AutreachIT: About Us



Not being able to speak is not the same as not having something to say but most people think the opposite.

To be included, empowered, and able to take a real part in decisions about their own lives, autistic people need effective ways to communicate. Legislation supports their right of access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). AutreachIT exists to promote access to ICT by raising awareness of rights to ICT, demonstrating the effectiveness of ICT, and employing autistics to develop ICT.






(What I stand for: one of more than 1000 videos on YouTube’s posautive channel, started by Dr Dinah Murray)

News

⇒   Members of AutreachIT have formed Autreach, a limited company which has now received funding from the Three Guineas Trust to develop the Autistic-Space Kit app (March 2013)

⇒   Selina Postgate and Wendy Lawson speak at the NAS conference Who cares? Supporting older people with autism effectively (London, 10 October 2012)

⇒   Roger Turner and Kevin Brook are members of the stakeholders panel at AWARE: Autism Software – how to get it out there (Edinburgh, 25 September 2012)

⇒   Dr Dinah Murray of AutreachIT is the keynote speaker at Research Autism’s conference Computers and Autism – A Blessing or a Curse? (London, 24 November 2011)

⇒   March 2011: “Specifications for the Autistic-Space Kit [ASK] – an app for smart phones of all sorts” by Dr Dinah Murray (an AutreachIT project; document available to members)

⇒   16-17 March 2010: The National Autistic Society’s Professional Conference
Dr Dinah Murray speaks on Participation — see AutreachIT training for autistic service users and staff

⇒   October 2008: Autreach/ASAN video Something About Us shown at the 2008 TreeHouse Lecture where an AutreachIT team member is one of the speakers.

⇒   more news at Autreach Network

AutreachIT Manifesto  

They need us.
We are being wasted. We have talents. This is true all over the country, not just true of the people gathered here. Many of these people are in residential care.

All over the country there are instances of care providers who specialise in autism. They often have very high-minded mission statements; they rarely live up to these — mainly owing to funding issues and fear of risk being priorities.

These care providers look after people they think of as high and low functioning:
First there are the more obviously able people whose lives and talents are blatantly wasted. Second there are the people who don’t speak and are likely to be regarded as leading merely ballast-existences[1] — we know that Not being able to speak is not the same as not having something to say, but most people think the opposite.

To be included, empowered, and able to take a real part in decisions about their own lives, autistic people need effective ways to communicate. Legislation[2] supports their right of access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). AutreachIT exists to create an ICT training cascade within care establishments, particularly those specialising in autism, thus empowering vulnerable communities and ensuring providers conform to legislation about access to technology for people with communication disabilities.

These actions could have a positive impact on autistics and those around them.

Why would the above work? Remember the two factors which count most: money and fear of risk; add to those Wanting to be seen to fulfil declared aims.

Frustrated behaviours frequently close people’s lives down, because they become people-who-must-be-watched all the time, especially when out and about. Because their lives are so bad — thanks to poor “mind-reading skills” of staff, carers and other residents — that they are going nuts trying to make themselves understood, their lives get worse.

Successful communication is crucial in getting past the frustrations which cause behaviour that disrupts other lives. Giving people a chance to enjoy and fulfil themselves is also crucial to beating frustration. A last crucial ingredient for a satisfying life is to be treated like a real person with the capacity to understand and be understood. Therefore providing tools which address all three aspects of this need will reduce frustration, costly “misbehaviour”, and general failure to provide an adequate service.


The Autreach Network, of which AutreachIT is part, developed from discussions at Autscape 2007. Following the Politics of Autism[3] meeting at City Hall London on 12 September 2007, Dinah Murray posted the original version of this manifesto to the Autreach discussion board.

[1] See Amanda Baggs’ blog for a discussion of this term.

[2] Mental Capacity Act (2005)

[3] A short extract from Dinah Murray’s presentation at the “Politics of Autism” meeting:

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Website access

AutreachIT is a member of the Autreach Network. Some pages on this website are public, others are available only to members of Autreach and affiliated groups with an interest in our work. For access email the site administrator or contact the AutreachIT team. Members can update the site using Backpack.