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Hi <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the newsletter.

As we said in the last newsletter we are a growing organisation. In our case this is growing from micro to tiny, but it still involves a lot of work writing grant applications and keeping up with the record keeping necessary to write reports for the grants we have. It is wonderful to have our own space in a shared disability hub, but it also means that we need a certain level of income just to exist before we do a single thing.

The research into our programme “Exploring being Autistic” has now been written up as an article. Dr Laura Crane of CRAE, who has been a great friend to us, did this together with some of her colleagues and Caroline, and has submitted it to academic journals. Watch this space to hear if/when it is accepted and will see the light of day. It gives us great joy that our “in-person” community in Reading continues to grow. The connections and friendships between people going to our different groups continue to build and people are gaining support and strength from each other.  Nationally we continue to sell our book and would be grateful for any efforts you might make to promote this especially to libraries and academic institutions. We are also happy to publicise events of interest to autistic adults on our calendar.

We know that Christmas can be lovely for some and very difficult for others. Here are some tips from autistic people on coping with Christmas.
  • It’s okay to do things the way you want to, though you might need to discuss this with family members in advance.
  • If you are having a long, social day, plan in some breaks. If you can be honest, simply explain that you need some alone time. If not, try deliberately leaving something important in the car or at home so that you have a good excuse to pop out to fetch it. You might find offering to wash up or walk the dog gives you a rest from the party.
  • Bring an absorbing task such as craft or a jigsaw. 
  • If you are spending Christmas on your own rather than with friends or family, that is fine too. Have a plan for how you will spend the day, whether you want to volunteer to keep busy or choose yourself a book, film or craft project for the holiday and eat whatever food you enjoy the most as you don’t have to conform the expectation of “Christmas dinner.”

We wish you rest and joy over the festive season and into the new year.

With thanks to our funders.
Exploring Autism
Following the success of AutAngel's first Exploring Autism training day in October, we are now offering more talks and training in the new year.

Aspects of Autism is a 1-hour introduction to autism. This is free of charge, but booking is essential. We are offering this at Reading Library on Tuesday 14th January and Thursday 23rd January.

Exploring Autism (including Asperger syndrome) is a 1-day course that explores what autism feels like from the inside and the impact of the condition on individuals. The training is suitable for anyone interested in autism. Health and social care practitioners, autistic adults, and parents of autistic children, have all found it useful. This training is running on Saturdays 15th February, 18th April and 20th June.

More information and booking is available on our website.
Introducing Hannah Thompson - one of our volunteers who has taken on facilitation of some of our groups.
I discovered AutAngel in April 2016.  Once I had plucked up the courage to make contact I enjoyed attending groups and a year later did the Exploring Being Autistic Course.
It has been a brilliant way to meet people and friendships have built up over time. I enjoy supporting and welcoming people, so this year I have been facilitating groups, such as the Women’s Peer Support and Games sessions.

Luckily I have a strong sense of adventure, love of exploring and learning new skills. I have had a go at all sorts:  kayaking, clarinet, mountain biking, singing, sign language, hiking, archery, first aid and ju jitsu.

Recently I have been dabbling with calligraphy, Nia fitness, theatre, climbing/bouldering and possibly having a go at caving in the near future.  I am also volunteering for a cooking club helping young adults with disabilities, while I continue my search for paid work.

I look forward to catching up with everyone in the New Year and enjoying lots more adventures with you all!
Being Autistic

AutAngel's book, Being Autistic, is available for purchase from our website.

We are offering a special price for bulk orders of 90 books for £270.

We are hoping that Being Autistic is widely distributed to people who could benefit from it. If you are considering a bulk order to give out to autistic people that you work with, please contact us to receive a free sample copy.

Social Group

We had the Reading Social Group December/Seasonal get together at the weekend in our office. The decorations on the tree were made by an impromptu crochet session by members of the craft group at the get together.

The next social event is a visit to South Hill Park, Bracknell on Saturday 4th January for a guided walk around the exhibition “Life on the Spectrum” by the artist, Mahlia Amatina (Tina). The exhibition is free. Tina lives in the Reading area and will be known to some of our members from peer support groups. If you would like to attend, get in touch.
Double Rainbow Book Club
Reading's newest book club for autistic LGBTQ+ and allies. The Double Rainbow book group meets monthly to read and discuss books that represent lives lived on the Double Rainbow: LGBTQ+ autistic people. This is a new joint enterprise from Support U and Autistic Pride Reading.

For more information or to attend.
Upcoming Autism Events

The AutEvents Calendar has details of autism-related events. Here are a few of the upcoming events featured.

Cafe Autistique, Leeds. Tuesday 28th January, 5.30pm. A monthly discussion slot held at the Lovell Autism Hub, led by autistic people.

Salford Autism fortnightly Drop-in, Eccles. Friday 7th February, 10am - 4pm. Come for a chat, find out what's happening, who's doing what or going where, sort out a problem, or just be with people who won't give you a hard time for being yourself.

“Autism-Friendly” Environments, Westminster. Thursday March 5th. This one-day conference will explore the concept of ‘autism-friendliness’ within the scientific framework of universal design or ‘design for living’.

If you would like more information about these and other events, or you would like us to promote your own event, take a look at the AutEvents Calendar.
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