Raising awareness · Shows and conferences · Special Education

The Welsh Autism Show 2018

To end this week of awareness raising through autism-friendly events and practice nationwide, I thought I’d share details of a recent show.

A couple of weeks ago, on 28th September, I managed a long lunchtime break and dashed across Cardiff to attend this year’s Welsh Autism Show. I had spent the whole day there last year, at the inaugural show, and had followed the organisers’ plans and events in the meantime, so I was keen to attend again.

Once again the event was held at Cardiff City Stadium. It’s a good venue, easy to get to with lots of free parking, close to the local train station and next to a retail park.

Last year I had felt the exhibition space was a little congested. This year there seemed to be about 50% more exhibitors, but there were definitely fewer pinch points, which was an impressive improvement, facilitated I think by reversing the seminar and exhibition spaces (I may be wrong about that). A quiet space was clearly signposted, too.

It was great to see familiar faces and the evidence that so many of us are working on improving both provision and inclusion in Wales

I had attended Joanne Harries‘ LEGO therapy session last year and have had the chance to meet in person since, so I was hoping to say hello – Seirrah Therapies’ lovely stall was too busy for me to get to the front of the queue in the limited time I had on the day, though.

The lineup of speakers was again impressive. Whilst I pride myself on staying up to date with Wales’s changing SEN (ALN) legislation, I was sorry to miss Michael Charles‘ talk this year – do try and hear him speak if you get the chance to attend one of his regular free updates.

For me the highlight of my stolen lunch-hour was the chance to hear Anna Kennedy speak. Wow! I was aware of her amazing work with Autism’s got Talent, but had not heard her story, including passages from her book, the journey of discovery with her beautiful boys and the founding of a charity a school and so much more – a life well lived. Just awe-inspiring.

The Welsh Autism Shows started in Cardiff in 2017 and have been in Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Llandudno in 2018. They will be on my watchlist for 2019.

You can catch up on 2017’s talks and seminars here, and I’ll add a link when 2018’s become available.

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