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University to host North Wales' first annual autism conference in Wrexham

Autism conf

Wrexham Glyndwr University is hosting the first North Wales Annual Autism Conference next month.

The event is an opportunity for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Condition, families and professionals to network and access credible information from educators, researchers and specialists working in the field of autism.

The conference has been organised and planned by Angie Atherton, from AA Autism Support, which provides an autism-specific childcare service for families in north east Wales.

Angie was inspired to launch the event as she has family and friends with Autism Spectrum Conditions.

She said: “This is an opportunity to hear professionals and specialists share their knowledge, experiences, research and methods of good practice about how we can all work in partnership to reduce the barriers within education, employment, healthcare and in the wider community.

“This will enable individuals to progress in every area and therefore improve self-esteem, confidence and develop opportunities for everyone to feel valued, understood and included in society.”

Angie has been supported by Willow Holloway, founder of the Autistic Woman’s Empowerment (AWE) Project, a user-led peer support network for Autistic and Neuro-Divergent women and girls around the UK.

The conference will include speakers Dr Luke Beardon, senior lecturer at The Autism Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, who has worked in the field of autism in various capacities ranging from practitioner, researcher, and consultant in many specialist areas of autism for more than 20 years. 

Also presenting at the conference will be Edinburgh Festival award-winning comedian, John Williams, who was recently featured in The Guardian with his new book.

Angie said: “John’s unique way of telling and sharing his story about him and his amazing son, titled My Son's Not Rainman, has been performed all over the country to sell out audiences in theatres, comedy clubs, headteachers’ conferences, autism events, teacher training days and fund raising events.”

Other presenters include local speaker Alex Lowery, autism educator and public speaker, David Reiser, highly-specialised speech and language therapist, Dr Linda Buchan, a consultant clinical psychologist at Axia ASD Ltd in Chester, speaking about Statistics from a Clinician.

Also speaking is Dr Jacqui Jackson, an autism researcher, consultant, author and parent of eight children, five with “neurological shades of difference" as she describes them.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter played the supermum in a film about her life, Magnificent 7.

Mark Isherwood AM, chair of the cross party autism group, will be chairing the event; NAS Cymru will be attending to give an update on the cross party autism group and autism development in the National Assembly for Wales and MP David Hanson will be attending to give an update from Westminster.  

Angie added: “Willow and our conference team would like to see the conference grow and develop into an annual event that individuals, families, professionals and the wider community will look forward to, and which will allow everyone to come together to access a programme of renowned specialist speakers in the field of autism.”

The North Wales Annual Autism Conference will be held at the Catrin Finch Centre, Wrexham Glyndwr University on Friday, October 7 from 8.30am-5pm.

For tickets click here or call 01978 293494.