging Behaviour Foundation offers telephone and email support to family carers and professionals caring for children and adults with severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.

Childcare

Lincolnshire Family Information Services Looking for childcare?       Want to know if you can get help paying for childcare?       Want activities to do with your children?       Looking for children and family services?               We have lots of information for families, child carers and professionals …   

For specialist SEN helplines see SEN/EHC Support.              Also, do blogs and on-line communities sound interesting?            If so, see Tips and What is it like?.

CAMHS

Your Child’s GP might make a referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).        They are behind the Cinema on St Catherine’s Road in Grantham.

For official information see:      booklet         webpage         Grantham         referral guide
See also what the forums say:  referral         shambles        The replies are worth a look.       Those with good experiences may be less motivated to speak out on these forums, but if you look carefully you should find some.        Here is an insider’s view         (new)

One of our autism mums said,  I’ve had multiple dealings with CAMHS.   They can diagnose and prescribe medication so they offer a variety of help as well as behaviour management.    I find them excellent to deal with and they’ve been a fabulous support to us.

See also SEN support about the Lincolnshire Educational psychology service.

Lincolnshire Carers Service

The Lincolnshire Carers Service is a partnership between Lincolnshire County Council and Carers FIRST.        This service includes parents of children.          First point of contact is the County Council’s Customer Service Centre:   01522 782 224  or  carersservice@lincolnshire.gov.uk         Click icon for the range of support for carers.

Carers FIRST is the new name for Carers connect.         They provide emotional and practical support, advice, information, guidance and offer statutory carer assessments, social groups, short break respite, activities trips and more.        Click icon for an introduction to Carers FIRST.        Phone the number above to access Carers FIRST services.

For more information see:  introduction        website         out of hours        history

Homestart

Home-Start Lincolnshire are here to help – for free.       If you are a family with young children in need of a helping hand – we’ve got a trained volunteer who will offer friendship, emotional and practical support through weekly home visits for as long as is needed
Click icon to view their website.         See also: support      Grantham       other local contacts             01507 308 030             enquiries@homestartlincolnshire.co.uk

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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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Special Interests – synthesizer

Synthesizer tracks

The synthesizer was invented by Robert Moog.       Click icon for a video history of the Mini Moog.         (new)

John Michelle Jarre did a lot to popularise synthesizer music with his first album Oxygene.       This is the signature track, that many people will have heard, even if they do not have the album.        It has a catchy tune.

Genesis‘ progressive rock featured synthesized keyboard on a big scale.        You can hear the keyboards particularly well one of their instrumental tracks.

Giorgio Moroder is probably less well known, but he was producing synthesizer music at that time too.       Would you believe that From here to eternity came out in 1977?         It sounds very futuristic, even today.        He has recently released a new album, called 74 is the new 24.        Here is a video clip with fun graphics.

Rick Wakeman has been producing sythesiser music since 1969.          Here is Anne Boleyn.

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Is there anything here that looks interesting.       One or two new interests could be worth having.

The bigger picture

If you like to find fresh thinking then these might be worth a look.

  • Stumbling and mumbling – thoughts about current affairs.       Well considered opinion with links to intelligent analysis.
  • Science of the soul – about Daniel Dennett.        Perhaps he could be described as a curious rationalist with a love of life.         Also, click play button for his thoughts on the nature of consciousness.

Comet landing

A space probe robot, named Philae, landed on a comet in November 2014.        The space craft that carried the probe was the first to orbit a comet as well as the first to land something on a comet’s surface.        It has sent back many photos.       The aim is to find out more about what comets do in space.          The landing did not go to plan, though.        The probe bounced and ended up in a dark valley, so it could not get enough energy from the sun to carry on working after the battery ran out.       Here is a short video about the landing.       The video on this page provides an update from the following day.          A few days later scientists announced that carbon, vital for the creation of life, had been detected on the comet.

The lander re-established contact in June 2015 after the comet moved nearer to the sun and Philae’s  batteries recharged sufficiently.              In February 2016, however, scientists gave up hope of re-establishing contact.              See farewell to Philae.

Asteroids are like comets but you can see a tail trailing behind a comet.           Asteroids do not have a tail.

Chernobyl aftermath

Have you ever wondered what has become of the area surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear
disaster?

  • The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel
  • The damaged reactor is now enclosed in a large concrete shelter which was erected quickly (by October 1986) to allow continuing operation of the other reactors at the plant
  • In the early 1990s, some $400 million was spent on improvements to the remaining reactors at Chernobyl, considerably enhancing their safety.
  • New safe confinement is due to be completed in 2017.           It is being built next to the reactor and will be moved into place on rails.
  • In the last two decades there has been some resettlement of the areas evacuated in 1986 and subsequently.
  • Since 1989, over 1000 nuclear engineers from the former Soviet Union have visited Western nuclear power plants and there have been many reciprocal visits.
  • See official World Nuclear record for more information.                It is the source for the bullet points above.
  • Burying Chernobyl  –  Can the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986 be made safe without risking the health of those involved in the task?               Listen via BBC iPlayer.

See also  Recovery & development.

Catherine TateCatherine Tate

Catherine Tate is a very popular comedian.             Chances are you have seen her on TV.             In this video clip, Lauren, one of Catherine’s characters, takes her bad attitude into her  French Exam.             Another of her characters then appears in Albert Square for a Children in Need  Eastenders Special.

She is actually quite well adjusted in real life, which goes to show what a good actor she is.          See an interview in her dressing room, or maybe just a bit of it.          Here are a few  pictures  of her, too.           Some aspies may like doing performance art.

High Speed RailHS2 map01

A new railway line from London to Birmingham and beyond is planned.         It will be called, High Speed 2 (HS2).        Click map to enlarge.

High Speed 1 is the line from London to the Channel Tunnel (HS1).         See below under
Eurostar.           Since the HS1 line was built, commuters from Ashford, not far from the
tunnel, have been able to get to London in a fraction of the time they could before.

Local news for Leicestershire covered a story about HS2 in 2013.          See video clip and click on picture of train to watch.          They say that the effect of HS2 on Leicestershire might be similar, when the new line is in use, to that of HS1 on Kent.           The Birmingham station will not be very far from Leicester.

Not everyone is happy about spending a great deal of money on HS2 to get more people to their work in London, but HS1 has helped to make homes more affordable for commuters.          The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, says that the new line will also help to make the north of the country more prosperous, though others say it will not do much to help with this.          See the Chancellor’s article for links to articles that question the wisdom of the HS2 plan.

Kevin & Perry

Have you seen Harry Enfield’s teenage pair Kevin and Perry?        Teenage characteristics are exaggerated for comic effect.

In one sketch Kevin’s parents try giving him a taste of his own medicine, in  Reverse psychology, but it backfires badly.         Another sketch features Kevin’s school Parents’ evening.            Kevin’s attitude to his teachers could be both interesting and entertaining.

Shine on you crazy diamond

Pink Floyd’s song Shine on you crazy diamond was a tribute to former band member Syd Barrett.          It starts quietly and showcases the band’s keyboard and guitar work.         Click play button to hear it.

Barrett wandered into the studio while the band was recording Wish You Were Here, the album that features this piece.          He had drastically changed his appearance, and the band members did not recognise him for some time.          When they eventually did, Roger Waters was so distressed he was reduced to tears.           Perhaps you could say that with this escapade he lived up to the line in the song, You outstayed your welcome with random precision.         Click Information to find out more about this piece.

Here is an introduction to Syd Barrett’s contribution to the early years of Pink Floyd, including some of his best songs. 

Is Formula 1 going green?

This year things have changed more than usual.     Under the  2014 rules  there is a fuel limit.     Cars are using hybrid technology, which helps them to work within that fuel limit.      An electric motor helps to slow the car when braking, which  generates electricity  to be stored in a battery and re-used when accelerating.      This makes the cars  more responsive when accelerating and saves fuel.       Less fuel means less weight, which saves more fuel.

The Red Bull team has won the past 4 years’ Constructor’s Championship titles, but this year  Mercedes  is leading.    Here is a  video explaining the secret of their success.       Don’t worry if you do not understand everything very well.      It is not all that easy to follow.

Red Bull’s James Newey is critical of F1’s new green credentials.        Also Mercedes’ Sebastian Vettel says that the noise of the race is not as good as it used to be.        Many fans agree .

The wedding of the year!Wedding

After nearly ten years together, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally tied the knot on the 23rd August 2014 at their French country house.       It has been reported that Brad and Ange used the opportunity of their wedding to raise some serious cash for good causes.

Brad and Angelina knew there would be tremendous interest in their wedding pictures, and decided to
donate the money to their charitable foundation.      The couple have done this numerous times in the past.      The pair previously sold the first photographs of their 6-year-old twins for $14million back in 2008, and donated every penny of that too.

They really are just the perfect couple, aren’t they?        Her gown was made by Atelier Versace and bore more than a passing resemblance to a classic Disney princess gown.      The satin gown featured a ruched top and corseted bodice over a full skirt but it was her veil that stole the show.        It’s little surprise that the Jolie-Pitt kids played a huge part in their parents’ big day but mum Ange went one step further by letting them design her veil.

Eurostar

Do you know much about Eurostar?        It is a high speed train that takes passengers from London to Paris and from London to Brussels, in Belgium.    It goes along a new line called High Speed 1 from central London to the Chanel Tunnel.   When the Chanel Tunnel opened Eurostar had to use the old line to Waterloo station.   It was much slower and more congested than the dedicated high speed line linking Paris to the tunnel.

A Eurostar train set a new British speed record of 208.0 mph on the first section of High Speed 1 shortly before it opened on 30 July 2003.

The second and final phase was opened in 2007.     It allows trains to travel at speeds of 186 mph.  The combined effect of both phases was to cut Eurostar journey times by 40 minutes.   It is now possible to travel from London to Paris by train in 2 hours 15 minutes.

It now carries more passengers to Paris and Brussels than all airlines put together.     It does this with about 90% less carbon dioxide emissions than the airlines.

For more detail see  Eurostar  and  Eco-Express .       For more pictures see  Pictures .

How do you like your guitar?

  • Here are some rock guitar tracks.        Imagine a huge outdoor rock concert.       Now listen to Arena Rock, by Steve Morse.
  • Then there is the more thoughtful  Turn the Page by Metallica.           Going back further, there is Eric Clapton’s classic rock song Layla.        This recording features the drummer, Phil Collins from the band Genesis.
  • A new generation of young ladies has started playing rock guitar.      Here is The Trouper by Iron Maiden.    It is fast and furious, and it is played for us by a couple of guitarists from the all female tribute band  The Iron Maidens.
  • This one might sound more technical, Morning Star by Vinnie Moore, played for us by a teenage boy.         He has even managed to make up a little bit himself.           Here is The original, in case you want to compare.
  • Have you heard of classical/rock crossover?         This track is called April Sky.       Guitarist, Vinnie Moore has brought a couple of classical pieces up to date.

On a mobile phone

Perhaps the one thing you need to know about browsing the GAIN website on a mobile phone is that the main menu is accessed by tapping the three bar icon at the top of the display.       It is circled in red on the screen print below.

Using the menu

The GAIN website menu system when on a mobile phone may be a bit unusual, so this page walks you through an example of its use.

Tap or click the three bar icon circled above and the menu appears, taking up a large part of the display below.

Tap or click the down arrow icon circled in red as in the screen print above.        A number of new menu items appear under the Welcome item, as shown below.

Tap or click the words About us.       The menu disappears and the page is displayed as shown below.

Now tap or click the three bar icon at the top of the display to show the menu again.       Only the top level menu options are now showing.

Tap or click the down arrow next to Welcome again – circled in red above.         The next level re-appears.         The down arrow has now been replaced by an up arrow – circled in red below.

Now, if you were to decide that you do not want any of those additional items you could tap or click the up arrow icon next to the Welcome menu item.        Then the extra items under Welcome would disappear, as shown below.

Right menu

There is another menu icon on the right hand side of the screen.        It is circled in red below:

Tap or click it and you get the menu shown below:

It offers shortcuts to this menu guide for mobile phones, this site’s event calendars and links to the most recent page updates on this site.

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Personal reflections

Letting in the light

People in social situations may wonder about the unusual behaviours of people with non-verbal autism.        Click icon for article.        See also blog

A generational story

Cadence is on her way to school with her mother.       They meet a man called Bill from a care home nearby.        Click icon to find out what happens next.

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Adult diagnosis

Here is a discussion that starts with a surprising diagnosis of Autism at the age of 16.       It goes on to consider issues of identity with borderline Asperger’s.

They thought I was lazy …

They thought I was lazy…when I was just actually autistic.       This is one of many perceptive reflections on life through one female Asperger’s lens.         Click icon for article.

Socially acceptable

The writer shares some difficulties he experiences trying to mix socially with neurotypical people.       Click icon for article.

What is Neurotypical?

Writers often ask “What is Asperger’s Syndrome?”       The boot is on the other foot in this article.        For example, it may be difficult to get an opinion from a Neurotypical person.        Click icon for article.

The decline and fall of “autism”

A mother of two children with profound developmental impairments questions Simon Baron-Cohen’s description of autism as a variant like left-handedness or homosexuality.       Click icon for article.

All a bit autistic?

No, we are not all a little bit autistic.       Click icon for article.

Stranger darker better

Here is a message to all the self-diagnosed autistic people.        Click icon for article.        It concludes, Trust yourself.     Trust the research you’ve done.  …      Self-diagnosis grants us access to our community and resources to help us live better lives and self-understanding that can radically change how we live.       See also about Sabrina.

Talk normally please

Ido is non-verbal but this does not stop him from keeping a blog.         In his mother’s guest post she says,  I thought, “Okay, say something now before this becomes a pattern and he becomes insulted.”      As tactfully as I could, I mentioned to her that Ido doesn’t like “high five.” He wants to be spoken to normally.  …      Regularly, Ido gets letters from parents telling him that they now speak normally to their child with autism, thanks to his advice, and that their child is responding positively.        Click icon for article.

Bob Christian

A father, husband, and poet on the autism spectrum.        His favourite poets are spoken word artists like Neil Hillman.         Click icon to see his profile.        See blog for more contributors to Learn from Autistics.          See also Poems.

Why do you do that?

  • All my fingers in perfect order moving in a rhythmic order its calming to me like the sight of a quiet ocean gently coming in and out to shore.
  • Having all the same foods creates less anxiety and means I don’t have to starve myself.
  • Without those plans I have no idea what to expect or whats going on, I depend on those plans to live and without them I just fall apart.

Click icon to read article.

Autism’s Resident Experts

This article it titled, Oh, the Autistic Humanity … of Neurotypical Rejection of Autism’s Resident Experts.          Perhaps the nub of the article is,  I mean, we’re right here, in all our autistic glory, with tons of insight and experience just waiting to be tapped. …     Yet, we’re pushed to the side, and research and conversations march on without us.          The author describes herself a former social scientest because, I believe, based on my own observations, that it’s impossible for any of us to interact with others and not be personally affected / involved.      Humans are not built that way, and pretending otherwise just seemed like a big ole exercise in but-we’re-really-a-science! hubris.            Clickicon to read article.

Proud to be

This is my first April as an autistic person.       I know I’m autistic and I know Charles is too, but I also know now that we are not lost.        Click icon to see.

Understanding the spectrum

The title of this article is, Why I Want More People To Understand That Autism Is A Spectrum.         The author writes, When I speak to others I often get, “Oh, you have autism? I would have never known.” That is something many of us have to face on the spectrum.             Click the icon on the left to read the article

Doc iconTrying to blend in

Passing is not good for your mental health.        It teaches us to have shame in who we are.       It gives a message that we are not good enough.

Passing takes up so much of an autistic person’s limited social energy that we go home and have sensory meltdowns the minute we can be alone.         When I was a child – and even now with work – I could hold things together through the school day but would come home and fall apart.

Of battered aspect

Doing damns the darkness.          Every now and then I am reminded, with a shock, that the world isn’t what it used to be for many people with intellectual disabilities.

Heightened senses

An adult on the spectrum wants others to see where she is coming from.        Click picture to read her essay.

They may not always understand exactly what you’re saying or where you are coming from when you explain things to them, as they themselves are in a different reality completely, only connected to yours when the waves are crossed and you can look through their eyes with both understanding and patient communication, the thing many struggle with.

Dear autism parent …

This is a wide ranging letter from someone with autism to autism parents, with comments at the bottom of the page.         I decided, aged 36, to request an assessment for autism because things have not been easy for me.      You see, there’s lots about my autism that isn’t visible.      And yet, my experience of the world shares some similarities with that of your child.             The author calls herself Mamma Pineapple.

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