Autism and Asperger's event, Oxford City, Saturday 18th June 2016

Anxiety vs Happiness & Wellbeing: Two sides to the same Issue in Autism & Asperger’s?

Date: Sat, 18th June 2016

Time: 9.00am for 9.30am - 3.30pm

Wesley Memorial Church
New Inn Hall Street

Booking Rates:
Professionals: £60 (£50 plus 20% VAT).
ASC & Family members: £36 (£30 plus 20% VAT).
Concessionary Rate £24 (£20 plus 20% VAT)
Group Discount: 20% off for groups of 5 or more professionals

This event is presented by Autism Oxford. Wesley Memorial Church is in the heart of Oxford City and easily reached by public transport. There is no parking available on site, all Park & Ride buses stop nearby. Street parking is available for Blue Badge holders – first come, first served. Refreshments will be on sale at reasonable prices.

To book, please visit

Guest Speaker

Sarah Hendrickx

Sarah has been a keynote autism speaker at national autism conferences in the UK and overseas and specialises in speaking on all aspects of autism and Asperger syndrome including relationships, women, gender differences (sometimes with her autistic partner, Keith), employment and alcohol. She has an unusually blunt and humorous speaking style which is more informal and ‘says it like it is’ more than many professionals. She has written six books on the subject of autism.

Sarah was diagnosed autistic with Asperger syndrome at the age of 43 - after she had written several books on the subject. Autism in women is so invisible that Sarah did not recognise it in herself! Sarah speaks openly about her wide and varied life experiences in her talks as an autism speaker, including 30+ failed jobs, life-long mental health difficulties and numerous disastrous relationships - all of which she shares with humour and brutal honesty.

Sarah is a member of the National Autistic Society’s Accreditation Standards Panel, ensuring quality standards for autism services. She is also a member of the NAS Professional Conference Editorial Board.
Sarah and her partner Keith are co-authors of ‘Asperger Syndrome - A Love Story’. Sarah has also published ‘Love, Sex and Long-term Relationships’, ‘The Adolescent and Adult Neuro-diversity Handbook’, ‘Asperger Syndrome and Alcohol, drinking to cope’ and ‘Asperger’s Syndrome and Employment’. As well as an author, Sarah is a specialist trainer, consultant, conference speaker, and a stand-up comedian.
Sarah will look at two sides of well-being: minimising the stress and increasing the joy.

Anxiety is well accepted as one of the biggest impacts of autism for many autistic people. Understanding the root causal factors of anxiety is key to developing self-understanding and realistic goal-setting for improved wellbeing.

Happiness is often considered to be the ultimate mark of a good life. But what is it? How do you get it, and how do you keep hold of it? Its a hard concept to pin down for most people, and can we assume that it has the same meaning for autistic people?

Key learning from the day will include ideas to support anxiety management from a self-help and practitioner-guided perspective, and knowledge regarding what happiness means from an autistic perspective and ways to support autistic people to achieve it.

Autism Oxford UK Autistic Speakers

Richard Maguire
Acclaimed Author of ‘I Dream in Autism’, professional trainer and mentor; Richard is married with a teenaged autistic son. He is Head Coach, Mentor and Senior Trainer with Autism Oxford UK.

Drawing on his 30 years’ experience of working with young people and adults with Autism, Asperger’s and learning disabilities, Richard will discuss what works in reducing anxiety and bringing happiness. He will talk about the role of special interests, being active, and how to work on being, thinking and feeling positive. Richard will help us to understand how autistic people can learn from successes and how they can internalise positives in life – one of the most difficult things for autistic people to do.

Ann Memmott
Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Advisory Board for Autism and Adviser to the Church of England on autism National guidelines, and successful business woman, wife and mother.

Ann’s speech is called ‘Be ‘Normal’, Be Happy?’ She will discuss the notion that if autistic children, young people and adults can be ‘trained’ (using therapies of one sort or another) to be just like everybody else, they will be happier. The teaching is ‘don’t flap, don’t rock, don’t collect things, don’t use autistic communication methods………. don’t be yourself, don’t show your autism! Forget your own goals, aim for the same as neurotypicals, then you will be happier!’ But is this true?

Lisa Burridge
Full-time Aspie Mum to two autistic children, Lisa is an eloquent speaker with a talent for self-awareness and recognition of key issues faced by autistic children, young people and adults.

Lisa will talk about Alexithymia. She says: “The basic premise of knowing whether you’re anxious or happy is one that most people take as a given. For us (autistic people) that’s not the case! There’s a different starting point when you’re autistic. Our base levels of anxiety are high, always. But we don’t know this. We know life is hard, but categorising our emotional state is really, really tricky.

Chris Memmott
Autism trainer and mentor, former rugby player and teacher assistant in an autism-specific school

Chris will draw on his experience of working with children and young people with autism and Asperger’s to discuss issues around Anxiety, Happiness and Well-being. Further details tbc.

James Hoodless
Autism trainer and speaker, former retail assistant

James recently received very high praise for his speech at our Attwood & Garnett conference. This time, he will talk about Anxiety, Happiness and Well-being, further details tbc. He hopes to help others by sharing his observations and experiences.