Please note that this event is now finished

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

  • Thursday, 21 April 2022
  • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 16:30
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/or 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.

Special Offer

In partnership with Embrace Resilience we are offering all delegates a package of free e-learning courses worth £60 when you register for this event.

These courses are used widely across learning disability, health, and care sectors. and meet CQC requirements for training and development. In addition to the courses, delegates will have free access to download a toolkit including planners and journals to help with their own personal resilience.

We will send a list of courses from which you can select your free 5 course package after you register.

  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Opening Keynote Address

  • Ciara Lawrence, Mencap Engagement Lead , Learning disability Charity Mencap (confirmed)
"Being Heard-Speaking Up for the Rights of People"

Ciara will be talking about people with a learning disability being heard and about her career at Mencap helping to speak up for the rights of people with a learning disability

"A 10-policy Plan to Limit ATU Admissions and Accelerate Discharge"

Over 2000 people spent last Christmas in an ATU. For most, it was at least their second consecutive Christmas inside. Sinead will invite delegates to lend their support to ten co-produced policy points designed to help people leave institutional care once and for all.

  • Professor Andre Strydom, Professor in Intellectual Disabilities, King’s College London (confirmed)
  • Adam White, Clinical Research Coordinator, Kings College London (confirmed)
"Learning from Lives and Deaths - The new LeDeR/ Learning Disability and Autism partnership"

In his presentation, Dr Andre Strydom will present how he and his co-researchers will add to the ongoing development of improved healthcare for people with learning disabilities and / or autism by analysing information from life and death reviews (LeDeR programme).

Particular focus will be applied to the recent addition of people with autism to the LeDeR programme and why it is important to gather reliable information on the lives and deaths of autistic people.


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..........

  • Christine-Koulla Burke, Director , Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (confirmed)
  • Patricia Charlesworth, Person with a Learning Disability, Member of SFC and HEE Experts by Experience Advisory Group, and Co-Chair , Foundation for People with Learning Disabilties (confirmed)
  • Peter Allum, Co-Chair, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (confirmed)
"Understanding the Impact of COVID 19 on People with a Learning Disability"

Pat and Peter, Co-Chairs of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, will explain what impact the pandemic has had for those with a learning disability and/or autism. 

  • Dr Eve Hirst, Junior Clinical Fellow in Emergency Medicine , Oldham Care Organisation, Northern Care Alliance (confirmed)
"Signalong with A&E"

Last year a project was launched in the Paediatric Emergency Medicine department at The Royal Oldham Hospital to teach staff members Signalong sign language to communicate effectively with children with additional communication needs. It was a very successful project and engaged the whole multi-disciplinary team. It continues to this day and won the Northern Care Alliance staff award for Research, Innovation and Education at the end of 2021. This presentation will outline the successful implementation of signing into the daily delivery of care of children in Oldham.


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

  • Dave Whittock, Service Development Director , Eden Futures (confirmed)
  • Chris Rogers, Business Development Manager , Eden Futures (confirmed)
"Environmental Revolution"

Dave and Chris will provide an overview of Eden Futures specialist bungalow supported living accommodation and how this environment is assisting people with complex needs and behaviours that challenge to move out of MH health hospital provision, which enables the individual to have their own front door and a place they can call home in a community setting

  • Shaun Webster MBE, Project Worker in the Information Team, St Mary’s Hospital, Leeds (confirmed)
  • Eli Smith, Out Spoken Project Worker Organisation, CHANGE (part of the Advonet Group) (confirmed)
"We are Out Spoken: LGBTQI+ Inclusion "

The experiences and support needs of LGBTQI+ people.
Eli and Shaun will share their experiences and views of barriers, discrimination and solutions. This talk will also include information about CHANGE’s LGBTQI+ inclusion project Out Spoken

  • Jan Rock, Founder and CEO, MATRIX Neurological (confirmed)
"Acquired Brain Injury – Its more common than you think!"

Childhood acquired brain injury is the biggest cause of death and disability in children and young people; yet it is the least recognised, least understood and least supported disability which has devastating life-long consequences for children and young people.

The NHS estimates that up to 500,000 children below the age of 16 attend A&E with a head injury every year. Many will have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that will not have been diagnosed. 90% of these children are discharged with no further follow up.

Public Health Data estimates that by the age of 4 years old, 50% of young children will have sustained a TBI during their early childhood.

The Government recently estimated that 1/6 children, in every classroom, in every school across the UK, is living with the hidden effects of an undiagnosed traumatic brain injury.

This presentation is based on real world lived-experience will cover childhood acquired brain injury; it’s significance in the 0-25 population; and its negative long term impact on children and young people as they move through education and into adulthood.


Question and Answer Session


Afternoon Refreshment Break

  • Tracy Hammond, Research & Development Director, KeyRing (confirmed)
"Just Support - Supportive Practice in the Criminal Justice System"

Drawing on the experience of someone with lived experience, this session will look briefly at why people with a learning disability might offend, how they can be supported as they go through the criminal justice system and what we can do to help them avoid reoffending.

  • Giles Matsell, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (confirmed)
  • Debbie Brown, Work Coach/Work Tutor, Nottingham College (confirmed)
  • Martin Wilby, DFN Project Search Programme Lead, DFN Project Search (confirmed)
"DFN Project Search Partnership at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust"

An overview of our supported internship programme for young people with Learning Disabilities and Autism leading to employment outcomes including a video by the young people themselves.


Question and Answer Session


Chair’s Closing Remarks


Event Close

  • Register for event

You can no longer register for this event
  • 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




Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & 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

  • Living Well with Autism: Beyond the Limitations

    • 28 May 2015
    • 08:00 - 13:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Autism: The Challenges and Opportunities

    • 01 June 2016
    • 08:30 - 14:00
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Improving Lives: Autism and Learning Difficulties

    • 12 October 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities

    • 31 January 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:15
    • Pendulum Hotel & 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
    • Pendulum Hotel & 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
    • Pendulum Hotel & 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.
  • LD & A FINAL
    LD & A FINAL

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