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“Ground-breaking” autism panel holds first meeting

“Ground-breaking” autism panel holds first meeting

Sunday 21 April 2019

“Ground-breaking” autism panel holds first meeting


Two entrepreneurs, a banker, a community champion and a mother with an autistic child have come together in a “ground-breaking” move to address how the island can better serve its autistic community.

Together, the group form the Autism Advisory Council, which was formed to ensure that autistic islanders have a voice in the work of Autism Jersey, but it also intends to ask bigger questions about “key issues facing autism in Jersey".

With three main areas of focus – to advise, recommend and engage – the Autism Jersey Advisory Council reports directly to the charity’s board of trustees and senior management.

The Council’s Chair Jonathan Channing, who is the brains behind the panel as well as being a digital entrepreneur and public speaker, explained its role beyond advising the charity: “Our ‘engagement’ purpose… gives us a level of freedom to explore how we can improve Jersey’s understanding of autism in the community and promote joined up thinking of autism in Jersey.”

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Pictured: Autism Jersey's Nick Winsor and the Council's Chair Jonathan Channing.

Speaking about selecting panel-members, Jonathan said: “Being representative of autistic islanders when looking at our Council’s composition was a major priority for us. When forming the Council we did so with a ‘diversity first’ mindset, ensuring our candidates had diverse experiences and diverse skill sets.”

Jonathan told Express that during the Council’s inaugural meeting last month, which he described as “an explorative one to ensure all Council members were heard”, the panel discussed the following:

  • the creation of surveys and focus groups to better support the Council’s decision-making process;
  • key autism stakeholders that the Council plans to engage with including the Jersey Adult Autism Service (JAAS).

Also on the panel, sitting as Vice-Chair, is Catherine Curtis – another entrepreneur with Asperger’s Syndrome - who is behind the award-winning portable travel cot product, BabyHub.

catherine Curtis innovation fund babyhub stumpydog innovations

Pictured: Also on the panel is Innovation Fund success story Catherine Curtis, the brains behind BabyHub.

Of the formation of the Advisory Council, Nick Winsor, Chair of Autism Jersey, said: “This is an exciting and ground-breaking development.

"The Advisory Council will enable islanders on the autism spectrum to be heard like never before and Autism Jersey will do whatever it can to ensure that the services we provide meet their needs.”

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