2009 Presentations

This page about Autscape 2009 is of historical interest only. Go to the home page for current information.



  1. Anxiety, stress and the autism spectrum (Ava-Ruth Baker)
  2. An introduction to how visual processing disorders affects ASD for non professionals (Ian Jordan)
  3. Artistic Autistics (Larry Arnold)
  4. Not All In the Mind (with thanks to Dr. Richard Mackarness) (ouinon)
  5. Police awareness of Autism and how to deal with the criminal justice system (Perry Gwillim)

Verbal workshops:

  1. Managing family life effectively (Kalen)
  2. Effective Personal and Political Action in a Mad World (Dinah Murray)
  3. Using complaints to improve services (Yo)
  4. Success Stories In Self-Advocacy And Practical Empowerment Advice (Havina Harvinainen, The Empowerment Project, Finland)

Hands-on workshops:

  1. Art workshop – recycling/jewellery/object making (Suzi Superglue)
  2. Clearer Goals, Brighter Future – using art to explore our dreams and ambitions (Selina Postgate)


Anxiety, stress and the autism spectrum

Presenter: Ava-Ruth Baker

Download PDF Handout

Description: Though a modicum of anxiety may be healthy and even 'help' effective living, anxiety to the degree many of us on the autism spectrum (AS) experience it, can be a major hindrance to effective living. The usual solutions offered are often unsuitable for people on the autism spectrum: for instance it may be difficult to find an effective medication type or dosage, therapy sessions are rarely affordable or adapted to autistic needs, and advice usually comes from a neurotypical basis. This presentation will cover the connections between AS, executive function issues, stress and anxiety, and a range of approaches to living with these, drawing on the presenter's own ongoing struggles with these, her professional work, and the experience of other AS adult. Including simple self-help ideas, holistic health approaches and cognitive therapy.

An introduction to how visual processing disorders affects ASD for non professionals

Presenter: Ian Jordan

Description: Often the worst problems experienced in ASD are related to sensory processing problems. Visual processing disorders cause misery to a large number of people on the spectrum. We will show how to recognise and what options are available.

(added 27-Mar-2018) The presenter is no longer a registered Dispensing Optician. Autscape recommend only using opticians registered with the General Optical Council.

Artistic Autistics

Presenter: Larry Arnold

Description: (Note: this description was written by Nikola Woodbridge, who is unfortunately unable to make it to this year's Autscape.)
I have made a film for my University Dissertation called “Artistic Autistics”.
I made this film in collaboration with Larry Arnold of Birmingham University to show aspects of the daily lives of autistic people in a different way to the normal media portrayal.
I have concentrated on the positive aspects of autism by showing the participants engaged in their hobbies in an interesting and new way incorporating dance, music and poetry.
The film also demonstrates that autistic people can be in love and have relationships.

Not All In the Mind (with thanks to Dr. Richard Mackarness)

Presenter: ouinon

Download PDF Handout
Word file of handout

Description: What we eat has a profound effect on our mental health, including our cognitive functions. This can range from "sickness behaviour" induced by chronic immune-system activity (e.g. the result of sensitivity/intolerance to common foods); overload caused by detoxification – "back-log"; feelings of unreality/alienation/spaced-outness, among other things (from food-opioid-peptides), to metabolic disorders of the thyroid, adrenal glands, etc which impact on mood, etc, and the anxiety, irritability, depression, etc. associated with "sub-clinical" deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals, as well as the "brain-fog" connected with systemic candida infection.
Diet affects everybody's mental health, but it is possible that it has a particularly powerful effect on Aspergers and Autists because so many of us have Sensory Processing Differences/Disorders; hyper- or hyposensitivity to the environment, ... which includes food. People on the spectrum also produce lower amounts of carbohydrate-digesting enzymes than the general population, and their detoxification pathways are often compromised.
I will be presenting material from scientific studies, literature and case-work, personal anecdote, as well as my own experience.

Police awareness of Autism and how to deal with the criminal justice system

Presenter: Perry Gwillim

Download Part I (PDF)
Download Part II (PDF)

Description: The first half of this presentation will be about how police perceive risks in situations and common misunderstandings of mental health issues and how, as a consequence, police can make mistakes.
The second half will be practical advice for the audience on how they can deal with the whole criminal justice system, not just the police, in order to ensure that they as, witnesses or victims, can get the best chance of justice.

Verbal workshops

Managing family life effectively

Presenter: Kalen

Description: Many single autistic people are afraid to consider having a family because they fear they would not manage. Others already have a family, but feel they don't engage with their family members ideally. Some may be satisfied with their family lives and wish to share strategies with others. This presentation will include some general discussion and practical strategies for coping with the inevitable stresses of living with others, parenting responsibilities, and home management. The role and scope of formal and informal support in effectively managing family life will also be included. Participants will come away with a better idea of what living in a family involves for autistic adults and suggestions for how to manage family life more effectively.

Effective Personal and Political Action in a Mad World

Presenters: Dinah Murray

Download PDF Handout (1.3 MB)

Description: We will look at the differing strengths of autistic and neurotypical people, and discuss how to harness the best qualities of both in order to act most effectively in society. The workshop will suggest tactics for carrying out effective actions from a position of apparent disempowerment, focussing on dealing with incompleteness, uncertainty and inconsistency in a world fraught with arrogance, hypocrisy and ignorance. A case study will be presented illustrating how potential autistic effectiveness can be thwarted by neurotypical cultural norms. We will discuss the steps which were taken in this case to build up alliances and harness the rules and structures of the NT world to empower autistic advocacy.
Topics covered will include how to
- devote minimum energy to maximum effect
- identify useful allies and connect fruitfully with them
- understand others’ agendas, when they only partly overlap with yours
- maximise credibility
- minimise risk and damage
- minimise hostile attention
- adapt to the private/public boundary
- apply maximally useful pressure while creating minimum turbulence
- communicate key information so it makes a difference.
In general, arrogance and hypocrisy cannot be combatted directly, but ignorance can. The cultural climate does change, and this workshop will help us become more effective at changing it in our favour – and thus creating a world in which we can all be more effective.

Using complaints to improve services

Presenter: Yo

Download handouts:
- Presentation slides (MS PowerPoint format, 1.5M)
- How to complain (MS Word format, 38K)
- Whether to complain (flowchart) (MS Word format, 29K)

Description: This session will combine a presentation with an interactive workshop. The presentation will explain how to use effective complaints to improve services. In the interactive workshop participants will have the opportunity to apply these techniques to real examples from their own experience. Participants will learn to make and sustain more effective complaints which can influence services towards real change.

Success Stories In Self-Advocacy And Practical Empowerment Advice

Presenter: Havina Harvinainen (The Empowerment Project, Finland)

Description: The Empowerment Project is a living example of how people on the autistic spectrum can empower each other and produce tangible, practical results. Two years ago, we shared how we managed to organise ourselves, apply for funding, and hire two organisers. We would now like to share our subsequent success in finding and managing volunteers, organizing weekly meetings, nurturing new peer groups, producing a yearly conference, and launching an online tri-weekly magazine with a readership in the thousands and growing. We will share all of our methods and principles, and do our best to show you how to duplicate our success.
The presentation will first detail our success and then explain the ways we have achieved it, with emphasis on practical tips. We will also set aside time for questions, and hold a separate media workshop. Outside the presentation and media workshop, we are happy to answer questions as well. Those interested in asking questions about our jobs, or in volunteering for our magazine's Autscape issue, can approach us any time during Autscape when we are we are wearing the reporter badge of our magazine.
Those interested in the media workshop are invited to bring any material that they are interested in contributing with them, but no prior preparation is necessary. You may also bring any equipment (eg. camera, laptop, notebook, communicative devices) that you wish, but rest assured that the only requirement in taking part is to be interested.

Hands-on workshops

Art workshop – recycling/jewellery/object making

Presenter: Suzi Superglue

Description: I will offer an art workshop based on recycling/jewellery and object making.
Art, with emphasis on jewellery, is my medium to create an ongoing process between creator, user and spectator – art as an unique way of telling the stories of our lives.
During the workshop, I will offer basic techniques and an introduction to jewellery/object making for beginners, with different materials such as wood, metal etc.
The workshop will be an open space, where participants can freely express themselves – experimenting, inventing or just being there and observing.
Parallel to the workshop, there will be an exhibition of my jewellery. Participants are welcome to add their own art pieces from the workshop to this exhibition.
There might also be an opportunity to exhibit art pieces from this Autscape art workshop at the Myscape project in Glasgow 2010, an art exhibition from people on the autistic spectrum.

Clearer Goals, Brighter Future – using art to explore our dreams and ambitions

Presenter: Selina Postgate

Description: Life is a journey: you have to start from where you are, but it also helps if you know where you'd like to get to. This workshop offers participants a chance to use visual art (drawing, painting and collage) to look at alternative futures and think about "what you really, really want" out of life. Various methods will be offered to facilitate this self-exploration, but the workshop will be informal and relaxed. If all you want to do is to make some art, that's fine too – and be assured positively no artistic talent or experience is required to join in, just a commitment to letting your creativity run wild, and having some fun!