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Supporting Autistic People and/or People with a Learning Disability

  • Tuesday, 13 June 2023
  • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 16:30
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Open Forum Events has firmly established itself as one of the UK’s leading producers of conferences focusing on the needs of autistic people and those with learning disabilities. With ongoing demand and support from delegates, supporters and sponsors, we are delighted to introduce the first of two events planned for 2023.  

The Learning Disabilities and/or Autism: Building the Right Support conference will return to Manchester for a day of informative plenary presentations, exemplars of best practice, panel discussions and informal knowledge sharing. The agenda is designed to explore the existing challenges, and through contributions from experts by experience, practitioners, researchers and invested stakeholders, seek to improve and enhance the lives of those living with or affected by a learning disability and/or autism.

The summer of 2022 saw the publication of a new government policy paper- Building the Right Support Action Plan. With the belief that people with a learning disability and autistic people should have the right support in place to live an ordinary life and fulfil their aspirations, in their own home, the plan aims to achieve this ambition by:

  • strengthening community support
  • reducing the overall reliance on specialist inpatient care in mental health hospitals
  • improving the experiences of people with a learning disability and autistic people across public services such as health, social care, education, employment, housing and justice

The intention is to make further and faster progress and drive long-term change for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

This conference will seek to further the campaign for change and induce much needed improvements.

Join us at the CPD accredited Learning Disabilities and/or Autism: Building the Right Support conference where participants can come together to discuss the key issues, highlight the very latest developments, explore innovative ideas and exchange examples of best practice. Delegates will gain a true understanding of the current thinking which can be applied and positively contribute to their own circumstances, organisations and working practices to improve the lives of all those touched by learning disabilities and/or autism.

  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Welcome and Opening Address

  • Shaun Webster MBE, Project Worker in the Information Team, St Mary’s Hospital, Leeds (confirmed)
  • Marie Lovell, Project Manager, Skills for Care (confirmed)
  • David Van De Velde, Regional Lead for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities & Autism Workforce, NHS England (confirmed)
"The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training "

The evaluation of the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in Learning Disability and Autism trial has shown that the training has had a positive impact on health and care staff’s knowledge, skills and confidence.


Sarah Hill, Paula King and Sanjay Nelson, Service Leads, North London Forensic Provider Collaborative (confirmed)

"Collaborative Practice to Support People to Live Safely in the Community"

The development of specialist forensic community teams for people learning disability and autism has ensured equity of care across the secure pathway and bespoke packages of care that support people to live in the least restrictive environments.


Question & Answer Session

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


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

  • Paul Sellers, Business Development Manager, Dimensions (confirmed)
  • Claire Blake, Operations Director, Dimensions (confirmed)
  • Richard Mears 2, Regional Managing Director North, Dimensions (confirmed)
"Highgreave – Creating the Right Environment and Building the Right Support"

A case study describing how partnership working between Dimensions, NHSE and Health & Social Care partners in Sheffield has redeveloped the site of a former care home in Sheffield to create apartments for five young adults with behaviours of distress, to be supported to live independently. It’s an optimistic and future-focused commitment to supporting young people who might otherwise be supported in residential or secure settings outside the city.

  • Shiva Fouladi-Nashta, Learning Disability Community Liaison Pharmacist, East London NHS Foundation Trust (confirmed)
"STOMP, Medicines Rationalisation, and the role of the Pharmacist"

Shiva will be providing the background of STOMP, present the findings of her scoping exercise in primary and secondary care, and will be speaking about her role as a pharmacist non-medical prescriber within the Learning Disability Teams.

  • Tracie Hamel, Lecturer in Criminology, Arden University (confirmed)
"Watchful Waiting? A Study of The Experiences of Parents Awaiting a Diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition"

The pre-diagnosis process for many families who suspect that their child has an Autistic Spectrum Condition can prove to be a particularly challenging time, one where various issue may arise. These issues can range from accessing support and managing their child's behaviour to eventually obtaining a diagnosis, which can be highly stressful and time-consuming. This presentation highlights how first-person accounts of being a caregiver for a child with Autism are beneficial in restructuring resources and advocates for more effective support systems for parents during the pre-diagnostic process.


Case Study

  • Ashleigh Fox, RNLD, Transforming Care Director, Coach, Catalyst Care Group (confirmed)
"Bridging Support: A Case Study"

This case study demonstrates the impact a new bridging support model is having for people who have faced barriers to discharge, and how commissioners are engaging with the process across the country. LD Network is an organisation that forms part of the Catalyst Care Group, and is purely focused on complex discharges and admission avoidance.


Question & 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


Sharing Best Practice

  • Aga Kowalska, Lecturer in Policing, University of the West of England (confirmed)
"Inclusion, or Integration? Best Practice in Supporting Autistic People in Higher Education."

A significant number of neurodivergent individuals (including autistic individuals) progress to the higher education sector in the UK and worldwide. The evidence suggests that an incorporation of social model principles within education in supporting neurodivergent people is a fundamental factor in their achievements and success. UWE, on its path to pioneer inclusivity as a core organisational value, has supported a number of pilot projects directly encompassing the voices of students identifying as neurodivergent. These initiatives empowered organisational change to re-engineer students’ experiences in the HE sector and their attainment. Individualised support plans, specialised mentors, inclusive assessment processes, staff training, student ambassadors, a widening of scope of inclusive teaching and learning, are just a few of the strategies embedded within the Policing PCDA program at UWE. These developments are bringing about a cultural shift in redefining our concepts and practices in respect of ‘disability’ and ableism.

  • Vincent Scaife, Senior Personalised Technology Coordinator, Hft (confirmed)
"Building the Right Support"

As the advancement of technology progresses we are seeing more evidence-based outcomes, that technology enabled solutions can achieve. Understanding what is required both now and in the future, the stakeholders involved and the barriers that that different stakeholders may face, is crucial to ensure, that technology enabled solutions are embedded into service delivery.


Question & Answer Session


Afternoon Refreshment Break

  • David Wright, Autism Ambassador (Volunteer Role), Disability Stockport (confirmed)
"The Struggles of an Autism Diagnosis and How I’ve Triumphed Since"

Covering pre and post diagnosis. How things began, the journey and where things now stand.

  • Hazel Griffiths, Carer for Autistic Son and Member, Skills for Care Expert Group (confirmed)
"Homes not Hospitals"

We know what the problems are, let's focus on the solutions. Hazel will share what works.


Question & Answer Session


Chair's Closing Remarks


Event Close

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  • 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

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  • Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities

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  • Learning Disabilities: Fulfilling Potential and Supporting Better Lives

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  • The 7th Learning Disabilities and Autism: Promoting Positive Outcomes Conference

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

    • 21 April 2022
    • 08:30 - 16:30
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  • Learning Disabilities and/or Autism: Enabling Change- Delivering Improvement

    • 01 December 2022
    • 08:30 - 16:30
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  • Supporting Autistic People and/or People with a Learning Disability

    • 13 June 2023
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Innovative Learning: Driving Educational Change

    • 08 December 2015
    • 08:30 - 16:30
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  • Technology in Learning: Reshaping the Educational Landscape

    • 04 July 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Studio, Manchester

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.
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    Speaker Presentations and Documents

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