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Tuesday 16 July 2019
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Good Autism Practice Conference 2014 - Autism, happiness and wellbeing

14 November 2014, Birmingham

Building upon the strengths and success of the Good Autism Practice journal, this conference was an important event for all those with an interest in autism. 

The focus was on happiness, and ways of promoting emotional and mental wellbeing in children and adults on the autism spectrum.

Glenys Jones at GAP 2014
John Simpson at GAP 2014

Dr Glenys Jones, co-editor of the Good Autism Practice Journal and Chartered Psychologist, left, and John Simpson, an autistic trainer and speaker, co-chaired the event. There were three keynote speakers and five workshops run twice during the day.

Watch Glenys Jones speaking about autism, happiness and wellbeing on You Tube >

Watch John Simpson speaking about autism, happiness and wellbeing on You Tube >

Download the conference report, written by the GAP journal co-editor, Elisabeth Hurley >

Keynote Speakers

Watch the keynote speeches by clicking on the play button within the screen, to enlarge to full screen click on the arrows in the bottom right corner, to return, press the 'Esc' key on your computer's keyboard.

Wellbeing in autism: from a negative to a positive approach 

Peter Vermeulen
Autisme Centraal, Belgium

Peter Vermeulen has worked with people with autism and their families for more than 25 years. Peter works for the Flemish Autism Association and now co-director of Autisme Centraal and the Centre for Concrete Communication, a training and education centre for autism. Peter has also written and published more than 15 books and several articles on autism. 

Watch Peter speaking about happiness and wellbeing >

Download Peter's keynote presentation >

Laughing in the face of autism: humour as a means of self-acceptance – a personal perspective

Sarah Hendrickx
Hendrickx Associates

Sarah works as an independent specialist consultant, trainer and coach in autism. Sarah has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome and shares her personal experiences alongside her professional expertise. Sarah’s partner, son and various other members of her family also have autism spectrum diagnoses. She was recently featured on BBC Horizon TV programme: Living with Autism.

Watch Sarah speaking about happiness and wellbeing >

Download Sarah's Keynote Presentation >

Can mindfulness help people with autism?

Annelies Spek
Resource Centre, The Netherlands 

Annelies Spek is head of a specialized center for adults with ASD in the Netherlands. She completed her PhD thesis on the cognitive profiles of adults with ASD. One of her more recent research projects is on the effects of mindfulness in adults with autism, in 2011 she published a book about this subject. She regularly gives lectures and workshops about autism in general and about mindfulness in autism in particular.

Watch Annelies on happiness and wellbeing >

Download Annelies Spek's Keynote Presentation >


  • Practical ways of promoting wellbeing and happiness  
    Peter Vermeulen, Autisme Centraal

    Based on the principles of positive psychology, this workshop will give an outline of 4 different strategies that aims at increasing quality of life and emotional wellbeing in people with autism.

    Peter Vermeulen's workshop presentation >

  • Defining 'happiness': an autism perspective
    Sarah Hendrickx, Sarah Hendrickx Associates

    In this workshop, we will try to define happiness and discuss ways to achieve it from an autism perspective.

    Sarah Hendrickx's workshop presentation >


  • Mindfulness and autistic spectrum disorder: how does it work?
    Annelies Spek,
    Autism Resource Centre

    In the workshop we will focus more on how to teach mindfulness to people with autistic spectrum disorder.


  • Being well with autism
    Aaron Yorke, Birmingham City Council

    This workshop will focus on my experiences as an adult with autism and the issues my son has had during his education.

    Download Aaron Yorke's workshop handout >

  • Promoting happiness and wellbeing through befriending
    Stephanie Taylor, Autism West Midlands

    The Walsall Befriending Project is a service for adults with autism. Using real life case examples, this workshop will detail the process of befriending and how it can help to promote wellbeing in those on the autism spectrum.

    Stephanie Taylor's workshop presentation >


Top of the page

CPD Logo
This event has been CPD Certified

Attendance will allow you to gain CPD points towards your Continuous Professional Development requirements.


download event details image

GAP happiness cover

More information

You find out more about BILD books - including our new book on autism, happiness and wellbeing, pictured above, on autism on this website >

You also can find out more about Good Autism Practice journal on this website >

Telephone 0121 415 6970 or email learning@bild.org.uk for more information about this and other BILD events.

See how the event went on Twitter 

We - and lots of those attending - tweeted throughout the day using the hashtag, #autismwellbeing, you can see the tweets below.