Ceredigion Autism Conference at Old College

On Friday 31 March 2017 the Old College hosted the 4th Ceredigion Autism Conference to mark World Autism Awareness Week which ran from 27 March to 2 April 2017, and World Autism Day which was on Sunday 2 April 2017. The conference was jointly organised by Ceredigion Autism Spectrum team and Aberystwyth University Student Support Services.

The conference, attended by around 150 participants in the Old Hall, brought together people on the autism spectrum, parents, carers, supporters, and professionals from health, social care and education.

Carys James, Head of Adult Social Care and Commissioning, Ceredigion County Council commented: “We are pleased to be working with Aberystwyth University to arrange the Ceredigion Autism Conference and to build on the success of previous years. With a range of expert speakers, the event promises to bring new insight and understanding of a condition that affects at least one in every hundred people”.

The conference was opened with a presentation from Dr Jill Bradshaw of the world renowned Tizard Centre in Kent who spoke about quality of communication support for people with autism and intellectual disabilities.

John Harrington, Assistant Director of Student Support Services, Aberystwyth University, said: “Aberystwyth University are delighted to be hosting the event again at Old College, an iconic building that became home to the first University in Wales in 1872. We are also pleased to welcome academic colleagues at the cutting edge of Autism research from Cardiff University and the University of Kent”.

Katy Unwin of Cardiff University provided an overview of current research taking place at the Wales Autism Research Centre, Cardiff University. This included research into sensory processing differences in autism and how these differences affect behaviour, and the overlap between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, and the social difficulties experienced by children with both conditions.

The conference also heard from Dr Dougal Hare, a clinical psychologist who has worked in the field of autism and intellectual developmental disabilities for over 25 years in the NHS and the National Autistic Society. Currently Research Director for the South Wales clinical psychology training programme based at Cardiff University, Dr Hare spoke about the interaction between autism and other developmental conditions.

To close the day, John Simpson made a welcome return to Ceredigion. At the 2015 Autism Conference John gave a moving and inspiring talk about his own experiences as a person with autism. This year John talked about anxiety and the impact it has on communication and behaviour.

Welsh Government funding enabled Ceredigion County Council Autism Spectrum Team to arrange the conference so that it was free of charge for participants. Students from Coleg Ceredigion prepared a wonderful buffet lunch for participants.  

More information on World Autism Awareness Day is available here: http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/world-autism-awareness-week.aspx

 Ceredigion Autism Conference 2017

Names of people in main conference photo: Non Jenkins, Mary Rendell, Lisa Hewson, John Harrington, Doreen Phillips, Dr Dougal Hare (at the back), Katy Unwin, Sian Campion, Donna Pritchard, Melissa Davies and John Simpson (standing at the back).

John Harrington

Cyfarwyddwr Cynorthwyol/

Assistant Director
Gwasanaethau Cymorth i Fyfyrwyr /

Student Support Services