Leading experts are today [19th October] speaking at a sell-out conference in a bid to help parents, carers and professionals learn more about the anxiety felt by children with autism.
More than 130 parents, carers and professionals are gathering at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley, for the West Sussex County Council’s Autism and Social Communication Team’s conference - Anxiety through the Autism Lens.
The conference will hear about new advanced techniques in looking at social anxiety, managing anxiety and developing self-resilience.
Keynote speakers will include Dr Sebastian Gaigg - Senior Lecturer in Psychology at City University London, Dr Laura Cockburn from the National Autistic Society’s Lorna Wing Centre for Autism, and Dr Louise Neil from the Centre for Research in Autism and Education.
There will also be workshops with Sarah Wild from Limpsfield Grange School where more than 50 percent of the pupils are on the autistic spectrum, The Girl with the Curly Hair Project - a social enterprise dedicated to supporting females with Asperger’s Syndrome, Simon Smith - giving an insight on what it is like to live with autism, and Wenna Greenway – a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator from Wisborough Green Primary School.
Richard Burrett, County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “As well as helping parents, carers and professionals to find out about new ways of looking at anxiety in autism, we also want to increase the understanding of this amongst our residents in West Sussex.
“Awareness is far greater than it has been in the past but I would encourage more people to think twice when they see a child throwing a tantrum in the supermarket or question why someone has become withdrawn from a social situation.
“Support is available via the County Council for parents, carers and professionals so I would encourage them to visit our website and the Local Offer website to find out more.”
Today’s conference is the fifth of its kind held by the West Sussex County Council’s Autism and Social Communication Team continuing to draw attention to current issues and research findings in the field of autism.
Roadshows are being planned in the near future to help spread the understanding and awareness from today’s event with those who were unable to attend.
To find out more about services available for children and young people with autism, visit www.westsussex.local-offer.org.