Mother and Baby Study at Cambridge University

Are you a pregnant mum with an autism spectrum condition, or are you a pregnant mum who already has a child with autism?
This study is observing the early development of the baby in pregnancies where the mother or an older sibling of the baby has a diagnosis of autism.
If you decide to participate, you would be invited for an MRI scan in your last trimester of pregnancy, at the Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge, so we can study your baby’s brain even before birth. After your baby is born we will look at your baby’s behaviour, including play, social behaviour, communication, and another MRI to look at their brain structure. We will also look at your baby’s growth.
Separately, we’d like to find out about your experience of pregnancy and motherhood so that we can identify areas where support might be helpful for both autistic and not autistic mothers in the future.
There will be five visits in total: during your pregnancy (an in person visit for an MRI), when your baby is 2-3 months old (an in person visit for infant MRI), a 6-month (in person) visit, at 18-months (postal or online questionnaires only), and finally at 24-months (in person visit).
If you live in the UK or in Europe we can pay for you to visit Cambridge, and we will reimburse all travel expenses and hotel accommodation, and you will receive an additional £20/visit for each visit. We will also give you a picture of your baby from your scan.
If you are interested in finding out more about this study or would like to take part, please contact Sarah Hampton or Ezra Aydin, by email ( or by telephone (01223 465230).
More details of the ideas behind this study at:

Poster: CHILD study poster

Tell the CQC about your experiences of health and care – new online feedback facility.

The NAS is taking part in a national project with the CQC (Care Quality Commission) called ‘Tell us about your care’.
This project aims to make it easier for autistic people and their families to share their experiences of health and adult social care services directly to the CQC.
A webpage been set up so that anyone can tell CQC about the care they receive, good or bad, so this can help improve care across England.
The ‘Tell us about your care’ webpage link is:

You can give feedback when accessing any of the following services:

• GP practices, including walk-in centres and out-of-hours services
• Dentists
• Hospitals
• Ambulance services
• Community mental health services
• Clinics providing services such as family planning and slimming
• Community care and support services, such as district nurses and health visitors
• Care homes
• Home care agencies

NB this is not a way to make a formal complaint or for whistleblowing. There are other ways to contact the CQC to do this, detailed on the webpage.

Children’s Christmas Party (Free!)

Student Community Action and The David Hardie Project would like to invite you to
When:- Wednesday 6th December
Time:- 4pm – 6pm
Where:- University Centre, Granta Pl, Cambridge CB21RU
Cost:- FREE!!
All food, drinks, entertainment and activities
have been sourced or sponsored
by The David Hardie Project & SCA.
We will have lots of fun activities to try and if the children are very good we may even get a visit from Father Christmas!!
To book a place simply email the name of your child, their age and a contact number to or call 01223 350365
Parents are expected to stay at the party with their children

Petition Government to publish Social Care Consultaion by early 2018

The Care and Support Alliance (CSA) has launched a petition for the Government to publish their consultation on social care by early 2018.
The NAS is a member of the CSA and our Chief Executive, Mark Lever, is a co-chair.
A serious lack of funding means that over 1 million older and disabled people, including autistic people, are going without the care they need, including help to get out of bed, wash and eat. Our charity knows that, without this basic help, these people cannot live a decent life.
The NAS and the CSA are calling on the Government to publish their consultation on social care by early 2018 so that the urgent reform needed to fix the adult social care crisis can happe
Please sign the petition here:  

We need 100,000 signatures, so please do share this petition with your coleagues, family and friends.

Enchanted Cinema, Cambridge, Autism Friendly Screening of The Polar Express

This Christmas the Enchanted Cinema are organising a fundraising event in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices on Saturday 16 December at the Robinson Theatre, Hills Road.
100% of profits will go to EACH. EACH provides care and support for children and young people with life-threatening illnesses as well as end of life care for dying children and their families.
The programme:
10am: Frozen
1pm: The Polar Express (Autism Friendly Screening)
4pm: Bridget Jones’s Diary
7pm: Love Actually
A Christmas pop-up cafe will be running all day next door to the theatre. It will be super cosy and festive. There’ll be hot drinks, homemade cakes and brownies + mulled wine and mince pies and a few more festive foodie surprises. The cafe will be open 10.30am to 7pm.
When customers book their seats for a film, they will have the choice of how much they would like to donate to EACH for their ticket. See website for details.

Student volunteer mentors for children 5-11

Student Community Action (SCA)
SCA is an independent charity, which recruits and places student volunteers from Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Cambridge, in any one of dozens of projects in Cambridge. SCA has more than 300 volunteers giving thousands of hours to improve the lives of people living in the local community.
We are open for Big Sib referrals, we have places (all female) for Little Sibs, so any referrals of female would hopefully be matched this term, male Little Sibs, may take a little longer. We also have space on 1-1 Homework Help.

Big Siblings Project
We provide a volunteer student visitor for children and the service is free. The student acts as an ‘adopted’ older brother/sister to the child, taking them out (usually once a week). Families must live within walking/cycling distance of Cambridge City Centre. This project is for children from one parent or carer families, children that have suffered bereavement, children with disabilities, learning difficulties or behavioural problems, or children with family members who have disabilities, learning difficulties or behavioural problems. Children should be aged between five and 11 years. Visits are usually about one to two hours, once a week.

Homework Help (SCA)
School aged young people
Homework Help provides a volunteer student visitor for children who are having some difficulty at school. The volunteer will act as a mentor for the child, helping them work through the difficulties they are having, and thereby increase both their confidence and ability. Visits will usually happen at the child’s house, and a parent/guardian/carer must be present in the house during the volunteers visit. The children visited should live within cycling distance of the centre of Cambridge.
Volunteers commit to about one hour a week of contact time.

For further information on Big Sibs and Homework Help contact Suzanne Buttress, Volunteers and Projects Officer
T: 01223 350365 (11am – 4pm Monday to Friday, term time only)

Preparing for Adulthood Group Meeting

Pinpoint’s next Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) Group is
Tuesday 21st November 2017
10am to 12
at Tesco Extra Bar Hill Community room, 15-18 Viking Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB23 8EL.

At this session we have:
Juliet Sawmynaden Team Manager – Young Adult’s Social Care and Siobhan MacBean Disability Social Care Development Manager will be joining us for a session on Housing & Support Options for Young People & Adults. Find out about an overview on:

  • The different types of housing and support options.
  • Who is eligible and what services are available.
  • How to apply and who is available to support the family through the process.

Supported Living Providers* will also available for parents to meet during the session:

  • Cambridge Housing Society Group – Kerryanne Hollingworth – Support Officer
  • Edmund Trust – Head of Operations – Lisa Yearn


Managing Anger

For parents/carers of children with Autism
21 November, 10am-2.30pm
March Community Centre, 34 Station Road, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8LE

About the seminar
“Managing Anger” is one of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Seminars for Families. It is aimed at parents/carers who have a child (with a diagnosis of autism) who is experiencing difficulties with anger, anxiety, distressed behaviours and meltdowns. There is no charge to parents/carers.

Aims of the seminar

  • To get a better understanding of how we react to distressed behaviours and anger.
  • To gain information about using a low arousal approach.
  • To outline practical ideas to help you and your child learn to manage anger, anxiety, distressed behaviours and meltdowns.

Who is running the seminar?
This seminar is delivered jointly by Cambridgeshire SENDIASS (formerly Parent Partnership) and the Cambridge branch of the National Autistic Society, using materials bought from the National Autistic Society. You will receive a full resource pack of useful information, advice and support guidelines on the day.

How to book a place
Due to the high demand, families can only book one place on the seminar. Please book on-line at:

Places are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment. You will receive confirmation of your place by email and a map showing where the venue is.

Lunch/refreshments – Teas & coffees will be provided, but please bring your own lunch. 01223 699213

Halloween Spooktacular Fun Days (2 – 10yrs)

Chatteris Children’s Centre: Tuesday 24 October, 10am to 1pm
Whittlesey Children’s Centre: Wednesday 25 October 2017 10am – 1pm
March Children’s Centre: Thursday 26 October 17 10am – 1pm

Come and Enjoy the Playbus
Tickets for 30mins fun on the Playbus are available to buy from our Children’s Centre’s today
Please purchase in advance to avoid disappointment on the day
£2 per ticket\Child Continue reading

37th Cambridge Film Festival: Music Therapy and Autism Documentary

Operation Syncopation: A new documentary film on music therapy and autism
Running time 100 mins.

This ground-breaking documentary follows Professor Amelia Oldfield as she revisits ten families who received music therapy from her over fifteen years ago, and explores the impact of the therapy on the life trajectories of young people with autism. Mixing archive footage from the original research, recordings of the sessions with Amelia Oldfield and the families, and specially shot interviews with Anglia Ruskin University music therapists, Operation Syncopation offers an unprecedented window into the work of the music therapist and the development of ways for parent and child to communicate. Directed by Maxim Thompson, who was one of Professor Oldfield’s patients as a child. Continue reading