Learning Disabilities and Autism: Choice, Inclusion, Control and Independence

  • Thursday, 21 April 2022
  • Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 16:15
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Open Forum Events is proud to be recognised as one of the leading organisers of events focusing on the current issues faced by people living with or affected by a learning disability and/or autism.
The Learning Disabilities and Autism: Choice, Inclusion, Control and Independence conference will be no exception in promoting the need for better care provision and services, providing a platform to discuss the solutions, share knowledge and disseminate best practice.
The event will focus on driving the improvement agenda forward as we emerge from the pandemic crisis, reigniting the ambition to enhance the lives of people with a learning disability and/or autism.
Regular attendees at this conference series will recognise yet another quality plenary programme featuring pertinent and relevant topics, delivered by expert speakers. Designed to allow for maximum information exchange, shared experience and participant interaction, delegates will gain valuable insight and knowledge that can be utilised within both a professional and personal capacity.
Life events affect all in society such as: suffering with poor physical and mental health, entering education, falling foul of the criminal justice system, gaining employment, securing accommodation, identifying as LGBTQI+, death and dying, however, for people with a learning disability and/or autism these situations have added complexities. In the quest for equality, the conference will explore some of these issues and look to seek potential solutions.
This event will aim to accelerate the momentum to transform and improve the provision available to people with learning disability and/or autism. Benefit from the learning experience, engage with the conversation and be part of the narrative by joining us at this well-established CPD accredited conference.

  • Confirmed Speakers

Event Sponsors and Supporters

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Opening Keynote Address

Ciara Lawrence, Mencap Big Plan Engagement Lead, MENCAP (invited)

"Being Heard-Speaking Up for the Rights of People"

It is imperative that society has greater understanding of what a learning disability is and how these issues impact on people’s lives. To provide the right support and care, people with a learning disability need to be listened to and their opinions be integral to making a difference. 


Mind the ‘Health Inequalities’ Gap

The NHS Long Term Plan established learning disabilities and autism as clinical priority areas, launching national programmes to reduce variations in care and improve treatments and outcomes. The following sessions will focus on the progress made within these programmes to reduce inequalities in care. 


Tom Cahill, National Director for Learning Disability and Autism, NHSE (invited)

"Update on Health Checks"

The NHS Long Term Plan set an ambition that by 2023/24, at least 75% of people aged 14 and over on the learning disability register receive an annual health check, in a drive to tackle health inequalities for people with a learning disability.


Professor Andre Strydom, Project Lead and Professor in Intellectual Disabilities, Kings College London (invited)

"Learning from Lives and Deaths-The New LeDeR Policy"

The national Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme was established to improve care, reduce health inequalities and prevent premature mortality by reviewing information about the health and social care support people with learning disabilities received. In 2021 a new policy was announced which will continue to focus on undertaking the reviews, with the inclusion of people who are autistic, ensuring that local health and social care systems implement actions at a local level to improve and save lives.


Headline Sponsor


Question and Answer Session

Allocated planned time for speakers to receive questions from the audience and induce further discussion. 


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

  • Sarah Kilby, Behaviour Analyst and Clinical Development Manager, MacIntyre (confirmed)

Presentation synopsis coming soon..........


Barbara Keeley, MP and Member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee (invited)

"Providing the Right Support, in the Right Location, at the Right Time"

The government and NHS are working to reduce levels of inpatient care for people with a learning disability and/or autism, citing that hospitals are not where people should live and have committed to provide superior community-based support. The most recent target, as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, is for a reduction in inpatient provision of 50% (as compared to 2015 levels) by 2023/24.

"Recognising and Responding to Mental Health Conditions"

Evidence shows that people with Learning Disabilities and/or autism are at greater risk of suffering with a mental health issue, with studies revealing that the prevalence could be more than double that of the general population. With a lack of understanding and awareness, symptoms are often overlooked and attributed to the person’s learning disability leading to undiagnosed conditions and effective treatment.


Case Study

Speaker TBC, Dimensions (confirmed)

Presentation synopsis coming soon........


Question and Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area

A hot, two-course lunch consisting of multiple options will be provided for delegates. We cater for all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten/dairy-free; just notify us ahead of time should you have any allergens or requirements.


Chair’s Afternoon Address


Case Study

Speaker TBC, Eden Futures (confirmed)


Shaun Webster, International Project Worker and Eli, Development Worker, CHANGE (confirmed)

"The Experiences and Support Needs of People who Identify as LGBTQI+"

People with learning disabilities, who also identify as part of the LGBTQI+ community can encounter extra barriers in accessing services and inclusion in the community.


Question and Answer Session


Afternoon Refreshment Break

  • Tracy Hammond, Director of Research and Innovation, KeyRing Living Support Networks (confirmed)
"Supportive Practice in the Criminal Justice System"

There are many people in the criminal justice system who have a learning disability and/or autism who require a more personalised approach from the moment they enter the system to the time they leave……. and beyond. Individualised support can be conducive in bringing about positive outcomes

  • Giles Matsell, Head of Equality and Diversity , Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (confirmed)
"Opportunities for Employment Sharing Good Practice"

In 2020/21 the employment rate for individuals with learning disabilities fell to 5.1%. Supported employment placements can improve skills, develop experience and create the confidence that can lead to meaningful paid work


Question and Answer Session


Chair’s Closing Remarks


Event Close

  • Register for event

Having difficulty paying through Eventbrite? If you would like assistance registering your place please contact me on 0161 376 9007 and i'll be happy to assist. If you are awaiting funding you can request us to hold your place today to ensure you do not miss out.

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Luke Boulter
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  • Hear from those living with a learning disability and/or autism as to how they wish to be treated and how they can influence the design and delivery of the support services they need to access
  • Be reminded of how the Long Term Plan aims to support the needs of people with learning disabilities and/or autism and reduce health inequalities
  • Gain an update on the delivery of health checks and how these are improving outcomes
  • Understand more about the new LeDeR policy- ‘Learning from Lives and Deaths’ and how this can reduce the prevalence of premature deaths
  • Receive a progress report on the government policy to move people out of long term institutions into the community and closer to home
  • Learn how to recognise mental health issues as a separate entity and how to respond appropriately
  • Gain insight into the lives of those with a Learning Disability and/or Autism who identify as being part of the LGBTQi community
  • Listen to examples of supported employment programmes and how they are helping people gain and stay in work
  • Hear how people entering the criminal justice system can benefit from personalised treatment to produce more favourable outcomes
  • 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 8 CPD points.
  • Contact Details
  • News
  • Sponsors
  • Supporters
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads
  • Who will attend

Contact Details


  • What Works When Counselling Autistic Lives?

    • Posted on 21 June 2017
    • by Elaine Nicholson MBE, 4 Secure
  • Improving Lives: Autism and Learning Difficulties Report

    • Posted on 18 October 2017
    • by James Wright
  • Going Places: supporting people with learning disabilities and autism into work and in the workforce

    • Posted on 25 February 2019
    • by Diane Lightfoot




Manchester Conference Centre

Manchester Conference Centre

Manchester Conference Centre is the ideal solution when searching for conference venues in Manchester. Top-of-the-range conference suites, 3 star value hotel accommodation, delicious dining and friendly service are the ideal components for a successful conference or event in the heart of the city centre.

The 18 conference rooms are decked out with all the mod cons including state-of-the-art AV technology, projectors and screens, free Wi-Fi and flip charts. Our clients cover the whole spectrum and include government organisations, trade unions, large corporate companies, non-profit organisations, health and education sectors and small to medium-sized businesses.

From the get-go we strive for excellence in everything we do and our dedicated team of conference professionals go all out to make sure your conference, event or exhibition runs like clockwork.

Featured Events

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  • Autism: The Challenges and Opportunities

    • 01 June 2016
    • 08:30 - 14:00
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  • Improving Lives: Autism and Learning Difficulties

    • 12 October 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
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  • Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities

    • 31 January 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:15
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Learning Disabilities: Fulfilling Potential and Supporting Better Lives

    • 13 March 2018
    • 08:30 - 16:00
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Learning Disabilities and Autism: Promoting Positive Outcomes

    • 12 March 2019
    • 08:30 - 15:45
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • The 7th Learning Disabilities and Autism: Promoting Positive Outcomes Conference

    • 24 September 2019
    • 08:30 - 15:45
    • ETC.Venues Prospero House, London
  • Learning Disabilities & Autism 2020 Manchester

    • 12 March 2020
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • King’s House Conference Centre, Manchester
  • Learning Disabilities and Autism: Equality and Empowerment

    • 09 November 2021
    • 08:30 - 17:00
    • Manchester Conference Centre

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
    Open Forum Events offer a number of partnership, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that can meet your marketing and business development needs.

who will attend

  • Carer
  • Charity Lead
  • Clinical Commissioning Group/ICS/ICN member
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Councillor
  • Director of Adult Mental Health Services
  • Director of Adult Social Services
  • Director of Adult/Children Safeguarding
  • Director of Community / Domiciliary Care
  • Director of Disability Services
  • Director of Older People's Services
  • Director of Public Health
  • Director of Supported / Sheltered Housing
  • Director/Head CAHMS Services
  • Director/Manager of Care Homes
  • Directors of Children Services
  • Doctor
  • DoLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) Co-Ordinato
  • Head of Commissioning
  • Head of Housing
  • Head of Supported Living
  • Heads of Learning Disability Services
  • Headteacher
  • Health and Wellbeing Boards member
  • Health Visitor
  • Learning Disability / Disability Liaison Nurse
  • Learning Disability Service Managers
  • Learning Disability/Autism Lead
  • Local Authority Chief Executive
  • Neighbourhood and Community Policing Team member
  • Nurse
  • Outreach worker
  • Personalisation and Self-Directed Support Team member
  • Probation Officer
  • Safeguarding Adults Board member
  • SEND Educational Leads
  • Senior Police Personnel
  • Support Worker