Friday, 7 December 2012

12 days of Christmas Silent Auction

Wow your loved one with a really special gift this Christmas in our latest fundraising initiative. 
We have  teamed up with Crowdcomms, a leading global provider of silent auction technology, to offer 12 great items just in time for Christmas. The Crowdcomms silent auction platform, Galabid, offers a revolutionary way to bid by using your mobile phone, smartphone or tablet.
You have 12 days to bid and the auction ends at midnight Sunday 16 December.  Profits from the auction will help us to reach everyone living with autism in Scotland.
Silent auctions are a great way of helping us and getting an amazing present for a friend or loved plese help us to help those living with autism in Scotland by going to our website, browsing the twelve auction items and making your bid..

Good luck and a very happy Christmas :-)

Here's a photo of just one of the auction items. A beautiful oil painting ' Enter the Storm', a dramatic seascape framed and mounted print (3' by 4') painted by Scott who we support in Dundee.(reserve price £50)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Reindeer Raffle in Langside

“Pinkwafer”, the home interiors and gift shop based in Langside, Glasgow has launched itself into the festive spirit and organised a “Reindeer Raffle” with proceeds going to Scottish Autism, Scotland’s autism charity.

The prizes are two stunning 55" wicker reindeers (to be won by two lucky people). The tickets cost £1.00 each and can be purchased at Pinkwafer, 36 Battlefield Road, Langside, G42 9QH, open from 9.30am to 5.30pm Mon-Fri, Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun 12 till 4

Tricia Dow, who opened Pinkwafer three years ago, says, “Scottish Autism is close to our hearts as my nephew has Asperger’s (an autism spectrum disorder). Langside is a close knit community and through chatting to and getting to know our customers we know there are many children with varying levels of autism in the area. I thought it would be a great way to raise the profile of autism and Scottish Autism in Langside.”

She continues, “This is the first time Pinkwafer has held a raffle since we opened our doors three years ago. Tickets are only £1 each, and it would be great if everyone could even buy just one to help us help people with autism in our area.”

Tricia – whose nephew is called Andrew - has decided to hold the draw on St Andrews Day (30th November 2012) at midday.

For further details please call 01259 720044 or go to

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Right Click to a great new service from Scottish Autism

Sometimes being a member does bring extra benefits worth having! Especially when its valuable help and advice you're looking for. Thats why now is a great time to be a Scottish Autism member. We've just launched our new on line advice and help service, only available to our members. Right Click is a web-based programme which draws on the experience of our Autism Support Team and other professionals. It features over 50 videos and additional support materials, giving advice on a range of ASD related issues.

At the click of a mouse, all of this becomes available to parents and carers seeking help and advice. It's a truly innovative service fit for the 21st century digital age in which we live. Charlene Tait, Development Director of Scottish Autism, said of the new service: “We are very excited about this new, innovative means of delivering support to parents. Right Click captures our knowledge and experience in managing some of the challenging issues presented to families of young people with autism and makes it accessible to parents to absorb in their own time, at their own pace and at a modest cost. Thanks must go to Azzurri Communications Ltd who provided a generous donation which allowed us to develop this new programme.”

The service has been piloted with some service users already. Mechele from Renfrewshire, who has a son with autism, participated in the Right Click pilot programme. She said: “Autism is such a huge concept for any mum, dad or sibling to comprehend so having access to this type of support and guidance felt reassuring and comforting.”
“The specific areas which this programme addresses can be very difficult for parents of children with ASD to manage - it’s therefore great to get a professional and experienced perspective which will certainly benefit families like mine in future.”

The service works over a five week programme. Delivered over this five week period, Right Click will cover the key topics which are most frequently raised via our advice line. There is a dedicated programme for young children and another for teenagers. Topics covered include eating issues, toileting, sleep problems, developing skills for independent living and handling relationships. New content is released each week for four weeks allowing for revision of the materials in the fifth week.  Parents are also assigned their own autism advisor who can be contacted to answer questions, provide clarification and give more individually-tailored advice.

So, if you think this will help your family, why not join up now.. details on how to do this can be found here

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Let's get pampered !!

Here is the press release for one of our upcoming events. It promises to be a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable evening. Tickets will fly out so get yours whilst you can...details below.

Scottish Autism is inviting you to an evening of pampering pleasures!

The charity is hosting the evening of pampering delights at Gean House Hotel, Alloa on Thursday, November 1st

Relax with the girls in the opulent surroundings of Gean House, Alloa, indulge in the many beauty treatments on offer and enjoy splurging on a variety of gifts from local craft makers and suppliers.

Tickets cost £10 per person and include a glass of sparkling wine, a scrumptious cupcake and entry to the raffle.

Treatments on the night are £5 each and include manicures, pedicures, head, neck and shoulder massages, hair styling and much more, as well as a special photo booth provided on the night to capture memories to remember!

The evening starts at 6pm until 9pm with extra refreshments and nibbles available from Gean House’s Lounge Bar.

Tickets are available by contacting 01259 720044 or

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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

BAAGS awarded funding from the Scottish Autism Development Fund..

Borders Autism and Asperger's Group Support ( BAAGS)  are delighted and honoured to have been awarded £14,500 from the Scottish Autism Development Fund.  This money will be used to set up and run an Employment Transition Project which will bring highlight the positive attributes a person with Autism can bring to the Employment section of their lives.  We will be inviting all employers and potential employers to attend a series of events to highlight the positivities of Autistic people and how they can become valuable employees and colleagues. Here is some more information from their press release....

Employment and Transitions Project

The aim of BAAGS is to bring together employers, employment agencies, volunteer agencies, supporting agencies and potential employers to show them the skills and abilities which persons with an Autistic Condition can bring to the working environment that can be positive, helpful and insightful.

We would like to encourage all business people – regardless of size of work force, type of business or location of business – to consider employing a person who has Autism to join them. 
Employment includes voluntary employment, full-time hours, part-time hours, night shift, day shift, twilight shift, in-doors, out-doors, light labour, heavy labour, computing, retailing, designing, planning, administrating, supporting, advising,…… the list is endless, the opportunities are endless.

We shall be inviting employers and potential employers to seminars which will offer a short presentation highlighting the statistics of unemployment currently held by adults with Autism, and the skills and expertise which those adults could be offering to the wide range of business opportunities there are across the Scottish Borders.
The Seminars will be an ideal opportunity for managers, staff, directors, owners and executives to network their own businesses and to meet with people who can offer support, guidance and suggestions on how valuable an Autistic person can be to their company for continued success.

We are encouraging all adults with Autism who have an interest/wish to enter employment to contact us so we can learn their skills, their interests and their ideas which we can share with those employers.
We will also be encouraging the existing employment supporting agencies and organisations to come to the Seminars so they can highlight their expertise and share how they would be able to offer on-going support to an Autistic person in the workplace if support were required.

So...if you live in the borders, why not get in touch with BAAGS? they can be contacted on 01896 668961 or by email at

And check out their website at

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Stephen Innes to Perform at Masquerade Party Night

Rising singing sensation Stephen Innes is to perform at the Masquerade Party Night on Friday 9 November, 7pm-12pm at the Hilton Hotel, Dundee. There will also be live music, disco provided by Wave 102 and great auction and raffle prizes.

Stephen, 17 from Inverurie, has supported girl band The Saturdays and Sandi Thom. He has also played at Fyvie Live where he proved to be a huge hit.

The Masquerade Party Night is a joint fundraising event for Dundee charity, Help for Kids and Scotland’s autism charity, Scottish Autism, to raise much-needed funds to help local families.

The ticket price (£25) includes a welcome drink, hot buffet, half bottle of wine per person and the chance to win a mystery prize. Book 10 tickets for a discount: £225. Utopia Costumes in Dundee are offering a 10% discount for all party goers (please quote “Masquerade Party Night”). Tickets are on sale at the Overgate Customer Service Desk or from 01259 720044.

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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Tune In...the Headphones!

Here we have Raff, front man with the OK Social Club, one of the bands appearing at next month's Tune In to Autism gig at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh. As you can see, he's sporting the rather natty Tune In to Autism headphones. You can read the interview he gave to Tune In to Autism, ahead of next month's gig here

You can follow the fortunes of the OK Social club over on Facebook by following this link

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Tune In to Autism....the interviews...

Tune In to Autism is raising money to provide music therapy through Scottish Autism for those affected by Autistic Spectrum disorders. At the recent Wicker man music festival,  we took the chance to interview and photograph a few of the artists who were wearing the rather fetching Tune In to Autism headphones. 

Hannah Currie from music promoters MILK caught up with Alban Dickson, bass player with upcoming band the Miniature Dinosaurs for a quick chat about music and his experiences of working with young people with Autism ...

·         How does music improve your life?

Music is utterly inescapable in the world today; it is used to sell products, bring happiness, provide empathy. I find it difficult to consider what life would be like without any music! However, on a personal level, I've always found music to be there when you just need to express yourself and that is something so unique and important in life itself.

·         What is your favourite track ever?
There are some songs, which I remember hearing from my parents' vinyl collection as I grew up, that always put a smile on my face; Moving on Up (Primal Scream), Loser (Beck) and even Dance to the Music (Sly & The Family Stone) before Shrek made it cool. I couldn't possibly pick out a favourite though, but the memories attached to songs like those are very profound for me, and it's the memories that you can relate to songs which is what really makes them yours.

·         What's your favourite music memory?
The memory of a first gig is always going to be up there! I would say I have two however. The first-first concert which my dad took me to, a free jazz ensemble which I appreciated enough to fall asleep at. Then the first time my friends and I went to see a band together, as we developed our own musical identities, which was Franz Ferdinand and Fire Engines. Nobody in that crowd had a clue who Fire Engines were - ourselves included!

·         Do you have any upcoming gigs, events, happenings etc?

We just reased our single "Lemonade" and are about to tour the new EP "Turn It On" accross the UK. We are looking forward to travelling everywhere from Ullapool to Devon! Hopefully, by traversing the country back and forth for a couple of weeks, some people might hear our music for the first time.

·         Do you have any links with autism 

 It's not really musically related but I coach a disability football team and we have some players who are on the spectrum. 

(photo - Alban Dickson, bassist, and Barry MacLean, singer with the  Miniature Dinosaurs)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

TuneIn to Autism...update....update...update...

Here is the latest news on our Edinburgh fundraiser in aid of Scottish Autism..

Tune into Autism hits the Voodoo Rooms on Thursday 11th October, showcasing three of the best bands in Scottish music to raise fund for music therapy.

The OK Social Club
Fronted by live wire Raff Eragona, The OK Social Club are a fast-paced and fun-fuelled outfit from Edinburgh. Razor-sharp guitar licks and punching vocals are layered over rolling snare to create that old school indie sound that made bands like The Strokes, The Libertines and The Cribs so good. Their energetic live show promises to raise the roof. Raff said: “We are delighted to be part of Tune into Autism as both myself and Chris Finn, our guitarist and vocalist, have family members who are affected by autism so the cause is close to our hearts.”

The Holy Ghosts
This Edinburgh five-piece includes members from The Stagger Rats, The Complete Stone Roses and Down the Tuny Steps, drawing influence from all the greats to create an irresistible rock n roll sound with a dash of country and blues thrown in. Currently in the studio recording with renowned producer Owen Morris (Oasis, The View, The Verve, Ash), the band are taking a break to appear at Tune into Autism. Guitarist John Mackenzie said: “We are really proud to be involved. It’s an amazing feeling to know that we are helping people with autism to get the best support they can in life. The fans of all the bands involved will also be made more aware of Scottish Autism, which will hopefully inspire them to get involved with the charity.”

Randolph's Leap
This hotly-tipped folk-pop outfit are traveling from Glasgow to share their brand of highly amusing musical magic and support the cause. Singer Adam Ross said: "I was pleased to be asked to be involved in the event. I think it is important for music therapy to be promoted and funded. It is good to know that people with autism can benefit from the interaction and creativity associated with making music and I hope that ‘Tune Into Autism’ project will continue to help provide care and assistance to those who need it."

Join us at the Voodoo Rooms for a night of fantastic music in aid of a great cause – only £5 entry, with all proceeds going directly to Scottish Autism to fund music therapy.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Fancy a Sunday Stroll for Scottish Autism....?

If watching the Olympics and ParaOlympics has inspired you to get active, there is a gentle sponsored three mile walk for all abilities being held on Sunday 30 September at 2pm. It starts at Ravenscraig Park and is to raise funds for Scotland’s autism charity: Scottish Autism (Fife).

Led by Burntisland and Kinghorn Rotary Club, the walk starts in the car park at Ravenscraig and goes down to the harbour in Dysart. From there we will walk along the coast and then up through the woods back to the Ravenscraig Park. It should take no more than an hour and half going at an easy and enjoyable pace. Wheelchairs are welcome too.

Scottish Autism supports many adults and young people in the Kirkcaldy area and recently opened a new centre for adults in Cowdenbeath. Please get in touch on 01259 720044 for a sponsor form and help us to raise money to reach everyone living with autism in Scotland.

For any further information, please contact

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Sunday, 2 September 2012


Here is the press release announcing the latest gig from 'Tune In to Autism'.

Some of the best bands from the Scottish independent music scene are joining forces to support Scotland's autism charity, “Scottish Autism”, by holding a gig at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on Thursday 11th October to raise funds for the charity’s music therapy programmes in Scotland.

The “Tune into Autism” event has been organised by three friends in the music, marketing and film industries in Edinburgh who have joined forces to put their love of music to good use. Hannah Currie who works in the film industry by day, also runs successful live music and club nights in Glasgow called MILK and LAID, Angus McGuire is a lawyer who is active in the Scottish music scene and Leanne Mabberley is Assistant Marketing Director at Edinburgh Napier University. These three volunteers have pooled their resources, energy and contacts to raise funds that will help more people on the autistic spectrum gain access to music-based therapies.  

 The line-up includes the indie quartet, “The OK Social Club”, whose music has appeared on Sky Sports Soccer AM and MTV Rocks and the Glasgow based, folk-pop band “Randolph's Leap” who recently appeared at Fence Record’s hugely successful Away Day as well as “The Holy Ghosts” who perform a mixture of rock n’ roll, country and blues.

Music brings enormous pleasure to us all and has particular benefits for people on the autistic spectrum. Someone who sees these benefits first hand is Mona El-Sayed, one of Scottish Autism's music practitioners who specialises in this area. She says: “Music activity really helps to grow self-esteem and offers the individual an alternative means of self-expression and communication. It's also fun and helps to reduce stress and anxiety.”

Raff Eragona, the singer and guitarist for OK Social Club said that: “We are delighted to be part of “Tune into Autism” as both myself and Chris Finn, our guitarist and vocalist, have family members who are affected by autism so the cause is close to our hearts. We tend to do charity gigs often as it’s very important to us that we support good causes, whether those causes affect us directly or not but even more so when they do.”
Adam Ross the singer from Randolph's Leap said: "I was pleased to be asked to be involved in the event. I think it is important for music therapy to be promoted and funded. It is good to know that people with autism can benefit from the interaction and creativity associated with making music and I hope that ‘Tune Into Autism’ project will continue to help provide care and assistance to those who need it."
The Holy Ghosts’ guitarist Jon Mackenzie says, “We are really proud to be involved. It’s an amazing feeling to know that we are helping people with autism to get the best support they can in life. The fans of all the bands involved will also be made more aware of Scottish Autism, which will hopefully inspire them to get involved with the charity.”

Angus says the team are hoping to raise enough money to buy an exciting new electronic musical instrument for Scottish Autism's Music Rooms called “The Skoog.” This instrument was developed in Edinburgh and can be used by people of all abilities to create a variety of musical sounds and acts as a touch sensitive, multi-instrument with software capabilities for recording.  It is a fun and engaging resource that would be of immense benefit to the budding musicians at the Music Rooms in helping them to express their creativity.
 The event will hopefully encourage other musicians and performers to participate in the “Tune into Autism” initiative and offer their time and talent to raise funds at music events.

Carolyne Nurse, Fundraising Manager at Scottish Autism says “By taking part in the “Tune into Autism” event, you will not only enjoy a great evening of music but will be making a positive contribution to the lives of an estimated 50,000 families living with autism in Scotland.”

The gig is open to all and kicks off at 7.30pm on Thursday 11th October at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh. Tickets cost £5 and are available at the door, online at or by phone on 0844 477 1000.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Former Rangers Star Opens Falkirk Five a Side Football Festival

From our latest press release....

After watching the success of Team GB in the London 2012 Olympics and the start of the Paralympics – probably from the comfort of your own sofa – a former Rangers star is encouraging you to Get Active for Autism.

Kevin Drinkell, former Rangers and Falkirk striker who also managed and played for Stirling Albion is launching a new charity football event to raise funds for Scottish Autism, Scotland’s autism charity.

The Scottish Autism Football Festival is on the 29th September 2012, from 1.30 pm – 5pm at Planet Soccer (opposite Inchyra Grange Hotel). This five a side tournament which is open to adult teams (over 16), will be a real family fun day out with activities and stalls. The stadium cafĂ© and bar will also be open.

Kevin says: "The Olympics was a tremendous platform for sport in Britain; everyone should take advantage of this enthusiasm by getting involved in an activity you enjoy and getting active. This tournament is the perfect opportunity to do that and support a worthwhile cause – I think it’s fantastic to see the sport I love being used to increase the profile of Scottish Autism and raise some much needed funds."

To register a team (registration fee £60 per team) or for any further information, please contact

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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

MP visits Clannalba...and you can too..

MP David Mundell recently visited the Scottish Autism service at Clannalba, near Biggar in South Lanarkshire. This is a wonderful place which provides much needed help for families affected by Autism.. Its important to realise that Autism affects not only individuals, but those who care for them as well. Respite is always a difficult choice for many folks. Placing someone close to you in another's care, even for a short period can be a difficult decision, but respite is a life-saver for many who look after family members affected by Autism 24/7. Clannalba provides this respite (amongst other services) in the form of short breaks individually tailored to each service user.
Social work departments can make referrals to Clannalba for those families affected throughout Scotland. Its a fabulous place where individuals and adults diagnosed with Autism can be safe and enjoy purposeful activities....have a read of our press release, and go to the site for more information. Or ask your own social work department for further details on referrals...

From the press release on our website....

Clannalba services include residential, short breaks, emergency respite, specialist support and transition, all focusing on enabling individuals with autism to have positive life experiences.
Mr Mundell was welcomed by Adam Brodie, Scottish Autism’s Regional Manager, and the charity’s Director of Autism Services, Jackie Latto who gave him a tour of the facilities and an overview of the key services provided at Clannalba, located in Lamington, near Biggar.
Clannalba has operated since 1996, during which time it has helped and supported over 700 families. It offers a wide range of planned and purposeful periods of short breaks and respite for children and adults diagnosed with autism. Clannalba is also one of the few places in Scotland offering a transitional support service where young and mature adults with autism can be prepared for a more independent life.
Jackie Latto said: “We’re delighted to welcome Mr Mundell back to Clannalba.
"We are really lucky to have their expertise and facilities on our doorstep."                 David Mundell MP
“Clannalba is a real centre of excellence here in South Lanarkshire, supporting both children and adults with autism and helping improve their quality of life. All Scottish Autism staff receive autism specific training enabling them to deliver a high quality service that responds to the needs of service users and their families.”
David Mundell MP said: "Clannalba is a wonderful facility for young people with autism and their families. We are really lucky to have their expertise and facilities on our doorstep. Every time I visit I am impressed by the organisation’s forward looking mentality. It is great to see the positive results of the hard work they are doing to help service users to live independently within the community."

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Team Effort from Royal Mail

Alex McCallum and 14 colleagues from the Royal Mail Scottish Distribution Centre based in Wishaw cycled from Glasgow to Inverness raising £2,000 to help support individuals and families with autism. They presented a cheque for £2,000 to Heather McArthur from Scottish Autism, Scotland’s autism charity, on Friday 22 June 2012.

Alex and his fundraising friends work shift patterns so it was quite an achievement to get so many people to be available over a weekend. The team effort went even further though, as those that weren’t involved in the actual cycle supported the cyclists by helping to raise the money.

This charity event has grown in size since the first cycle in 2009 when only four people took part. Alex McCallum, who organises this annual event, says "We are supporting Scottish Autism because a few of us at work have family members with autism and we know about the great support that the charity gives to people and families who are affected by it. A big thanks goes to our Royal Mail management team who provide the support vehicle which carries all the necessary equipment – and also the odd bacon buttie along the way!”

Heather McArthur, Fundraiser at Scottish Autism said “It is thanks to generous and committed people like Alex and his Royal Mail Team that we will be able to reach more people living with autism in Scotland. Calls to our advice team doubled in 2011 as families and people on the spectrum face even more challenges in their daily lives. We need to ensure that we reach the people who need us most, wherever they live and whatever their situation, and donations make a real difference."

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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Autism police database

The recent development of a trial by Strathclyde police in partnership with Autism organisations in the police service area has caused no little controversy on Twitter recently. Opinions seem very polarised about this scheme with some folks worried about the implications of a police database containing details of people affected by Autism. Others feel that this might be quite a useful thing, particularly in cases where the police come into contact with autistic folks and are puzzled or alarmed by what appears to them to be unusual, strange, or even aggressive behaviour. The scheme has been Reported in the press and hailed as a landmark development, but of course, opinions do differ.

Questions about access to details, removal on request, appropriate use are all ones which are being asked, however, the trial will be evaluated after a year so perhaps a more positive picture will emerge after this evaluation.

What do you think? Is this a positive development or do you have concerns about privacy, or databases of disabilities in general? All comments great fully received...

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Join us :-)

Have you considered becoming a member of Scottish Autism? Our members get exclusive access to our members area from the Scottish Autism website, which contains a variety of interesting articles and research. Your subscription goes towards our work providing services for those affected by Autism, as well as professional advice and diagnosis. So come on, what are you waiting for?

Join Scottish Autism as a member today and gain access to our new member area. It’s simple, you can purchase your membership by clicking on the following link

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Friday, 25 May 2012

More from those wonderful folks over at DimensionsUK...great news! The next Autism Friendly Film Screening will be Men in Black 3 – Sunday 17th June @ 11:30. Tickets Available From 11am on Wednesday 13th June.

Please help spread the word by forwarding this email on to your contacts or printing out the attached flyer to show to people. Every month we are contacted by new people who have just heard about the project and who are really pleased that they now have the opportunity to watch newly released films in a more inclusive environment.

Thanks to your efforts even more cinemas have joined in with these monthly special screenings and there are more than 80 taking part. To view a full list of participating cinemas please visit

Autism Friendly Screenings are mainstream films shown in a sensory friendly environment. Lights are on low, sound is turned down, trailers are omitted and people can bring their own food, make noise and move around the cinema as they feel comfortable. The screenings are for anyone who would benefit from the subtle differences made to the cinema environment and we hope it will enable people who may struggle to enjoy mainstream cinema to experience this newly released film with friends and family.

· Film starts at 11.30am – there are no trailers so please make sure you are seated by 11.30am

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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Trashion Fashion

These wonderfully talented kids put on a fashion show with a difference. Because all the clothes were made from..... well, trash!
Fun Lodge After School club raised nearly £800.00 for Scottish Autism.
Have a look at the photos....and a great big thank you to the kids who worked so hard.

Monday, 30 April 2012

What could we do for World Autism Awareness Day?

World Autism Awareness Day originated from a UN directive in 2008, and ever since, has been marked by different countries and organisations in numerous ways... There's an Autism ribbon, and one particular group in the USA came up with the 'light up in blue' campaign, adopted by many, including the National Autistic Society in the UK...

But what about us here in Scotland? Might there be something we can do next year to ark the day that's perhaps distinctly Scottish, or which represents something of our ethos at Scottish Autism? Could we do something at the Parliament building or have our own ribbon for sale, or as an online ' Twibbon' for social media and websites?

Why not let us know what you think....all suggestions gratefully received!

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Sunday, 29 April 2012

New for Dundee

Can you help in Dundee?

As you will know from our newsletter, Scottish Autism is going from strength to strength, broadening its reach, improving and extending its services. This is good news for everyone living with autism in Scotland and their families. To keep up the momentum, we need to grow fundraising and attract new

To this end, I am about to focus on Dundee for some new fundraising activity over the next 12 months – we have a growing service there supporting 17 adults in various ways and, as some of you know, I live closer to Dundee than to Alloa! To help me, I am looking for a handful of supporters who want to raise awareness of autism in the city and get involved in creating some new events.

I am looking at three ways to engage different groups of new supporters with our charity : a dinner, raffle/auction event for the over 35s, a club night idea for the under 25s and some fun ideas for the under 12s to do at school or in after-school clubs, brownies, scouts etc. All three would be take place around Halloween, 31 October, which presents theme and an opportunity not used much by many charities.

I will be sounding out local businesses, colleges and schools over the next few weeks or so. Any funds raised could be used for various Scottish Autism projects, some national such as our advice line and some local, such as the Dundee outreach service.

Would you like to help in any way – however small? I know everyone is busy and time is precious so I am not asking for much commitment – at most meeting once a month until the end of 2012. As a local contact on the ground, you are in the right place to spot opportunities and provide links into the local community. You may also know someone who’d like to help with you.

Have a think and please let me know your thoughts!

Look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,


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Monday, 2 April 2012

The Riverside Museum helps celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

The Riverside Museum: Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel will open its doors to Scottish Autism, Scotland’s Autism charity, for an hour on Friday 6 April (10am – 11am) to help celebrate WAAD (World Autism Awareness Day, 2 April 2012). Scottish Autism’s service users will have exclusive use of the museum during these times.

The Riverside Museum is a favourite of people with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and two of its staff - Catriona Hamilton and Robert MacGregor - recently attended a Scottish Autism “Open Minds” meeting to help provide a warm and friendly environment for visitors with autism and further increase the museum’s overall commitment to becoming an even more ASD friendly venue.

Catriona and Robert are also involved in fundraising for Scottish Autism, with Robert taking part in the “Clyde Slide” on Sat 24 March, raising £350.

Catriona said “Everyone at the Riverside Museum is really looking forward to welcoming Scottish Autism and its service users to help celebrate WAAD; we know that we provide a great environment for people on the autism spectrum to enjoy. We are thrilled to be taking this step forward in our long term initiative to set standards of best practice and provide improved service to our ASD Visitors.

I am also developing an “autism friendly route” around the museum which will be ready in the near future to further enhance the experience for people with autism.”

Scottish Autism’s service users are coming from as far afield as Biggar, Lanark, East Kilbride, Alloa and Fife, as well as Glasgow.

Charlene Tait, Development Director at Scottish Autism said "Scottish Autism is delighted by the invitation from the Riverside museum. A core objective of our organisation is to enable people with autism to access daily opportunities and experiences. Some individuals need support to do this as part of a very gradual and individualised process. This opportunity will enable many of our service users to increase their confidence in new situations and has the added benefit of being interesting and enjoyable."

For more information, please contact Scottish Autism on 01259 720044 or go to

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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Legacy10 - Are you giving this way?

These politicians certainly are...The three major London Mayoral candidates, Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick, are supporting the Legacy10 campaign by committing to leave at least 10% of their estates to charity in their wills.

Legacy10 campaigns to ask individuals across the UK to pledge 10% of their estate to charity. Founder Roland Rudd invited the candidates to show their support for the campaign, which has seen many people from sport, business, and the arts take the pledge.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "I am pleased to give my support to the Legacy10 campaign. I think this is a fantastic idea, rightly promoting leaving a legacy for charitable purposes in order to ensure that this becomes the norm, rather than the exception to the rule."

Labour candidate Ken Livingstone said: "Londoners have a proud history of charitable giving, and so I am very happy to personally support the Legacy10 initiative."

Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick said: "I am proud to support the Legacy10 campaign. So many London charities and arts institutions stand to benefit from the forthcoming inheritance tax changes, and I hope everyone in this great city signs up to this exciting initiative."

And not just in London, we hope...

Last month the three major political parties' leaders all signed up to the Legacy10 campaign.

According to the 2011 Legacy Market Snapshot by Legacy Foresight, currently only 7% of the UK population leave a gift to charity in their will, yet 74% of them donate to a charity in their lifetime.

You can do this too... Pledging part of your final estate will help charities like Scottish Autism plan for future service provision. Have a look at their website and discover how you could help us

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Friday, 9 March 2012

New help for adults with autism

Here in Scotland, the government have just announced that more money will be made available to help those who care for adults with autism. This will take the form of training for carers which had previously only been made available to professionals. Positive Pathways, provided by the Richmond Fellowship Scotland, hopes to train carers of adults on the autism spectrum using funding provided by a Government grant of £84,000.

This is very welcome news and a sound investment as well. Diagnoses of adult autism have increased dramatically over the past ten years and this has created an increased demand for services. Training for carers will be a significant addition to existing services.

Very often, adults diagnosed with autism have struggled all their lives with an undiagnosed condition which has impacted upon every part of their lives. They have usually developed strategies to mask or deflect attention away from their difficulties. This extra money will hopefully lead to a better understanding of just what it is like to be autistic, and of the everyday challenges faced by those affected.

Better diagnostic services have identified many more people affected by autism who will have often suffered in silence since childhood, or else been treated by psychiatrists for depression and anxiety with long term medication when what they actually needed was a specialist service which could offer help and support such as those offered by ARC in Glasgow, and Scottish Autism. Let's hope that this extra money will take us further down the road to that goal.

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Wednesday, 29 February 2012


This is today's hashtag on twitter. What will you do today, on this extra day we get this year, to make a difference? We've lots of ideas over on Our Face Book page some little, some big, but all of which will make a difference to raising awareness of Autism across the land.

Much of the time, it's not easy when one or several of your family needs help with their ASD's. Often "lack of funding" is cited as folks are shunted of the ends of waiting lists into the sidings where they just have to make progress under their own steam. The stress an pressure this puts on families and carers is unbelievable and at times, unbearable. Have a look at this post from the Autismmumsanddads blog. It's a shameful story of how one family has to suffer due to 'issues' with Speech and Language therapy...

What sort of a country is it where Barclays Bank boss Bob Diamond is reported to have been awarded a £9million+ bonus and yet kids with autism can't access the medical interventions they need?

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Monday, 27 February 2012

Knowledge Share events from Scottish Autism

Scottish Autism will be running a series of 'knowledge sharing' seminars over the next few months. Disseminating our developing knowledge of autism and effective practice is a key organisational objective here at Scottish Autism. These Knowledge Share series of seminars augment the work we already do in training and at our national conferences throughout the year.
Chaired by Charlene Tait, the aim of the events is to create a forum where we can communicate with parents and professionals. We will deliver informed, practical information on a range of issues that directly impact on the quality of life and well-being of individuals on the spectrum and their families.

So who should attend these events? Parents, carers and all professionals working in the field of autism should all find them useful and informative. The events will be held in three locations across Scotland (West Coast, East Coast, and the North). Details are below. Participants will benefit from the opportunity to hear Scottish Autism’s professionals present case studies of real life situations from an education, autism service and family perspective providing delegates with the knowledge and practical strategies used to resolve situations. The event will offer a platform for sharing experiences and networking with other parents and professionals in the field of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

These seminars look like being very popular. Networking and sharing experience is a great way to learn a little bit more about Autism, but also to hear how others are coping day in day out with the same or similar challenges. It's always good to know you're not alone, and hear strategies used by others for dealing with autism and the issues it presents on a daily basis.

If you want further details, ot want to book your place, please visit our website

Dates & Times
Supporting the Development of Personal Coping Skills and Strategies

24th April 2012, The Lothian Chambers, Edinburgh
15th May 2012, Laichmoray Hotel, Moray
29th June 2012, Notre Dame High School, Greenock

Supporting the Development of Skills for Independent Living

18th September 2012, Edinburgh City Chambers, Edinburgh
2nd October 2012, Laichmoray Hotel, Moray
6th November 2012, Notre Dame High School, Greenock

Supporting the Development of Understanding Relationships and Sexuality

19th February 2013, Edinburgh City Chambers, Edinburgh
5th March 2013, Laichmoray Hotel, Moray
19th March 2013, Notre Dame High School, Greenock

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

What a difference a day makes!

Wednesday 29 February - a whole extra 24 hours this year which you can use to do a little extra for autism. 

Follow this link to our website to discover how you could Win! Cycle! Make a Date! Catch Up! Blog! Run! Shop! Donate! Tweet! Raise!  Contact! Watch! for Scottish Autism...

So what are you waiting for? Please use the extra day this year to help us fundraise and raise awareness...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Arran sponsored cycle trip...

Cycle around the beautiful island of Arran spread over a Saturday and Sunday. Meeting to get the ferry over, the first day involved a 42 miles cycle from Brodick to Lochranza where we spent the night. On the second day participants had two options for cycling. The easier option is continuing onto Brodick for 14 miles and the harder option is a 22 mile cycle over the famous and challenging String road. Very positive feedback was received from the participants on this event.

For our cycle challenge, well, what is included is as follows:: • Cycle Ride Leader, First Aid qualified guides, support and encouragement from Sport Ecosse Events staff• Bed and breakfast overnight accommodation as appropriate• Lunch and dinner along with healthy snacks and drinks along the way• Luggage transfers each day• Any ferry travel• Support vehicles• Basic bike maintenance• Training plan and equipment list• All relevant insurances

Date of event is 29-30 sept
Target sponsorship is £480

It should be a fantastic experience, and a great way to raise much needed money for Scottish Autism. Get in touch for more details :-)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


There's lots going on at the moment. The big thing with Autism is the proposed change to diagnostic criteria. Some are saying that this will mean much fewer diagnoses of ASD, whereas others are of the view that the proposed changes will tighten up a rather wide ranging set of indicators. I've read that there is controversy over misdiagnosis with some saying that there are actually to many diagnoses of ASD under the current system. Over on our Scoop.It page there are a number of items which cover the current issues and debate surrounding diagnosis....This report in the New York Times is particularly good...

So what do you think? Have you been recently diagnosed or do you care for a family member who has? It would be great to hear your views :-)

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Thursday, 12 January 2012

New year....New you, with Scottish Autism

Any New Year resolutions this Hogmanay? How about getting a bit fitter and more active maybe? Or what about helping to raise awareness and money for charity?

Well Scottish Autism has some great events lined up this year to help you do just that. Over on our Facebook page, we have a list of all the UK based challenges which you can take part in this year, get fit, and raise some much-needed money for Scottish Autism at the same time.

Have a look here and pick your challenge for 2012..

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