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Major conference on autism

06 September 2011

Lead researchers and clinicians in the field of autism are to speak at a major conference in Jersey at the end of this month.

Parents, carers and professionals are all invited to the conference, which is being held jointly by the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD), the National Autistic Society and the States of Jersey. It's called "Autism: changing perceptions; changing responses" and is expected to attract around 150 people.

This year BILD is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The Jersey conference is being held on 30 September at l’Horizon Hotel and is one of several events being held this year to mark the anniversary.

Dr Lorna Wing, one of the lead names in the diagnostic field of autism, will be attending the conference. Meanwhile, key note speaker Dr Judith Gould will speak to parents in Jersey whose children have autism, and also professionals who work in the autism field. Dr Gould, along with Dr Lorna Wing, set up the Centre for Social and Communication Disorders which was the first service in the UK to provide a complete diagnostic assessment and advice service for children, adolescents and adults with social and communication disorders.

All welcome

Lead for Autism Services at Social Services, Assumpta Finn, said: "We look forward to welcoming both parents and professionals to this important conference, which is aimed at anyone who comes into contact with people with autism, and wants to know more about it. Parents and carers are especially welcome, but we think the conference will also be of interest to teachers, nurses, medics, support workers, teaching assistants and GPs.

"The speakers are all leading clinicians and researchers from throughout the UK with specialist practice in this field. The focus of the conference is on the need to change our perceptions of autism and the nature of the condition in response to new research and clinical experience. There is also an emerging move towards personalisation and giving individuals with autism more control over their lives."

Already, take-up for the conference has been high. Delegates will be given an overview of autism in Jersey by Richard Mills, Head of Research from the National Autistic Society and advisor on autism to the States of Jersey, along with Assumpta Finn and Helen Miles representing Autism Jersey.

Other talks will focus on a personal experience from an individual with autism, including topics on the role of professionals in autism, drug treatments and positive behaviour support strategies, along with an opportunity to attend workshops.

Health and Social Services Minister, Deputy Anne Pryke, will open the conference with Health and Social Services Chief Officer, Julie Garbutt.

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