Learning Disabilities and Autism: Promoting Positive Outcomes

  • Tuesday, 12 March 2019
  • Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 15:45
  • Overview

Open Forum Events has developed a reputation for delivering high quality conferences focusing on the lives of people living with learning disabilities and/or autism. We are pleased to announce that we are expanding our portfolio of such meetings with the publication of our 6th event- Learning Disabilities and Autism: Promoting Positive Outcomes.

With soundbites from the government on future social care and the NHS pledging to make learning disabilities and/or autism a ‘national priority’ in their upcoming 10-year plan, this conference will be concentrating on the support and services that are essential for people to thrive. Individuals with learning disabilities and/or autism have the same basic rights to receive equity in areas such as healthcare, independent living, employment opportunities and accommodation. Removing the barriers and providing adequate provision is essential.

The conference agenda will introduce new speakers, delivering expert insight into areas of interest not previously addressed.
Attendees at this event will benefit from significant, informative content that will focus on enhancing lives and fulfilling potential.

Discussion areas will include:

  • meeting future needs
  • support provision and initiatives already in place and fulfilling a role
  • examples of best-case practice

Open Forum Events is pleased to invite delegates, old and new, to a day of knowledge sharing, discussion and networking. Ideally, the information gained will be applied and utilised in contributing to positive outcomes for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.


There are around 1.5m people in the UK who have a learning disability and around 700,000 people living with autism.
A learning disability affects the way a person learns new things; how they understand and interpret information; and how they communicate.
‘Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with
and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.’

(Source:The National Autistic Society http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is.aspx).

Both can present themselves as mild, moderate or severe, which dictates the level of intervention and support needed by each individual. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Reviewing the most recent activity, there are two significant announcements designed to improve the lives of people with learning difficulties and/or autism.
Firstly, the government has announced a “parallel programme of work” on working-age adults with care needs, which would be aligned with a new green paper on older people’s social care. Secondly, as the NHS prepares its 10-year plan, it has committed to making learning difficulties and/or autism a priority, as it strives to improve health services.
The Learning Disabilities and Autism: Promoting Positive Outcomes conference will address a number of needs that are being met by services and initiatives that are already in operation and making a difference. Eradicating health inequalities is key to ensuring that people can experience good health and wellbeing.
Promoting in work support schemes cannot only assist work retention but can remove some of the obstacles in the recruitment process. To provide themselves with secure work, some people have gone down the self-advocacy route, creating meaningful jobs for themselves, whilst helping to dictate the future services on offer.
Following the Winterbourne View scandal, keeping people out of institutions has been a priority and the closures of such places continue. Having safe and caring environments in the community, as provided by the Shared Lives programmes, can help with the progress towards independent living, provide respite for carers and develop meaningful bonds and relationships.
There may be other considerations, running in parallel, that can impact on the quality of people’s lives.
As the general population continues to get older, proportionally the number of people with learning difficulties and/or autism rises, exposing them to risk of developing dementia.
Challenging behaviour and complex histories can also create additional concern and requires sensitive handling.
Join us at The Learning Disabilities and Autism: Promoting Positive Outcomes where the conversation continues on this most important subject


Read more
  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address

  • Jane Carolan, Deputy CEO and Director of Operations , Autism Together (confirmed)

Keynote Address

  • Dr Tom Jackson, Clinical Lead & Head of Learning Disability Services - South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Director of the Yorkshire & Humber Learning Disability & Autism Operational Delivery Network, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SWYPFT) (confirmed)
"The NHS Long Term Plan for People with Learning Disabilities & Autism"

The presentation will:

Briefly describe the history of health care policy in relation to people with learning disabilities & autism as context for Transforming Care Programme and Long-Term Plan.
Identify key drivers for change in the delivery of health service for people with learning disabilities & autism.
Outline the proposals and vision of the NHS Long Term Plan for people with Learning Disabilities & Autism.

  • Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive Officer, Learning Disability Forum (confirmed)
"Supporting People into Work and in the Workforce"

Fewer than 6% of people with a learning disability and/or Autism are in paid work but about 65% would like a job. A lack of supported employment services within organisations can prevent people from getting into work and then staying in work.


  • Tracey Garcia, Manager of Dimensions Quality Consultants Network, Dimensions (confirmed)
"Value of Contribution"

Main Sponsor


Question and Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

  • Joanna Hunt, Area Manager, Greater Manchester, Children's Society (confirmed)
"The Impact of Child Criminal Exploitation on Children & Families Living with Learning Disabilities. "



  • Dr Sunny Kalsy-Lillico, Head of Psychology & Psychological Therapies, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (confirmed)
"Supporting People with a Learning Disability and Dementia"

People with learning disabilities are five times more likely than those in the general population to develop dementia. There is a demand for the needs of people with learning disabilities and dementia to be better addressed to improve quality of life for the individual and their family/carers


Case Study


Question and Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair’s Afternoon Address

"A Family's Journey"

Having a child with learning disabilities has an impact not only on the child but on the entire family. This is likely to lead to a journey of challenges, from diagnosis and education to socialisation and health. I am the parent of an 18 yr old dyslexic, dyspraxic and proprioception disordered son. I will be talking about what it has been like as the parent of a child with learning disabilities; the frustration and joy, the obstacles and the triumphs.

  • Judith Knapton, Patient Experience Lead, NHS England (confirmed)
  • Sarah Latham, Improvement Support Manager, NHS England (confirmed)
"Learning Disabilities Quality Checkers "
  • Jason Bardell, Practice Development Director, Waymarks (confirmed)
"Working with Complex Histories and Risky Behaviour"

Individuals who have complex histories or risky behaviour can be supported to change their lives, helping them to move from desperately difficult circumstances to thriving in their homes and local communities.

  • Rachel Turner, Shared Lives Ambassador, Shared Lives Plus (confirmed)
"Shared Lives "

Shared Lives is a scheme that finds suitable foster families for adults who would otherwise face a very different future. The initiative gives adults with learning difficulties and/or autism the opportunity to live as part of the family and community of an adult care provider.



Question and Answer Session


Chair’s Closing Remarks and Event Close

  • Register for event

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Jonathan Smith
  • Benefits of attending

  • Hear how people with learning disabilities can be supported to maximise their life chances and fulfil their true potential
  • Learn how the transformation of services and the support provided is allowing for greater opportunities to self-advocate and make choices
  • Gain insight into how the rights of people with learning disabilities can be defended and upheld
  • Understand how the issues of healthcare inequalities can be addressed and the same level of protection is assured as experienced by the rest of the population
  • Gain knowledge of the steps needed to be taken to co-ordinate care, support and treat children and young people with complex needs (and behaviour that challenges), also involving mental health problems and learning disabilities and/or autism
  • Listen to the measures being taken to support independent living and how housing and accommodation initiatives are crucial to successful outcomes
  • Examine the current situation for people nearing the end of their lives and discuss how things can be improved
  • Listen to examples of initiatives and activities that can boost the quality of life for people with learning disability
  • With life expectancy improving and more people living into their later years, learn how dementia is impacting
  • Benefit from the opportunity to question, discuss and debate with speakers and fellow professionals
  • Take advantage of knowledge sharing and professional networking
  • Gain the maximum number of 6 CPD points.
  • Contact Details
  • Sponsors
  • Supporters
  • Venue
  • Downloads

Contact Details




Manchester Conference Centre

Manchester Conference Centre

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