Share Magazine Winter 2020
Letter from the Editor
Welcome to the Winter 2020 edition of Share magazine, produced in what continue to be unsettling and difficult times for many of us as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. In the last edition we documented service responses to lockdown and our proposal for an Autism and Learning Disability Commissioner in Scotland. A commissioner would ensure that we do not return to ‘business as usual’ after the pandemic but begin to address some of the shortfalls in service provision that autistic people experience. Those debates and discussions continue. Since then the Scottish Government have announced a comprehensive review of social care. In this issue our Chief Executive, Dorry McLaughlin, and myself share some of Scottish Autism’s suggestions for improving social care provision for autistic people. These include more joined-up commissioning of services across the lifespan and investment in a professionalised, skilled workforce.
As we look to build back better, Share magazine continues its mission to showcase research and practice innovation that can inform improved autism services.
We are delighted that the Scottish Government has invested in provision for better post diagnostic support and Caroline Hearst and Laura Crane’s contribution evidences the value of autistic-led, peer support for newly diagnosed autistic adults.
Jack Howes' article on the University experiences of autistic students combines first-person reflections with research undertaken together with Dr Eilidh Cage, now at the University of Stirling. The research shows that many autistic students find university life extremely challenging and too often drop out. Yet the article makes some important suggestions for more proactive support of autistic students. As universities face the challenge of re-shaping how they operate, the importance of inclusive, accessible learning environments is more salient than ever.
In our culturally diverse society it is important that we ensure our practice is appropriate to support people of all backgrounds and Bérengère Digard’s illuminating article on autism and bilingualism provides some important pointers for supporting autistic people from migrant communities or who have mixed cultural heritage.
Scottish Autism’s Centre for Practice Innovation is lucky to have such a broad network of colleagues and friends that contribute to Share. While few of us have had the chance to meet in person in 2020, the strength of these networks has been vital to continue the business of exchanging ideas, advocating for good practice and pushing for policy to better meet the rights of autistic people. We thank you all for your continued support and engagement.
If you would prefer to read Share offline you can download a PDF of the magazine here.
Dr Joe Long
Research and Policy Lead,