How much do you know about autism?

With the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time coming to The Festival Theatre, we thought it would be a great idea to mark World Autism Day last week by engaging readers in a discussion about the novel.

And so last Thursday Central Library hosted ‘The Curious Incident of the Giant Book Group’.

autism awareness event

Councillor Ricky Henderson opened the event with a useful resume of council services and commitment to supporting those affected by autism.

Cerin Richardson, Learning and Participation Manager from the Festival Theatre then invited people to attempt the ‘Autism Spectrum Conditions Quiz’ which kick-started some interesting discussions among the groups present.

There are more males than females diagnosed with autism. True or false?

True! Well, actually, research suggests that the ratio of males to females diagnosed is about 4:1 although more recent research suggests that there are more females with autism than previously thought.

More than 500,000 people have autism in the UK. True or false?

Indeed that is also true:  research suggests that 1 in every 100 people has autism, and therefore, well over 500,000 have autism in the UK.

The MMR vaccination can cause autism. True or false?

Although there has been massive publicity on this topic, the weight of epidemiological evidence indicates that there is no statistically significant link between MMR vaccaine and autism…

Autism can be cured if treated early enough. True or false?

There is no cure for autism, but with the right support people can continue to learn and develop skills throughout their lives.

Cerin then went on to lead  a fascinating discussion, engaging those who had read and discussed in small groups,with invaluable input from Matthew Day, Service Coordinator at Autism Initiatives who has worked with adults on the Autism Spectrum for many years, and Amanda Wilson, whose son is on the spectrum. Amanda’s  personal experiences were very powerful and particularly appreciated by all participants.

‘ I particularly enjoyed the round table discussion and panel input, and linking the book to the play’

‘…Amanda’s account of being the mother of a boy with autism gave particular insight…’

‘I knew very little about autism at the start of the evening, but went away with much more understanding about the condition…’

Thanks to everyone who took part.

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