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Conference To Tackle Issues Around Autism In The Church

A  conference to highlight and tackle issues around autism in the church will be held this weekend.

Venessa Bobb, founder of autism non-for-profit organisation A2ndvoice and Caroline Henthrone are working with churches in south London to raise awareness of the inclusion needs of autistic people.

Bobb has an autistic son who is 13 years old. She has been invited to speak at church events around London about her experience raising a child on the spectrum and has particular interest of raising awareness in black majority churches.

The conference is the fourth in the series and aims to bring together parents as well as the authorities who may or may not be aware whether the youth may be on the autistic spectrum.

“Many churches have a handful of autistic members, but not the resources to include them as they would wish to or aware of they maybe on the autistic spectrum,” the organisers said.

In the summer, the National Autistic Society held the launch of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) publication Diversity Perspective at the Houses of Commons for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) AGM.

Bobb was invited to speak on the panel as a mother raising a black child on the spectrum, along with Tom Madders, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the National Autistic Society, Baroness Pola Uddin, Ken Greaves and Laura Cockburn.

This weekend on Saturday November 28, A2ndvoice will again be working in partnership with other organisations to tackle and highlight the issues around autism amongst faith groups and the criminal justice system.

Speakers at Saturday’s conference include Rev Helen Matthews, a minister of the Balham and Tooting United Reformed Churches; Naomi Jacobs, a PhD researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), pastor Jonathan Swaby and Caroline Henthorne.

Henthorne is an autistic Christian living in Brixton. She is conducting post-graduate research into how Christian disability theology works for autistic people. She has written a chapter in the 2014 book, Lives With Autism. The book is used to train people who will be employed to support autistic people and who may find that one of their tasks is taking them to church.

The key note speaker on at the conference will be Ann Memmott, who has been researching how the church is responding to autism for more than a decade. As an autistic person herself, she is able to see how to make church a truly welcoming place for autistic people. Her guidance on making church services inclusive for autistic people has been published by the Church of England.

Is your church inclusive and accessible for autistic children and adults? Find out how you can help to outreach to families and individuals with autism.

*************************************For more information, contact:
Venessa: a2ndvoice@gmail.com or 07964 173 958
Caroline: c.e.henthorne@durham.ac.uk

Please register here to be at the conference.

Source: The Voice Online

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