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The Toby Henderson Trusts weekly round up of autism news

Autism News Round-Up: September 23 2016

Mothers of ASD children at higher risk for heart disease

Study shows that mothers With Autistic Children Are At Risk Of Developing Heart DiseaseResearchers at the University of California have found that mothers raising autistic children are at higher risk for heart disease. While all parents experience stress, the new study suggests those with autistic children face more heart disease-inducing stress than most others. They think that this is because children on the spectrum are more likely to engage in behaviour that is emotionally stressful for parents.

The study showed that 30% of the mothers with children with autism had higher levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ compared to just 8% of mothers of children with ‘neurotypical’ children.

Autism-friendly sessions at The Baltic

playground-projectThe Playground Project exhibition at The Baltic in Gateshead is the first in a planned series of exhibits at the gallery that have been earmarked for an autism-friendly viewing. The space will be made more relaxed by using only natural light and turning the volume on films down. A dark, quiet space will be available throughout the session and staff have had training from the North East Autism Society too.

The special sessions are free, but booking is essential as tickets are limited. A visual story will be sent out prior to the visit to help visitors with autism know what to expect in advance. The next session is on Tuesday, October 25 from 9:30-10:30am.

London College for young adults with autism

ambitious-collegeFewer than one in four young people with autism manage to get a place in further education, according to research by Ambitious About Autism. But a London college is giving young adults with autism a chance at a career.

Ambitious College is one of the few around the country which caters for young people with complex autism. The learners share facilities with students at two existing colleges so that they can develop the skills needed to work and live in a mainstream community. There are hopes that more colleges will be set up across the UK using the Ambitious model.

Sesame Street’s online show educates about autism

Sesame Street's See Amazing autism websiteDiagnosis of autism is common, but understanding still is not. That’s why the makers of Sesame Street have created a website to educate adults and children about autism. The site aims to highlight both the differences and similarities between children with autism and their neurotypical peers and siblings. It also hopes to help everyone to have successful interactions with kids on the spectrum.

The website has useful resources like animated social stories featuring popular Sesame Street characters, tips on preparing for outings (which you may already use but could be helpful for grandparents, for example), advice for siblings, or what to say to the parents of someone with autism. The highlight of the site is a series of videos for children and adults.

Teesider Anna Kennedy recognised for work in autism

Anna Kennedy OBE wins award for her work improving education for autistic people.A Middlesborough mother and autism campaigner has been awarded the Best Humanitarian Award at The International Achievement Recognition Awards in London for her work improving education for autistic people.

Anna Kennedy OBE has set up schools to provide an improved education and other facilities for children affected by Asperger Syndrome and Autism. She has now expanded this support to include a college, a respite home and a website with over 50,000 international followers.

Spanish Evening at Toby House

tapas-eveningCome and meet other parents of children with autism at our Spanish evening at Toby HouseTickets are just £5 each and include yummy tapas and your first glass of sangria.

We’ll have more drinks available to buy. Browse our range of costume jewelry and Scentsy home fragrances to get some early Christmas shopping done too! And you’ll be helping us to raise funds to support our work. To book your place, give us a call on 0800 365 3055, or e-mail

How Google Glass could help children with autism

A new use for Google Glass: Helping children with autism understand emotionGoogle discontinued production of its Google Glass hardware last year, but uses are still being found for the gadget. Stanford University has developed an app that can help children on the autism spectrum to recognise facial expressions and emotions.

When the device’s camera detects an emotion such as happiness or sadness, it displays a colour or emoji that indicates which emotion the wearer is seeing. Typical behavioural therapy teaches children emotions by using flashcards. But this doesn’t always translate well to real life. The Google Glass method is more immediate and realistic and could work on any augmented reality device.

Aldi Staff make autistic boy’s day

Autistic boy gets a brilliant birthday surprise from his favourite place in the world - AldiStaff at a branch of Aldi in Stockport  suprised an autistic 14 year old lad by making sure he got the birthday present he wanted. Owen Whitelegg loves this branch of Aldi as the staff are patient and kind. They take time out to talk to him and make him feel valued.

On one visit he was mesmerised by a set of shiny metal boules in the shop. His mum asked the staff to put them aside for him so she could come back and get them for his birthday. When they went missing, the staff phoned every Aldi until they found a set to replace them. And then they wrapped them up and gave them to Owen as a gift next time they saw him at the shop!