New Social Network for people with autism & their families!

Autism West Midlands Logo‘Connect’ is the UK’s first Social Network for people with autism and their families. It has been developed by Autism West Midlands with funding from the Department for Education.

On ‘Connect’ you can:
• Develop your own social network, featuring the people and providers who give you support
• Search for people local to you who are going through similar experiences
• Share your experiences and thoughts, ask questions, give answers, and interact with other members (you can even send hugs!)
• Find and promote local activities and events
• Rate and review local providers and services, sharing them with others through the directory
• Access free autism eLearning
• Download information and visual resources
• Share ideas and suggestions for local support and activities

‘Connect’ has been in “soft launch” mode, with about 50 members signed up already but from today the site will be officially live!
You can get to the site by clicking here 

Autism West Midlands – Parent Workshop & Activities

Autism West Midlands LogoHere is a summary of what Autism West Midlands have coming up in early 2014 for families with children on the autism spectrum, including their half term activities and a parent workshop on teenage issues.

Full details are on the website links.

NEW – Producing music workshops (using a professional music studio) on Saturday afternoons in Oswestry for 10-18 year olds. Starting 8 Feb 2014:

Games and Lego for all ages in Shrewsbury Monday 17 Feb 2014:

Please also remember that the Saturday Board Games Groups are still meeting each month in Whitchurch and Market Drayton (9-18 year olds). Contact Hilary McGlynn if you would like more information: 0788 110 9586 or

Photography workshops at half term for 10–18 year olds at Attingham Park. A choice of a full day on 19 February or a half day on 20 February 2014:

Stay and Play for under 5s in Shrewsbury – Fridays 10.00am-12.00 pm on 24 January, 21 February, 25 April, and 30 May:

Workshop for parents “Teens on the autism spectrum” Saturday 22 March, 9.30am to 12.30pm in Shrewsbury:    

Autism West Midlands – NEW parent/carer course and Music Workshops for young people

Autism West Midlands LogoPractical Interventions Course for parents/carers

Please find details of a new course which takes place over 5 weeks (Tuesday evenings) in November/December. The course is aimed at parents/carers of children on the autism spectrum who have to physically intervene with their child to manage their challenging behaviour. The course will be delivered by one of our AWM training team using the Studio III approach

Parents/carers need to contact Autism West Midlands for a booking form. Due to the nature of the course there are only 12 places so they will be booked on a first come first served basis on receipt of the booking form and course fee (£20 for all 5 sessions). Similarly because of the limited number of places we are asking parents to be sure that they are able to attend all session dates before they book.

We are very grateful to Shropshire Council/Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group for the opportunity to bring this training to Shropshire. For this reason the course is only open to parent/carers of Shropshire children under 18 with autism/autistic traits.

Please contact Hilary McGlynn at Autism West Midlands for a booking form or more information: 01743 210940 or email


NEW! ‘All In’ Music Workshops

“Exploring Sound” Music workshops for 11-18 year olds on the autism spectrum with Penny Burns

Thursdays 5.30 to 6.30pm

5 weeks – 10th, 17th, 24th October and 7th, 14th November At Claremont Baptist Church, Shrewsbury town centre, SY1 1QG (near old Argos )

£10 per young person for all 5 sessions

•Meet others and have some fun

•Express your creativity, and develop skills

•Small group, maximum 10 per workshop

•Experienced and qualified workshop leader

•Supported by Autism West Midlands staff

For more information or to book a place please contact Emma Hegenbarth on 0788 110 9480 or email

New contact numbers for Autism West Midlands

Autism West Midlands LogoThe mobile numbers for the Autism West Midlands staff in Shropshire have changed. Please note their new numbers:
* Hilary McGlynn: 0788 110 9486
* Simon Fraser: 0788 110 9514
* Emma Hegenbarth: 0788 110 9480

Other contact numbers remain the same.

Information Helpline: 0303 0300 111
This number can be used for new referrals for initial advice and information and to book an appointment to meet one of the Shropshire team at an advice session.

Shrewsbury Office: 01743 210940

Autism West Midlands ‘Aspire’ Summer Programme

Autism West Midlands LogoAutism West Midlands have been successful in gaining Shropshire Council Short Breaks funding to run a Summer Holiday Programme for young people aged 16-18 with Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism living in Shropshire.

This course is a great way to meet other young people, have some fun and start planning for the future. The course will cover a range of topics including communication skills, personal relationships, future options, health and well being and will be delivered by our Autism West Midlands Aspire colleagues (AWM’s employment project).

Location: Gateway Education and Arts Centre in Shrewsbury.
Time: Sessions will start at 10.45am and finish at 2.45pm.
Cost: £60 for six weeks. Participants will need to attend the whole course.

There may be support from a hardship fund if the cost prevents a young person attending. There will also be the option to pay by installments.

Further information including course content is available by clicking here.

If you would like to find out more please contact Autism West Midlands Aspire colleagues by email: or by phone: 0121 450 7582

Autism West Midlands: Workshops & Advice sessions

Autism West Midlands LogoFree workshops in Shrewsbury for family carers living in Shropshire

Autism West Midlands are running “Rising to the Challenge” parent workshops again this year with 3 sessions before the summer holidays and 3 sessions after. There is a choice of day time or evening sessions.

The 6 sessions are FREE and for family carers of children with autism spectrum conditions who live in the Shropshire Council area (it’s ok if your child is not diagnosed so long as autism is being considered)

Bookings are being taken by email or phone and priority will be given to families attending for the first time and booking on all six sessions. If families have attended previously but missed a session or would like to attend again please get in touch.

For further information about the workshops including how to book a place please click here.


Advice sessions for family carers and professionals

Autism West Midlands are also offering advice sessions in various locations across Shropshire. Parents or professionals are able to book a slot to meet a member of the team for a one to one appointment.

For session dates and times and to book an appointment please call the Autism West Midlands Information Helpline on 0303 03 00 111 or email


World Autism Awareness Day 2013

People and organisations around the world will come together today (2nd April) to raise awareness of autism, with events and activities continuing throughout the month.

Autism is much more common than many people think, with over half a million people in the UK having the condition. If you include their families, autism touches the lives of over two million people every day.
(Information taken from The National Autistic Society)

In Shropshire Autism West Midlands are celebrating World Autism Awareness Month on Friday 5th April. The event will be taking place at St Barnabas Community Church Centre in Shrewsbury (SY3 7DN) from 10am-2pm. Entrance is free for children and £1 for adults. There will be toys, games, arts and crafts, information stands, sensory taster experiences and much more. There will also be a photographer to take children’s portraits and an autism friendly hairdresser – additional charges will apply.

Autism West Midlands LogoFor further information contact Emma Hegenbarth on 07989 682701 or email

Drama Workshops – A success story…

Autism West Midlands LogoThrough Shropshire’s Short Breaks programme, Autism West Midlands provided some Drama Workshops for young people on the autism spectrum.

Emma Hegenbarth, one of the Shropshire Autism Development Coordinators shares a story of how the workshops have benefited one young person:

“Chloe attended Autism West Midlands drama workshops earlier in 2012. As a result she has gone from strength to strength and has joined a local main stream drama group. She was really nervous about trying a new activity and meeting new people but her love of drama spurred her on to give it a whirl. The sessions were provided just for children on the autism spectrum so everyone understood the challenges she was facing and the things she may find difficult. The groups were small which helped her feel more settled and meant she got to know everyone more easily. Meeting other young people on the spectrum was a real breakthrough for Chloe, it helped her realise she isn’t the only one – now she feels less isolated and more positive about the condition. Although the sessions were only short (about an hour) it still made a BIG difference to Chloe and her family – it gave her something to look forward to, the chance to spend time away from her family and develop her skills.
Chloe says that joining in with Short Breaks has helped her become more confident about trying new things, and was the catalyst to her joining a main stream drama group – in the New Year she is hoping to do two sessions every week. This is a fantastic achievement for Chloe; in the future she would like to study drama in more depth and perform in more productions.”

As well as Short Break opportunities Autism West Midlands also provide a variety of other services to families and professionals with autism spectrum concerns.
You can contact the Autism West Midlands Information Helpline on 0303 03 00 111 or take a look on their website for more information.