2010 Presentations

This page about Autscape 2010 is of historical interest only. Go to the home page for current information.



  1. How balancing senses can improve quality of life in Autism (Nusrat-ul Hussan)
  2. Is multisensory integration altered in autism? (Emma Gowen)
  3. Stress in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Dr. Mark Brosnan)
  4. Music (Katja Gottschewski)
  5. Autistic self-mastery: The role of e-health systems in enhancing quality of life (Rudi Harmse)
  6. Supporting autistic students at university (Bryan Coleman)
  7. If we want the job done right... best to do it ourselves! (Rob Edwards)
  8. Autism-friendly strategies for coping with eating disorders (Vicky)

Verbal workshops:

  1. Adressing anxiety with meditation and/or CBT (Caroline Hearst)


How balancing senses can improve quality of life in Autism

Presenter: Nusrat-ul Hussan

Download: Presentation slides - SI Dysfunction Checklist - Balancing Senses - Handout

Description: We explore or learn about the world around us through sensory experiences.

Sensory system is vital for survival, growth, development and the experience of bodily pleasure.

As commonly known, our senses are: Touch - Taste - Smell - Hearing - Vision. We have many more senses than that. Broadly, we can divide the senses into internal and external senses,

The ‘sense of well-being’ is a sense too, but an internal one, which can be observed when all our senses both internal and external work together to give us a dependable view of the world. This is possible by the process of Sensory Integration.

Sensory integration is the neurological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. (Ayres, 1979)

Children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) respond to sensory experiences differently from those without ASD and can manifests as a sensory deficiency or a sensory overload. So individual with ASD uses either self-stimulation or self-avoidance to restrict or avoid certain inputs e.g. holding hands on ears to restrict certain sounds.

Sensory integration therapy can be provided as a balanced sensory diet through multi sensory inputs, as a planned, controlled activities in accordance with the person’s specific sensory needs. The purpose of a sensory diet is to provide sensory experiences throughout the day in order to help the person to maintain a functional level of arousal, which is necessary for learning, to perform activities of daily living and to participate in society in a productive way.

Is multisensory integration altered in autism?

Presenter: Emma Gowen

Download: Presentation slides

Description: The ability to combine information from different senses, termed multisensory integration, is key to making sense of the world around us. In this talk, I will dicuss whether there is evidence for altered multisensory intergration in autism and how this may relate to sensory symptoms. I will also present some preliminary data from our lab examining integration between vision and touch.

Stress in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presenter: Dr. Mark Brosnan

Download: Presentation slides

Description: We all respond to stress many times a day and the nature of this response impacts upon our health and wellbeing. 'Cortisol' is known as the stress hormone and inappropriate responses to stress (e.g. too little or too much cortisol) can have a negative effect upon our wellbeing. This presentation outlines research relating to the cortisol stress response in people with ASD and its relationship to an insistence upon sameness behaviour.


Presenter: Katja Gottschewski

Download: Presentation slides

Description: This is a practice-oriented presentation about the role of music in our lives. I am going to talk about different functions of music that can enhance our life quality, like self-expression, communication and relaxation. I will also talk about what is out there for people who want to explore those functions more fully, for example music lessons, musical ensembles or music therapy. While a big part of my presentation will apply to ACs and NTs alike, I will also address some autism-specific issues, and how music can be a tool to facilitate interaction and understanding between ACs and NTs.

Autistic self-mastery: The role of e-health systems in enhancing quality of life

Presenter: Rudi Harmse

Download: Presentation slides

Description: With healthcare systems around the world struggling to cope with the level of need in the various communities, e-health has emerged as a method to provide an increased range of services while still being cost effective and focused on the individual consumers’ needs. This lecture will consider the potential ways that e-health systems could impact the quality of life of individuals with an ASD. The desirability of a person-centered methodology which can provide the means for the individual to strengthen their social support network while providing support that is tailored to the specific needs without sacrificing individual control during the process is discussed. The important role that individual autistics should play in such a system is also considered.

Supporting autistic students at university

Presenter: Bryan Coleman

Download: Presentation slides

Description: This lecture is about what is happening at the University of Manchester to provide support and adjustments for autistic students. The university has an arrangement with NAS Prospects to provide mentorship and pastoral care for students and to provide autism awareness training for staff. Bryan provides advocacy and communication assistance for disabled students, acting as a liaison and making sure students' needs are met at the university and through Disabled Students Allowance.

If we want the job done right... best to do it ourselves!

Presenter: Rob Edwards

Download: Article

Description: We all know what it's like not to be understood. Never is it more frustrating than when we deal with health or social care professionals who just don't get us. But what if your counsellor was autistic? What if the person who organised your support group was autistic? What if the person you asked for help with your benefits was autistic? What if the people who were there to help you improve your wellbeing actually understood your difficulties, but also genuinely valued your strengths? This is what a group of us hope to achieve in Devon over the next few years. It's a bold plan, but we're serious, and we've got support. As the new Autism Act comes into effect, we discuss how we MUST be at the forefront of designing and providing new services for our community. We don't all want to become psychologists of course, but there are quite a few of us, for instance, who dream of creating a support group, yet aren't sure where to start. This presentation will try to inspire you to believe in your own ability to make real on-the-ground change to our wellbeing... by taking on the task for yourself! Job satisfaction guaranteed...

Autism-friendly strategies for coping with eating disorders

Presenter: Vicky

Download: Presentation slides

Description: Repeated studies have shown that autistic people are particularly vulnerable to eating difficulties, especially anorexia, so a discussion of how these conditions should be approached and treated is long overdue. My presentation will explore the reasons why autistic people are so likely to develop eating disorders and offer some autism-friendly strategies for coping with them.

Verbal workshops

Adressing anxiety with meditation and/or CBT

Presenter: Caroline Hearst

Description: One of the traits the Autism Spectrum is a tendency to high anxiety levels. In my own case I noticed when looking at photos of myself that even as a teenager I looked highly anxious, however my anxiety was so continuous and chronic that I was unaware of it and even denied it when it was pointed out to me by others. In more recent years I have become more aware of the anxiety and its tendency to segue into depression. I have taken steps to alleviate it including practicing daily meditation and undergoing some CBT treatment with a psychologist. In this session I will speak about how meditation has helped me become aware of and move through the anxiety and also how I found CBT. I will offer a offer a short guided meditation and allow time for discussion about both meditation and CBT.