news bites
Partnership with Parents

CYA apprentice scoops award

Youth Mental Health Network (YMHN)

#Hash tag group for cannabis users

No Labels
news from CYA
Nominations open for the annual CYA Awards
Autism and Asperger Syndrome: an introduction
Welcome to the latest CAMHS newsletter. From now on the newsletter will be bi-monthly and each issue will feature around a different theme. This month the theme is autism.


Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.


It’s a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives, but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.


Asperger syndrome

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

Asperger syndrome is mostly a 'hidden disability'. This means that you can't tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance.


The affects of autism and aspergers

People with these conditions have difficulties in three main areas, known as the Triad of Impairments. They are:

Triad of Impairments


Social and emotional interaction

  • A lack of understanding of others feelings and emotions.
  • Difficulty interpreting other peoples facial expressions and body language.


Imagination and flexibility of thought

  • New or different situations can be unimaginable and therefore can be frightening.
  • Changes in routine are frightening/disorientating without the ability to imagine an alternative order of events.


Social communication and language

  • Difficulty using language socially and understanding the spoken word.
  • Understanding pictorial language, e.g. “It’s raining cats and dogs.”


How to interact

Consider the following when interacting with someone with autism or aspergers:


  • Get their attention before you start
  • Don’t force eye contact
  • Use visual information, such as pictures showing different emotions to find out how they are feeling
  • Use simple language
  • Allow time for the person to respond
  • If possible, avoid touching the person
  • Avoid sarcasm, metaphors or irony


How to cope with challenging behaviour

This information sheet by the National Autistic Society covers some of the challenging behaviours that children with autism often display. It also gives possible reasons for these behaviours, and suggestions for different ways of dealing with them.

Challenging behaviour info sheet


After diagnosis, what happens next?

The Surrey branch of the National Autistic Society have put together a guide especially for parents whose child has been diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

After diagnosis...what happens now


More information

For further information about Autism, make sure you read the pass it on, web watch and articles of interest sections of the newsletter. You can also go to the NAS Surrey website or see below or more contacts.



National Autism Society (NAS) 

Helpline: 0808 800 4104

NAS Surrey Branch  phone: 07423 434413



NAS Education Advocacy

Call: 0808 800 4102



NAS After-school/Youth clubs in Surrey 

Contact: Kate Nixon


Call: 01483 869552 or 07747460621


Disability Challengers (play/youth leisure schemes)

Call: 01483 579 390


Surrey County Council Family Information Service

Call: 0300 200 1004



Training for professionals

NAS Surrey Resource Centre in Godalming

Contact: Kate Nixon


Call: 01483 869552 or 07747460621


Support for carers


Carers Support East Surrey

01883 745 057

Carers Support Elmbridge

01932 235 770

Carers Support Epsom

01372 722 269

Carers Support Guildford

01483 458 123

Carers Support Mid Surrey

01372 722 269

Carers Support Mole Valley

01306 640 020

Carers Support Runnymede

01932 564 446

Carers Support Spelthorne

01784 446 234

 No email

Carers Support Surrey Heath

273 90

Carers Support Waverley

01252 718 166

Carers Support Woking

01483 727 277

Partnership with Parents
What do you know about the service?

Partnership with Parents (PwP) provides information, advice and support for parents of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in Surrey.


PwP aims to ensure that parents are able to play an informed part in any SEN decisions made for their son or daughter and to build educational provision partnerships between parents, the Local Education Authority (LEA) and schools.


PwP offers:

  • A confidential helpline for parents - an adviser will respond to your call or email within 48 hours
  • help to complete forms, documents and reports
  • support at meetings in school, for example annual reviews
  • support through the statutory assessment process (statementing)
  • information about Surrey County Council's procedures for the identification and assessment of SEN
  • support if your child is excluded from school
  • where appropriate, referral on to statutory or voluntary organisations for further support.

To find out more about Partnership with Parents visit their website or call 01737 737300.

CYA apprentice scoops award
Congratulations to Laura Whittam

The winners of the Surrey County Council Apprentice Awards were announced recently and CYA’s (CAMHS Youth Advisors) very own Laura Whittam was crowned the winner of ‘Excellent Apprentice’.


In the face of competition from other apprentices working in the council, Laura won the award as recognition of all her hard work with the CYA team.


Big congratulations to Laura, well done! 

Youth Mental Health Network (YMHN)
Promoting mental health across the south of England

The Youth Mental Health Network launched in December with an aim to improve youth mental health services. The network is driven and made up of individuals and groups that are passionate about improving the mental health of young people.


To find out more contact Sarah Amani or visit the website.

#Hash tag group for cannabis users
West Early Intervention in Psychosis Team has set up #Hash tag, a group for cannabis users.

The group is a 6-week programme for those who feel cannabis is affecting their health and well-being. The group aims to help those who want to cut down or stop using the drug completely by setting realistic goals.


Cannabis facts:


  • Half of all 16 to 29 year olds have tried it at least once.
  • There’s roughly 400 chemical compounds in an average cannabis plant.
  • One in 10 cannabis users have unpleasant experiences, including confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia.
  • Regular use of the drug doubles the risk of developing a psychotic episode or long-term schizophrenia.


The first session is taking place on 8 March at Buryfields, Guildford. For more information call Sharon Snape on 01252 350387.

No Labels
A service for those who have become disengaged

The No Labels team are currently working hard to help take the service countywide and reach those who won’t engage or who have become disengaged from CAMHS.


If you would like to be added to the monthly No Labels newsletter or for more information, email
Nominations open for the annual CYA Awards

You are invited to come to an evening celebration of young people’s and professional’s achievements within CAMHS.


This year’s CYA awards will be held on 26 April at Surrey University from 6pm – 9pm.


Nominations are open for anyone you feel deserves to be awarded for their hard work over the last year. Nominate now.


Want to come to the ceremony? Let us know.

The National Autistic Society
Find out about the charity’s work in Surrey

The National Autistic Society (NAS) is the UK's leading charity for people affected by autism.


In Surrey NAS has two elements, voluntary (NAS Surrey Branch) and professional (NAS Surrey Resource Centre)


What they offer:

  • Allow parents to meet through coffee mornings
  • Provide information on Autism Spectrum Disorder and services available
  • Host talks about topics relevant for families
  • A large conference for parents and professionals every two years
  • Organise activities for families
  • Represent parents’ views to local authorities and campaigns on behalf of families


Contact Emma Whitfield on 07423435413 or email


Visit the NAS Surrey website. 

Autism Services Directory
Find residential information and support near you

This directory, run by the National Autistic Society, isthe UK's most comprehensive directory of services and support for people with an autism spectrum disorder, their families, and people who work with them.


Go to the directory.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
A useful read to gain insight into Asperger syndrome

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is 15 and has Asperger syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out of a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.


Buy the book online.

Asperger syndrome: suddenly everything made sense - a case study

I'd always found the world a bit confusing. I never understood why people behave the way they do and why I never really seemed to fit in. I'd done well at school, but had found it difficult to relate to people and to make friends. I always tried to avoid social occasions but when I couldn't get out of them I'd end up sitting in a corner, lost in a world of my own.


I did well at university though and married my fantastic (and extremely patient) wife. After graduating, I got a good job that I enjoyed, but I still couldn't help feeling that I was an observer on the outside. As if there was a big secret that everybody in the world knew but me.


Then, about two years ago, my wife watched a documentary about Asperger syndrome and instantly recognised that it was describing me. Suddenly everything made sense. I realised why I find some things difficult, when they seem to come naturally to everyone else. I realised why I don't always understand what people are saying or feeling. I realised why I sometimes feel isolated and alone.


Since then, I've tried to learn more about things, such as understanding body language and facial expressions, which had previously eluded me. I've read book after book on social interaction and communication, which have helped me to build up my own set of rules for dealing with people. Although this doesn't yet put me on a par with 'neurotypicals' who understand these things automatically, it does make it easier for me to socialise and to develop relationships with friends and colleagues.

For instance, I'd always found it difficult to make small talk until I read that the aim of such conversations is merely to pass the time, and that it's OK to drift from topic to topic without reaching any specific conclusions. If only I'd known that it was that simple!


I've also realised that there are some things that come easily to me that other people find difficult. For example, I've found that I'm able to understand complex ideas and then explain them to others, and that I can see patterns or trends in numbers and other information that other people can't. I find it easy to learn foreign languages: I speak French, German and Russian, and am learning Dutch and Chinese. I'm also fairly bright academically and enjoy learning new things, even though I find it difficult sometimes to concentrate and to understand things that I have read.


Learning about Asperger syndrome has taught me that I have many talents but that I need to nurture these rather than try to pretend that I'm 'normal' like everybody else.

So I've made a few changes to my life. I still work in my old job, though now part-time for three days a week. This means that I can focus on solving technical, financial and organisational problems for my clients, which I enjoy and am good at, rather than on managing staff.


In my two 'extra' days, I'm doing a degree in physics with the Open University, which not only challenges me intellectually but also feeds my passion for learning and knowledge. Since my optician diagnosed me with visual dyslexia, I'm now the proud wearer of a pair of blue-tinted spectacles, which means that I now find it much easier to read and to recall what I've read.


In the small amount of spare time that remains, I'm trying to learn more about my Asperger syndrome and to write about my experiences and the many other things that interest me. I do this just for fun at the moment, but hope to get some of my articles published one day. Although, given the length of time it's taken me to write this, I'm glad I have another source of income!


These may not sound like momentous changes, but to me they represent a fundamental shift in what I want to do with my life. I've realised that it's not about doing what everybody else does, but about doing what I want to do. It's about following my own path, living my own life and finding my own definition of success. I'm still not sure whether having Asperger syndrome is a good or a bad thing, but what I do know is that it's part of what makes me who I am. And I'm OK with that.

By Simon


Since writing this article, Simon has become the author of Body language and communication: a guide for people with autism spectrum disorders, published by The National Autistic Society.

Autism and Asperger Syndrome: Overview and Classroom Strategies

As an Educational Psychologist, Mike O’Connor provides lots of helpful advice aimed primarily at teachers of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in mainstream schools.


This article is a useful introduction for any teacher unfamiliar with ASD.
Many services can become autism-friendly – survey results

A survey has found many everyday services could become less daunting for people with autism if a few small, simple changes are made to the way they are provided.


Read the article.
Effect of a vitamin/mineral supplement on children and adults with autism

Vitamin and mineral supplements are among the most commonly used treatments for autism, but the research on their use for treating autism has been limited.


Read the article.
Challenging behaviour and autism - evidence based assessment and intervention

Effective strategies for behaviour management are essential within schools, residential homes, play schemes and other settings, to create an environment in which individuals can thrive.


In this two-day course professionals will learn how to develop individualised behaviour plans based on evidence-based assessment, and how to monitor interventions to achieve success.


Wednesday 28 March, London. More about the course.
World Autism Awareness Day – 2 April 2012

Run by the United Nations, World Autism Awareness Day encourages people across the world to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention.


Visit the website.
Feeling Good Week 2012 – NEW DATE

Feeling Good Week, which usually takes place at the beginning of July, is changing its date. This year it will be held from the 18–22 June.


To keep up to date with the latest Feeling Good Week news visit the website.
National Family Week 2012

It’s official. National Family Week will be back, bigger and better in 2012.

Thousands of family friendly events will take place during the month of August. From Saturday 25 – Friday 31 August 2012 there will be huge giveaways, great competitions and loads of special offers to encourage and help families to spend quality time together.

It’s going to be a jam-packed fun celebration. To find how your organisation and family can get involved visit

Hello, goodbye and congratulations

Hello to

CPN Nick Ritchie started with West Early Intervention in Psychosis Service in December.


Rebecca Robertson who is working two days a week as Community Development Manager, East (sharing the post with Louise Paque).


Rosie Elfalin, full time co-ordinator of 3Cs (CAMHS for Children in Care).


Lydine Gold, social worker 3Cs (CAMHS for Children in Care).


Leanne Porritt, who joined the CAMHS communications team in January.


Goodbye to

CPN Clare Sartin and STR Worker Joy Wright from West Early Intervention in Psychosis Service.


Wendy Smith is leaving West PMHT to take up a family psychotherapy post in the SW Sector.


Congratulations to

Tori Karp who takes over from Wendy Smith as SW PMHT lead.


Liz Langley, who is currently on secondment at SALP, has been appointed to SW Short Stay Schools Post.






Resource for SEN teachers

Do2Learn contains lots of information and printable resources for teachers to use in lessons with children who have special educational needs.


The website includes:


  • Printable resources for literacy, maths and communication skills.
  • Strategies to encourage good behaviour.
  • Advice on finding jobs after education.


Go to Do2Learn.

ARC – Autism Research Centre

The Autism Research Centre based at Cambridge University has 30 research scientists working on autism.


The mission of the ARC is to understand the biomedical causes of autism spectrum conditions, and develop new and validated methods for assessment and intervention.


The team regularly produce papers and literature containing their findings, go to the website to read them.
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