Category Archives: Students

Interest News

  • Gratham college is offering free adult learning courses.      They include leisure and community courses.       There are also some distance-learning options.       See: article  (2022)
  • Tour de France: 2022:   This year Le Tour takes place Friday Jul 1st to Sunday July 24th.       See  Official guide .      Daily highlights 7-8pm.       To stream tour stages see  ITV hub.     new        See viewing options if ITV Hub is not working well.
  • Money for nothing – Dire Straits trubute band in Bourne, 12th Apr 2019.       Bourne CiCLE feltival men’s road race, 1st Sep.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • General election, Thursday 8th June 2017 – Easy read manifestos
  • 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         Froome on 2016
  • 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.
  • “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.
  • 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.
  • A NASA space probe sped past Pluto in July 2015.      See: article – with pictures from the probe and illustrations.
  • 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.

About Us

Grantham Autistic Information Network (GAIN) is dedicated to supporting parents and carers of children and young people on the autistic spectrum.       It is a not-for-profit voluntary group based in the market town of Grantham, in the rural county of Lincolnshire, in the British Isles.        It is Tax Registered as a Charity with HMRC.

Our story

Our founder member, Jane Emery recognised the absence of  one-to-one support for those struggling with (or without) a diagnosis of this condition.       She became our first GAIN chair, when she set up the support group in 2006.

After Jane stepped down, due to ill health, Christine Barrs was promoted to serve for several years as chair.      With the help of her committee,  Christine did a great deal to put GAIN on the map.      There was Picnic in the paddock each autumn, a Christmas party each year and quite an extensive series of speaker meetings from people involved with autistic support.      She put a lot into building the team that took over from her, standing down in 2013. 

Edward Mayes was then elected as chair and developed our range of events for children, which he had already started with cinema screenings.       See events for more about these.

Our events

Mainstream events are not always suitable for children with autism.       Click icon to find out why we put on events.

Some of the venues provide support for children with autism in their personal development.       We held coffee mornings at Belton Lane children’s centre before Covid, and other events at Ambergate sports college a good few years ago.       We keep in touch with both of them.
See events for other venues.

Our donors

Thanks to all our kind donors, including:  Autism Support Network 2021     Harrowby Utd      Fox & Hounds      Newton House Nursery     Start Right Nursery      Sunrise Rotary      Meridian Daylight Lodge      Sleaford Funday     Girl Guides     Co-op branch     Firefighters     Walt Disney Cinema.

Thanks also to our individual donors.

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Click preview to view our 2022 introductory poster.       See also:  Events updates











Specialist Services

Options Autism

This is the new name for Options Group.      They accept referrals for specialist autistic services in North Lincolnshire.      They offer:


NHS services

Lincolnshire NHS offers a range of services to support people over 18 with learning disabilities and/or autism  in the community.      Click icon for their web page.      The Lincolnshire Family Services directory has a series of pages covering that range of services .       See: Introduction and notice links to specific services at the bottom.

Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists may be able to help children and adults on the autism spectrum with sensory issues.       Where can they be found?       Click icon to help find out.

Floating services

Framwork’s floating support aims to promote the kind if skills and confidences needed for young people aged 18-25 in Lincoln to live independently.      Self-referrals can be made.      Click icon for more information.

Cauldwell Autism Services

Cauldwell Children’s Centre was opened at  Keele Science & Innovation Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 5NT, in 2019.      Click icon to find out about autism services.        The page has a service guide download.       Autism services cater for ages 4 – 11.      See also:  Home       FAQ      apply       map.

Family graffiti 

Before Covid, Family Graffiti was putting on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based workshops in Sleaford and Boston for parents – including those with an autistic child.       Children learn via their cognitive process.    They are constantly receiving and retaining information from everything they see, do, hear, witness, touch, taste… but children are psychologically ‘tuned in’ with their primary carer.    Therefore, cognitive behavioural therapy is quicker, more effective and longer lasting when it is delivered via the parent.       Click icon to see if anything is happening now.


The National Autistic Society (NAS) Early Bird Programme is a three-month programme designed to help parents and carers understand their child’s autism and find ways to communicate, interact and generally make contact.       See Family support to find out more.


Advance offers support and housing across Lincolnshire for young people with a learning disability.       Their support is primary delivered in the Boston area.       Anyone can contact them.

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 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,

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:

Short breaks

Lincolnshire County Council has a Short breaks team.

Education, training & volunteering

For ages 16-19 (24)  see:  College & University        Colleges


  •  Fish 4 Development offer training courses in Skellingthorpe, East of Lincoln – including ITC skills, like MS Word.       See website.
  • Gratham college is offering free adult learning courses.      They range from professional and technical to leisure and community courses.       There are also some distance-learning options.       See: article  (2022)       new
  • With learndirect you can learn online.      They offer courses in ITC basics for example.      See also: Contact us       website


Volunteering might offer opportunities to gain experience.      Click icon on the left for the Do it volunteering website.      There may not be many opportunities for under 18’s.       The advanced search option helps to narrow things down.

Here is the website for the Lincolnshire Community Volunteer Service (CVS).       Their South Kesteven office is in Grantham.       They can take you through opportunities on the Do it website.        At LCVS we understand taking the first steps into anything new can be daunting, volunteering included.       That is why we do everything we can to support you through the process. Extra support and mentoring may be available in your area.


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)  are said to offer a  way to acces higher (University) educatuion free of charge.      The University of Derby offer a few such courses for example.

The claims made for MOOCs are being questioned, though.      This looks like a well considered review.


Web links

If a text link has a line through it like this, .  it means that the link might be broken.     That is the page might not be there anymore.

PDF files

When you click a PDF icon the text may sometimes appear uneven, as shown on the right.       Simply click the   icon at the top of the display once or twice and it should become much more readable.

The icon above is by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

This  version of the Icon is by Ethandcltd – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Site safety

Security plugins

This site uses the WordPress website development system.      It benefits from the rich choice of security plugins available.     The development of the WordPress core system and plugins is an on-going process, and they are regularly updated.

This site has one of the better security plugins which is updated more often than most.       The developer encourages the active engagement of the site administrator in setting up the plugin.      It provides the site with an extra layer of protection against unauthorised tampering from hackers.  .

Visitor identity

This site collects very little visitor data.       Click thumbnail to see the data held about visitors by the statistics plugin used on the site.       It is pretty anonymous.

This site does not ask for any visitor identification – such as name or email address.       The facility for visitors to this site to leave comments is switched OFF, which makes it easier to keep it safe.       It avoids the need for visitors to log in.

You can leave comments on our Facebook or Twitter  pages.       See Contact us for our email address.

Zoom in

If the mouse pointer turns into the magnifying glass icon above on a picture or image just click to zoom in.


Pixabay is the source of many of the images on this website.       Hover over image to see credits.       Image file names often include credits as well.

Error messages

On rare occasions visitors to this website may get an error message like the one on the left, for example.      This is a problem at the computer centre that hosts our website.        It does not mean there is a problem with your computer.       It might be wise to wait an hour or so before trying to view the GAIN website again.       Everything should be fine before too long.

Have you seen?

The good doctor

This is a TV series from the USA.      It is about Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism.      It started in 2017.      Click icon for trailer.      More extracts:  Airport scene       Video clips        The series:  Introduction        Watch in UK


See also TV/Radio blog          Viewing options

Hannah Gadsby

Hannah Gadsby is an Australian comedian who talks about her autism in her act.       Click play button for a video clip about a classroom experience.       See also: Wikipedia


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 video icon for a list of episodes on Youtube.

Also, click article to read about what really happened when Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC.

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 probably find a free version via Google starting with: Chasing Shadows – Part 1.       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.


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 from Lincolnshire.      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.”       Click icon to browse:

Temple Grandin

Here is a film dramatising 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.        Click icon for preview.

For the complete film, see Amazon Video and click the More Purchase Options link.      Then, unless you have a high-definition display chose the Buy Movie SD option.

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.      Click play button to watch.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures

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 a video clip from the TV series.

Opinions differ, though, as in discussion 1 and more so in discussion 2.       According to the series author, 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 Fandom 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.

Topical information

Moving House

Children on the autistic spectrum can find the idea of moving house unsettling, but there are things could do that might help.      Click icon for an easy reading guide for parents.

Here are some basics from a support group in Philadelphia.       It links to a more detailed guide.

Using social stories seems to be widely recommended and are said to be helpful to all young children with autism.      Here is a social story template for children from Kidsmunicate – the speech therapy people, also in the Philadelphia.       They also offer an accompanying guide to making your own social story.


For key websites see Information.

Simon Baron-Cohen

Here is a nuanced article about Simon Baron-Cohen’s views on autism, written in 2011.       He is a professor and director of Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre.        Click icon to view.

In this more recent article from 2020, the emphasis seems to have shifted a bit from understanding and addressing difficulties with autism to setting out the potential of the autistic mind.       It reviews the book in which he describes autistic people as pattern seekers.

Lincolnshire Autism Partnership

The LAPB is designed to try and improve support for autistic people.       Have your say.      Click icon for more information.       See also history        Email:        They launched a monthly newsletter Autism Lincs early 2017.       See Issue 1 and click Past Issues at top left of screen to find all issues.    

GP register

NICE is recommending that GPs in England keep a register of patients with autism in order to improve the care they receive.      The guidance from NICE needs to be accepted by NHS England before it is put into practice in GP surgeries in England.       See also NICE.

For those worried about data security see Should people register?        The information is stored at the NHS data centre and can only be seen with permission.        People have to explain why they need your information and what they plan to do with it.       This means that agencies such as social services, schools etc should not have access to this information.

Carers UK

Carers UK is a charity which works to help carers by providing information, advice, support and by campaigning for change.       Click icon for their website.

  • They offer a wide range of Help & advice  including information on the range of financial support that is available to carers through the benefit system.
  • For information about Carer Support specifically for carers of children under 18 and young carers see Carer Assessments.
  • For more detaied information see resources.        Having the right information at the right time can make a huge difference for the carer and the person they care for.
  • Have a look at Talk to us about their Advice line including advice line hours:     0808 808 777.

For information specifically for carers of adults see adult Care & Support.

Family Court

If you need legal support for a case about your child, maybe to do with care or adoption, you may want to know about CAFCAS.        It stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.      Their website has menus for both Young people and Grown-ups.        Click icon to browse.

Here are some Top tips for dealing with CAFCAS from Net Mums.       Also, it might also be worth bearing in mind that the people at CAFCAS may not know how to deal with a child on the autistic spectrum.      This link to the National Autistic Society web page  About autism  could be useful if you wanted to print off some explanations that might help them to understand your child.

Things seem to have Improved according to Ofsted since 2008, when they found Progress inadequate,      The Guardian reported on apparent Success in 2012 of a management initiative to make the “health and wellbeing of social workers a priority in the workplace”, which, the Guardian said, includes CAFCAS.     Then in 2018 Ofstead published a glowing report.


This UK based website offers a wealth of information.       It is a national charity that strives to improve the lives of children with neurological conditions, through research, information and direct, on-going support.       Click icon for their website.      They have an Advice & support page.       Topics include legal, education and emotional

They also produce a toolkit that aims to support disabled people and carers, as well as their families and advisers, who are encountering difficulties with the statutory agencies in relation to the provision of healthsocial care and education support services.       It was developed at Cardiff Law School.       Click icon to view.

Learning Disability Partnership

The Lincolnshire Learning Disability Partnership Board aims to make sure that different people, organisations and agencies work together to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.       Board members include: people with a learning disability, parents and carers.

Click icon for more about them.       Email:        01522 706 580       This group is quite separate from the Lincolnshire Autism Partnership.

Different not less

Steve Silberman puts some flesh on the bones of this slogan with hard-headed analysis and vision.       Click icon to view article.        It has a 14 minute video at the bottom of the page that explains his thinking.

Not getting out


Just a quick tip:  perhaps you could try using one of the following statements:

  1. “I can be anxious and still deal with the situation.”
  2. “I’ll just let my body do its thing. This will pass.”
  3. “This anxiety won’t hurt me, even if it doesn’t feel good”.
  4. “This feeling isn’t comfortable or pleasant, but I can accept it.”


Click icon to find out how others have found their way through panic attacks.        Also, someone with high-functioning Asperger’s describes their own experience dealing with anxiety.

More detailPanic attacks etc

  • What is the range of symptoms?
  • Can people with high functioning Asperger’s be severely effected by
    anxiety?      It seems so:
    – High functioning autism is associated with anxiety disorder.
    – A discussion of the link between high IQ and anxiety
  • Here are some tips on tackling fear from Psychology Today.      new
  • Can virtual reality help with not getting out?      Video           Text           Research

Learning a new skill

How do you learn to go out of the house when you’ve got agoraphobia?      Click icon to listen to a radio interview with Ellie.


The NHS section on not getting out, or Agoraphobia, gives us a pretty clear picture of  established scientific opinion.      Click icon to browse.      There is a link to treatment – including self-help tips.

National autistic society

Searching the National Autistic Society site for agoraphobia leads to a page on anxiety.     Although it is aimed at professionals It may provide some useful context.      Click icon to view.      Under the sub-heading Are autistic people more likely to be anxious? they include fear of open spaces and crowds.

They also have a handy article on Anxietyy in autistic adults.       It provides links for autistic adults and parents.


Sensory Sensitivity

Sensory processing disorder

Sensory processing disorder is another name for the condition referred to using similar names like Sensory integration difficulties.      Click page icon  to find out about it from Sensory integration education.       Click PDF icon for their guide to accessing a practitioner.      See also  about us  for their UK academic partnership,       updated

  • The Star institute, USA,  has a couple of concisely presented pages:   What is SPD?       SPD and other conditions  – such as autism.
  • SPD was developed out of Sensory integration.      SPD has some additional elements.        Have a look at:  The difference     new
  • Stimming can be a useful coping mechanism for people with sensory sensitivities.      For coping with sensory overload see Why does that happen ?

Online resource

The Sensory Processing Disorder website seems to have an international reach.       For example see:  UK mum.      Click icon for an introduction.      See:  Q & A  for the question and answer page, then scroll down for previous posts.      You can post a question of your own if it has not already been answered.      See also:  About      new

Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists may be able to help children and adults with sensory issues.       Where might they be found?       Click icon to help find out.


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.
  • Therapies are listed at the bottom
  • Further reading too

Too much information

The National Autistic Society ran a public information campaign from 2015-18 called too much information.       It addressed concerns surrounding autistic people becoming overwhelmed with too much for their minds to process.       Click icon for the full picture.       It may help to validate your own experience.

Food challenges

Options Autism has 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.       Options Autism is the new name for Options Group.

Quiet opticians

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

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.


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

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.        Click icon for a helpsheet from Options autism

Also, 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. 

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.

This website


This website aims to point people to sources of information and support that might help with the following:

  • Parents and carers may want to find out about the nature of the autistic spectrum.
  • They may be looking for ways to support their children or young people in coping with the challenges of life and in reaching their potential.
  • Experiences of other parents and carers may help in getting a better idea of how things work.




Finding your way

This menu image shows the menu path for the page you are now viewing:  Welcome -> This website – highlighted in blue.

Not all of the pages on this site are shown in the navigation menus, though.       Some are reached from a link on another page – quite often using the icon on the right.       They have no menu highlighting.       It might be helpful to go back to a previous page to see where you are.

See also:  Menu guide       site map

Update previews

Click icon to catch up with the latest changes to the website.       There are four categories to choose from.       The display shows the first couple of lines of each page.