Share Magazine Spring 2022
Welcome to the Spring 2022 issue of Share magazine.
This edition includes a diverse array of topics. Carrie Ballantyne’s article shares some of the issues that can arise when police in Scotland engage with autistic people, and outlines some of the training needs that have been identified among Police Scotland officers. We meet Holly Sutherland, a PhD student at Edinburgh University who will be working with Scottish Autism to explore the communication preferences of autistic people, and we interview Dr Rebecca Wood about her exciting new book on autistic teachers. Finally, we remember Dinah Murray, an influential and compassionate advocate for autistic people who sadly passed away last year. Among Dinah’s many achievements was the theory of monotropism in autistic thinking.
It has been a busy time at Scottish Autism’s Centre for Practice Innovation, our hub for bringing together research, policy and practice development.
In collaboration with Fife Health and Social Care Partnership we will be exploring ways to deliver accessible and appropriate mental health support through our One Stop Shop in Fife, addressing an issue highlighted in a previous issue of Share by Sonny Hallet. We have also continued to provide online support through our Affinity programme, ‘Click and Connect’ social activities and post-diagnostic support services. These innovations are all being rigorously evaluated to ensure that successful elements can be replicated in future.
We are delighted that the Scottish Government has now begun consultation on an autism, learning disability and neurodiversity bill. Particularly important has been the commitment to hear from as many perspectives as possible and Scottish Autism looks forward to seeing the bill take shape. We will continue to advocate for the inclusion of a commissioner to champion the rights of autistic people and to hold policy-makers and services to account in delivering on those rights.
In May 2022 we will host our twice-postponed conference, entitled ‘Behind the Mask’. The online conference will explore ways that we can support the wellbeing of autistic people based on acceptance of diverse thinking and communication styles. We will hear both lived experience and research perspectives on the ways in which autistic people feel that they have to fit into societal norms and expectations (known as ‘masking’) and the detriments to wellbeing that often arise as a result. Since we first mooted this conference theme two and a half years ago, a wealth of new work has been published on this topic and we were pleased to include the work of Amy Pearson in the last issue.
We are sure that the conference will be an occasion for reflection, dialogue and debate on the topic and hope that many Share readers will be able to join us for the online event.
Dr Joe Long