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Autism and social communication the focus of latest Beds Talk at Bedfordshire

Luke Walsh

Mon 5th February, 2018

Exploring how the latest research can be used to help people with autism and social communication difficulties was the subject of a special event at the University of Bedfordshire.

Principal Lecturer in Public Health Dr Chris Papadopoulos talked about the research he is undertaking with charity Autistica, exploring how family carers could be better protected against the impact of autism stigma.

“The stigma of autism needs to be tackled. We need interventions that are evidenced to be acceptable and effective in boosting carer wellbeing so that the person they are caring for also benefits” Dr Papadopoulos told the audience.

Dr Suzanne Murphy, Principal Research Fellow in Social Communication, presented and demonstrated E-PLAYS, a National Institute for Health Research funded project looking at how a specially designed computer game could help youngsters with social communication disorders, and whether it could be rolled out across the NHS.

Guests also heard from Broadcast Journalism student Luke Walsh, who shared his experience of what it is like to be an autistic student. He was joined by Elvira Doghem-Rashid, a PhD student from King’s College London, who gave insight into what it was like to be a parent of two children with autism, while being autistic herself.

Dr Murphy said: “We were delighted to welcome such inspiring speakers in Elvira and Luke, who gave fascinating presentations about what it is like to be autistic, and what people with autism and communication difficulties need from health and social care professionals, educators and society as a whole, to enable them to live life to the full.”

The event was the latest in the University’s new Beds Talks series, designed to bring together the public with researchers and practitioners on topics of mutual interest.

Bedfordshire Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell said: “What is exciting about our research is that it is rooted so directly in real-world challenges in society, creating real impact on people’s lives, communities and on government policy.

“We work on global challenges like the aging society, social justice, environmental sustainability, English language testing, health and wellbeing at work, and the arts. And we also work on subjects like autism.”

Bedfordshire University

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