Business Plan for UNITED AUTISTS 24 April 2012

January 2nd, 2013



UNITED AUTISTS was formed in response to the Summer riots of 2011, when Jesse Leggett, Hyattesque, and friends Claire Benjamin, Anna van der Poorten and Robert Collum, were alerted, via hushed Twitter-ings, to the possibility that many of the young rioters who’d wound up in court, had SEN profiles.  Sadly that rumour became established as published fact, by the BBC, only months ago, and the percentile was staggering:  An estimated two-thirds of the rioting children, possibly captured and incarcerated , were SEN youngsters. (BBC, 2011)

Autism in children costs Great Britain £2.7 billion per year, (Bowler, 2009) chiefly due to educational and medical costs, loss of income from families overstretched, housing and the projected loss from  what may have been earned by employable adults.  £1.4 billion of those costs belong to ASD children between the ages of 12 and 17, which is the catchment age of interest to UNITED AUTISTS.

Adecco Group UK & Ireland has launched their campaign ‘Unlocking Britain’s  Potential’ in response to the poor quality of graduate entering the corporate world. (Unlocking Britain’s Potential, 2012)  Their research reveals that 18% of UK employers think school leavers make better employees.  The principle skills lacking are interpersonal, soft skills; and some respondents claim numeracy and literacy.  Of course these are the skills perceived to be lacking in ASD youth.

At least many if not most children, within the spectrum, seem to perform remarkably well when enabled by computer technology.  (Williams, 1996) Interacting within its matrix seems to render an ASD individual less neurally challenged.  Carly Fleischmann of Canada, non-verbal Autist, made an amazing breakthrough in communications, via her computer.  She and her father have co-written a book, ‘Carly’s Voice:  Breaking Through Autism’, just published in April 2012. (Gale)  Her emergence into the social sphere, encouraged and enhanced by technology, has revealed a breathtaking intelligence and wicked wit.

Chris Moore, Managing Director at Adecco Group Solutions iterates that today’s graduates are not sufficiently equipped to properly service “UK plc” (Unlocking Britain’s Potential, 2012).  Many theorists – including Daniel Pink (2008), Henry Chesborough (2003), Ori Brafman & Rod Beckstrom (2006) – assert that contemporary corporate culture has engineered a need for a new breed of manager.  It must be creative thinking and open source friendly, to innovate new solutions that create or expand markets.  Employers are looking for people who ‘think outside the box.’ clearly.  Some of Western civilisation’s greatest inventors and creators have had to think outside the box by necessity.  Norman Ledgin’s Aspergers and Self-Esteem:  Insight and Hope through Famous Role Models (2001) attributes many symptoms of ASD spectrum qualities to such as Einstein, Paul Robeson, Carl Sagan and other inventors, scientists, artists. Other star Autists, such as Dr. Temple Grandin, engineer, and Donna Williams, author, are enthusiastic devotees of Ledgin. Professor & great-Autist Grandin, relates how she was saved from her ASD challenges as a ‘non-verbal’, by mentors in school.  She cites a science teacher who inspired her to learn, where she demonstrated interest, and set her forth on flight to stunning success as an independent adult.  UNITED ARTISTS want more of that, please.  We want to pick up where Creative Partnerships (CP) left off. Set up ‘arts-in-residence’(s) at CP’s leftover, schools; Use the valuable and neglected Arts resources, which seem to be untraceable, ex-post facto, as social startup currency; Explore the connections and possibilities for multiple intelligences and creative practice to address the true mandate of Austerity measure: Unleashing multi-activity in civic society.

Dramatic in a made for TV movie kinda way?  As we approach the 1-year-anniversary of the riots that nearly torched London to BBQ in 2011’s Summer of Discontent, it might be logical to at least reflect on conditions in the lives of those two-thirds arrested – teens or young adults with special needs. To quote Artist ‘Bob and Roberta Smith’, Keynote speaker at the Crossroads Conference, NSEAD – Art and Design Education, at the Baltic Centre, Gateshead, March 2012:  “Actually if you offer kids no hope, then you do have these riots that we had last summer; and my personal view on those riots is because it’s kids with no hope.  They’d closed down all their community centres in Tottenham…  so actually we do need to offer people hope…. We can’t have an Austerity Britain, we just can’t.  It’s a disaster.” (Gast, 2012) (Appendice 1a. & 1b.)


UNITED AUTISTS ….is a collective of creative practitioners who proposes to ignite the self determination of children (12-17 years of age) – diagnosed with ‘Autism Spectral Disorder’ (ASD) –  to grow up into independent young adults and uniquely talented leaders of civic society.  It harnesses multi-disciplinary creative practice – aligned to school curriculum – in order to tease out and activate students’ true identities and dynamic capacities.

UNITED AUTISTS applies Howard Gardner’s ‘Multiple Intelligences’ theory (1999) –  redefining ‘spectrum’ as an “array of intelligence” – within a construct carved out by Mike White’s pioneering fieldwork in ‘Arts in Community Health’ (2009).  The life success of ASD diagnosed children is deeply contingent upon, not only their well-being and social inclusion, but also that of their families and into their extended community of Local Authority officers, Educational representatives, Occupational Therapists, health officials … and beyond.

UNITED AUTISTS is here to strengthen and empower this network so that it may claim and assert Education as orientation to a lifetime of learning and creative practice. On this basis it is offering an incubation programme for ASD families, in order to facilitate:

1.  Formation of cooperatives, within ASD communities to direct afterschool clubs and eventually respite care – now cut off from an alarming swell of  families who have no alternatives to subsidy (SEN Magazine, 2012)

2.  Celebration of creative produce from Arts workshops via events, and institute opportunities for merchandising.

3.  Arrangement of decent and fair distribution of copyright to said community for creative product.

4.  Assembly of innovation roundtable for Social Enterprise to co-design bespoke technological product with, and for, the ASD community.  This will enable the next phase of UNITED AUTISTS’s offering.  The roundtable also serves as an apprenticeship programme for the ASD children, who will co-design their device with parents, practitioners, and great creators within technological fields; such Games technology companies as Oblong Industries, Wii/Nintendo, Playstation, Apple, X-Box Microsoft; and Jaron Lanier for his ‘somatic cognition’ developments, there, or  Seeper’s Immersion technology (Appendix 2a. & 2b.).

5.  Coordination of organisation and operation of respite care cooperatives within the ASD community.   The tool devised will facilitate creative play, for ASD children, and network building for the families and carers.  It is also easily installed in the home

6. Negotiation of a fair and reasonable distribution of shares in the patent for shared design between ‘Next-Gen’ video game console producers, designers and the ASD Community

7.  Handover of UNITED ARTISTS – the enterprise – to the participating ASD community, at its command.

8.  Hovering at UNITED ARTISTS’s request

The ultimate goal is for ASD families to have more control in their lives and for ASD children to have more solid options for their unfathomable futures.


A BRIEF HISTORY – UNITED AUTISTS   is a Community Interest Company (CIC), founded by Jesse Leggett, of Hyattesque, operating since 1994, as sole trader to manage her multi-chequered UK career:

2012 Country Dirt – Manageress/songwriter/frontwoman for London’s premier C&W band 2010 TALKIN UP YER COUNTRY MUSICAL REVOLUTIONS – C&W DJ, production manager, engineer at host radio station:

2008 The Prince, Brixton – Indie music promoter

2007 ‘A Girl Called George’ – writer/performer Edinburgh Festival’s Pleasaunce Theatre

2004 ‘Gamesauce’ – the voice for Japan’s favourite videogame chartshow

1997 ‘Macbeth’ – portrayed Lady Macbeth and several others in Illyria Theatre’s John o’Groats-to-Lands End summer tour

1994 ‘Tinseltown’ workshop at the Museum of the Moving Image , London – Playwright, Musical Vocal Coach and interactive exhibit actress, MOMI.

Other Key Contributors (Apprendix 2c) – 

Claire Benjamin

Extensive experience with primary, secondary and adult ASD/PMLD/MLD&SLD children, and specialising in Drama.  Claire teaches ASD Primary and Secondary pupils drama at all levels of the ASD spectrum, working in many differentiated learning styles, from sensory to KS2 drama curriculum.  In 2011 at Hackney’s Phoenix SEN school, Claire coordinated TAs and pupils towards an end of year project, performed before parents and school.

Robert Collum

Musical Practioner and Musician, qualified as Assistant Teacher with SEN experience, Essex.  Co-wrote a school song with the students of Glade Primary School, Ilford and is currently collaborating on a similar project with SEN children at Castledon School, Wickford.

Anna van der Poorten

Co-ordinating art projects with children and young people of varied ages and abilities within many different environments, Anna’s projects have been within schools, nurseries and also in less ‘controlled’ environments such as open workshops, adventure playgrounds, after school clubs , PRU’ s and drop in sessions. She has worked in various roles both Teaching art and assisting, and  is experienced as a play worker for SEN children in primary and secondary schools; supporting children with learning difficulties, challenging behaviour and special needs.  Anna incorporates her Arts training into such community projects events as the Lords Mayor show, Notting hill carnival and large scale children’s processions and performances.


3. THE MARKET – High Definition


The ASD Community including Children (12-17 years), their parents and family; their local authorities, local GP panels, occupational therapists, educators, practitioners and technological innovators who collaborate with them on the product design of UNITED AUTISTS’s 2nd offering.

Key Charities – The range of resources and services provided by charities such as the National Autistic Society,  Autistica  and Ambitious About Autism :

NAS’s National Autism Plan for Children (NAPC) (Appendix 3a), developed by the National Institute for Autism:  Screening and Assessment (NIASA) – a cross-sectoral plan of action to support early interventions and constant care throughout the lifetime of an ASD youngster.  NAS also maintains an invaluable education network and advisory/referral service, based on its work with local authorities and schools, and families’ education rights and entitlements.

Autistica’s Research and Development arm, for the information it stores based on their funded biomedical research, especially for understanding ASD conditions amenable to treatment. Autistica also provides grants to fund further research, on such ongoing projects as BASIS (British Autism Study of Infant Siblings), the Brain Bank for Autism, and the PACT and AIMS studies.  It encourages research toward ASD community consultation on the direction of its research as well as developing new research for capacity building. (Appendix 3b.)

Ambitious about Autism – its specialist range of educational, outreach  services, and socio-political activism for educational rights of the ASD community.  Its Treehouse Trust school is an exemplary enterprise, funded by Pears Research Centre, and very influential to UNITED AUTISTS’s model of ASD educational service; as it was formed by a parent cooperative in Muswell Hill.  The Treehouse Foundation school would be an ideal setting in which to conduct UAS’s arts-in-residences programme, but UNITED AUTISTS is prioritising toward children who fall within deprivation catchment areas.  Ambitious about Autism’s guidance for the start up of UNITED AUTIST’s own enterprise, is gratefully received.  Its collaboration with the IoE (Institute of Education) to form CRAE (Centre for Autism in Education) is an inspiration and font of guidance.  CRAE conducts research towards inclusion, evaluation of Autism educational practice and translation of evidence based results into improved practice.  It proposes to establish a capacity building network of information and services to advise good educational practice in schools.  Its funding community are a rich cross sector of influence and expertise such as the Clothmakers Foundation, Nuffield, Economic and Social Research Council, the Department of Education, Bloomsbury Colleges, UK’s Experimental Psychology Society and the Economic and Social Research Council. (Appendix 3c.) (Appendix 3d.)

TARGET – Education & Local Authorities

UNITED AUTISTS solicits participating London schools to donate use of one room on its premises, for an arts-in-residence space, where it collaborates on creative workshops with ASD children (12-17) and participating family members, in afterschool clubs.  Teachers’ occasional observation and advice, to keep the work streamlined toward curriculum, and also to inform evaluation procedure, is on the social capital wish list. The stationing of ASD trained teachers in urban areas to observe educational practice is part of NAS’s NAPC (2003) as mentioned above.  Local authorities, which host SEN schools, are invaluable for a range of services including trained ‘volunteer ‘ departments and minibus transportation for children, to accommodate the adhocracy of creative industry and in cooperation with schools.  The Institute of Education’s IoE ‘Centre for Research in Autism and Education’ (CRAE) is a font of evaluation advice.  The IoE has invested £20,000 into Newham Council’s evaluation arm of ‘Every Child a Musician’, which will roll out SEN provision within the next year.

Needs FAMILIES:  The parents need a break, and the reasons why can be defined by a few key statistics.  The number of children diagnosed as ASD is rapidly expanding.  According to NAS report 2009, entitled The Economic cost of Autism in the UK , 20 out of every 10,000 people in the UK had been so diagnosed (Bowler citing Aitken, 2001) , but by 2006, that figure rose to 116 of every 10,000 people (Bowler, NAS).  ASD diagnosis has recently reached epidemic proportions in Utah, where  one in 32 boys is diagnosed ASD. (appendix 3e.)

Only a small  minority of ASD individuals achieve independence.  According to healthcare journal ‘Pediatrics’ study 2006, most of the costs associated with supporting ASD children fell to the public sector, including the health system, social care agencies, education (Bowler citing Croen et al Pediatrics, 2000).  But a high proportion of cost also fell to families in out-of-pocket expense, lost opportunities for employment and income in the form of time spent finding informal care.  A comparative study of health care utilization cost, between the families of neurotypicals and ASD children  (NAS citing Croen,2006) revealed that annual costs for caring for children with ASD are 45% higher than for those of neurotypical children’s carers..  To aggravate a lost market, it is estimated that US working mothers of ASD children are paid 56% less than corresponding mothers of  ‘Neurotypicals’  The latest round of austerity measure may level differences between America and Britain  as predicted by Croen, (Bowler, 2006) with passage of UK’s Healthcare Act 2006.

A Profile emerges of frustrated, overwrought, under supported, deprived and demoralised parents.  They will devote a lifetime to raising and supporting dependents, with wide ranging needs for specialized treatments due to health, educational, communicative and behavioural issues.  The parents need the respite care and after school clubs, which have not been spared in this round of restructure.  (Appendix 3f.)



Technology companies tendering for co-designer status with the ASD community and technological innovators – whether sole traders or limited partners.  Its  consumer body is composed of music, videogames and merchandise purchasing consumer/user/co-producers who wants vfm in multi-media that matters

Music – 1-in-5 UK adults describes music as a main hobby.  For more than 12 years the music industry has grappled with the transition from record to the soundwave in a soundfile download, and the preponderance of video games.  Browsing for CDs at video shops dropped 9% in the UK from 2006-09.  Downloading from the internet to computer up 17% in that frame. It demonstrates the most significant change for listening to music – along with listening to music on a computer up 10.8%, also in that frame.  In January 2009, Feargal Sharkey, Head of UK Music, launched an online resource for teachers & schools, called SOUNDRIGHTS, with intention to tackle illegal file sharing.  (Richmond, 2010)

Music is not as central to young people’s lives.  Their golden age of technological splendour is dominated by visual and interactive gaming technologies.  Music is mostly treated as an adjunct to other partners, like the television broadcast programme, ‘X-factor’, or background music to video games.  The industry has bent to consumer demands and innovated such competitive structures as Universal Music (UMU)’s ‘Comes With Music’. Its service combines music playing technology and content to Nokia phone package. (Lynch, 2010)

Mergers of Sony BMG, Warner EMI have alienated people from what is on offer and so incited an explosion of DIY platforms for making music such as Garageband on Apple and Logic, not to mention illegal file sharing.  Keynote’s ‘Music in the Homemarket Review’ cites 90% of its youngest respondents (under 25s) used internet regularly for leisure in 2008.  I-tunes made the migration to smartphone with the I-phone January 2007.  Music to handheld device and video console has displayed a significant impact on market shift for its recorded play.

Videogaming In 2010 the market was worth £4.65 billion, dipping 5.7% from 2009, partially due to consumers’ malaise with the lack of new products on the market and also faulty communications as to the range of tools available on the console. (Appendix 3g.)

A new generation of consoles is needed in the next few years for market value to improve.  The only players are Nintendo Wii, SONY PlayStation and the Microsoft X-box.  Recent designs have enabled curbing Internet piracy via chip.  In 2010, hardware unit add ons like the X-Box 360 Kinect, Playstation PS3 and Wii accounted for 27.4% of the video games market.  Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect is now on record as the fastest selling consumer electronic device from November 2010 to January 2011.  It is a rapidly expanding market and consumers are hungry for the next generation – ‘next-gen’ – consoles. (Heater 2011)



Vodaphone’s Cause model partnership with the NAS (National Autistic Society) to launch such schemes as ‘Awareness’, ensuring the responsible sale of its recycled electronic waste  to benefit the charity (GBP 800,000); PARIS (Public Autism Resource and Information Service) providing a network service for the ASD community and Help! which accesses a cross section of health & education services for children recently diagnosed within the spectrum.  Its 3-year programme won the Award for Excellence from Business in the Community.  A MORI poll has measured a 10% swell in consumer perception of Vodaphone as a responsible company, in asserting its core value of ‘enriching communication’. (The Times 100, 2004)

Wii – various consumer blogs expound on the virtues of the Wii for the ASD child, including one which claimed that the instrument inspired social skills and recognising/operating with compassion.

Parent company Nintendo’s ‘Bringing Smiles to the Community’ programme of corporate Arts in Community Health has fathered a vast array of successful community projects.  Wii’s contribution to the portfolio, using Wii & Nintendo DS as Education Tools programme in Germany,  is using its product to effect a cross-sectoral Education scheme, whereby students learn about gaming together with parents and teachers, The tool is also cited as facilitating Maths, English and P.E.  In the UK Wii partners with Starlight Children’s Foundation providing service to children with serious illness and their families. (Appendix 3h.)



Action Dog Ltd. in Stoke Newington London is a smart and dynamic enterprise whose start up capital was generated by their Cinematrix series : a portable video making, instrument with large projection touchscreens.  The Loopomatrix is aligned to the primary and secondary school music curriculum in Hackney, London.  It has since diversified its operations to various project based workshops for young people. (Appendix 3i.)

Seeper’s  Immersion technologies would be great on the roundtable. Their workshop, ‘Immersion’ June 2011 partnered ‘neurotypical’ Lordswood Girls school with Autists of the Baskerville School, Birmingham, to co-create a story which was developed into a Theatre and interactive, digi-multimedia performance. (Appendix 3j.)

Lost Market – UNITED AUTISTS’s market must be contextualised by the missing piece of the jigsaw:  the parents.  Their silence might be summed up with the statistics which define their :

Needs – Shouldn’t a proper capitalist society be supporting potential consumers to keep the capital flowing, and stand to gain from an untapped market in the bargain?  The parents/families/carers of 116,000 ASD children in the UK should not only be the target clientele  for developers of ‘next-gen’ video console hardware.  They should also be it’s co-designers and producers.

UNITED AUTISTS will coordinate participating parents to be trained and accredited as arts practitioners, during the course of collaborating in arts activity with their and others’ children.  Their facilitated take over of the after-school club, and then formation of cooperatives for respite care, will enable UNITED AUTISTS to progress with purer forms of sustainability via IP procurement for and maintenance of the Community enterprise.



Legal Structure

UNITED AUTISTS is a Community Interest Company (CIC) (Appendix 4a.), assets protected by Asset Lock.  The enterprise is expected to submit an annual Community Interest Report and is monitored and assessed regularly by Companies House. (Appendix 4b.)

Workflow – For the purposes of theory, it is essential to assign two schools, which have not been chosen but are targeted.  Both areas of London, in which these schools are located – Lambeth and Newham – are cited for outstanding deprivation according to the GLA’s report ‘Indices of London Deprivation’ (GLA 2010)  – The Larkhall Centre for Autism in Lambeth and The Tunmarsh Centre – one of 3 SEN schools in LB Newham where schools are mainly integrated.

Progression & Timeline (Appendix 4c)

Merchandising – UNITED AUTISTS is assembling music artists to contribute to a series of themed compilations, in a scheme to benefit the programme and charities like Ambitious for Autism. USB sticks with links to tracks on I-tunes, will be sold at the workshopped events.  (Appendix 4d.)

UNITED AUTISTS will  grant temporary licence to participating charities, for promotion and sale of the compilation, and will split with them the proceeds from sale.

UNITED AUTISTS will also implement sale of t-shirts, with the children’s chosen storyboards as design, at the event.

UNITED AUTISTS will grant temporary licence to participating charities for promotion and sale of the t-shirts, and will split with them the proceeds from sale.

Social Networking strategy – Hassan Mirza (Appendix 4e.) is developing a Social Networking management plan with UNITED AUTISTS.  During the course of his campaign he will be regularly briefed, on certain Fridays, about developments in events and merchandising, to inform his practice and establish UNITED AUTISTS’s network presence.  Charities, potential partners and press to be invited to the final event of the first offering

2nd Offering – UNITED AUTISTS wlll facilitate negotiations between interested parties with parents and education officials, like the ASD trained teacher recommended for each locality by the NAPC.  The longterm end result is to enable a process of design round table, attracting technology companies eager to upgrade corporate profile and market edge by co-designing a network capacity building device for the formation of empowered ASD community.  The product will augment SEN education and ensure future stability for the ASD communities involved.  UNITED AUTISTS suggests this device as an interactive video game console upgraded with Jaron Lanier’s Somatic Cognition capabilities and Seeper’s Immersion pyrotechnics, with Skype provision for interface between translocal families and carers within the translocalised ASD society.  However the final design is a collaboration between communities described, and they will make the final decisions on its capabilities.  Process (Appendix 4f)

Merchandise – More storyboard designs converted to t-shirts and stickers, with the possible addition of caps and removable tattoos, designed by the children.   Choices for design and merchandise are contingent upon the flow of the workshops.  The ASD children, families and volunteers, involved with the schools, share the copyright of design and sales.

A second music compilation with new interested artists, encouraging the students’ musical participation for those so inclined.   Both compilations will be sold at the 2nd offering event.  All involved share in copyright of design, and splitting proceeds

3rd OFFERING  The videogame console, co-designed for and by ASD communities in the UNITED ARTISTS Roundtable, may serve as a tool to augment the transition from afterschool club to respite care, in facilitating creative practice aligned to learning and reinforcing the ASD network toward capacity building.  The Third Offering will prototype the tool, during the transformation to cooperative respite care within the participating ASD community. The ASD community will feedback to its co-designer for product development.  It should be available for sale to the general public after the third offering in UNITED AUTISTS’s programme.



Social Network strategy and campaign manager, Hassan Mirza – Employed from the first 6 months of UNITED AUTISTS two workshop events

3rd offering – utilise the Marketing and Communications departments of interested technological firm to shave off about £1,000 per quarter for social networking consultant, Hassan Mirza; or incorporate Hassan into the media maching of say, Wii or Sony.

UNITED AUTIST Current Social Media Profile


Facebook – 2,000 friends – events management, postings, invitations, links to blog

Twitter – 250 followers with a network of approximately 300 within the ASD community.

Band Camp, CD Baby, Kickstarter

Tunecore – to establish presence on I-tunes, package includes free website

Other Promotional Networks

Participating Schools, Local Authorities – local newsletters, Charities via split of proceeds from merchandising

Events Merchandising

1st offering – to be sold at school events (2 opportunities)

T-shirt, stickers, USB key for music compilation’s artwork and links to I-tunes website for 1st compilation download

2nd offering – to be sold at school events (3 opportunities)

T-shirt, stickers, trucker caps (logo designed by students) UNITED AUTISTS tattoos (designed by students), & USB key for music compilations’ artwork, with links to I-tunes website for 1st and 2nd compilation download



Start up costs – £63,450 – Includes the first 6 months of four practitioners’ salaries; the cost of three computers for three classrooms, Cameras for film making; Tools, toys and props for preparation of three Community Arts-in-Residence spaces. Projections for Cashflow Year 1 and Income/expenditure for Years 2 & 3  (Appendix 6)



BBC News UK, ‘England Rioters “Poorer, Younger, Less Educated” <URL, [accessed 24 October 2011]

Bowler, D., ‘The Economic Cost of Autism in the UK’, The International Journal of Research and Practice (2009), Journal 13, no 3, 317-336

Braufman, O., Beckstrom, R.A., The Starfish and the Spider:  The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (USA:  Penguin Group: 2006)

Chesbrough, H.W.. Open Innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2003)

Gale, Kimberly, ‘Autistic Teen’s World Unveiled in New Book: “Carly’s Voice:  Breaking through Autism” Released last Month’ <URL> [accessed 11 April 2012]

Gardner, H., Intelligence Reframed:  Multiple Intelligences in the 21st Century (NY, USA:  Perseus, 1999)

Gast, G., ‘Bob and Roberta Smith, Artist – Keynote presentation’ <URL> [accessed 22 April 2012]

Heater, B., Microsoft Kinect shatters hyper-specific Guinness world record <URL>  [Accessed 27 April 2011]

GLA, English Indices of Deprivation 2010: :  A London Perspective <URL>,  Intelligence Briefing, Social Exclusion Team (2010)

Ledgin, N., Aspergers and Self-Esteem:  Insight and Hope through Famous Role Models (Texas: Future Horizons Inc., 2001)

Lynch, G., In-Depth Review: Nokia’s Comes With Music service <URL> [accessed 25 February 2010]

Pink, D.H., A Whole New Mind (USA:  Riverhead Books, 2008)

Richmond, R., UK Music chief: ‘Digital Economy Bill will be passed before election’ <URL> [accessed 19 March 2010]

SEN Magazine, Care crisis looms for people with learning disabilities, 

<URL>  [Accessed 4 April 2012]

The Times 100, Cause Marketing – Vodafone’s partnership with The National Autistic Society

<URL> [Accessed 2004]

Unlocking Britain’s Potential, ‘UK Employers rate School Leavers over Graduates’ <URL [accessed 16 January 2012]

Williams, Donna, Autism:  An Inside-Out Approach (UK:  Jessica Kingsley Publishers Ltd, 1996)

White, M., Arts Development in Community Health:  A Social Tonic (Oxford:  Radcliffe, 2009)



1. Executive Summary


Letter to Michael Gove MP ~ 25th July 2011
Feel free to copy this letter, and post or email it [email protected]to Michael GoveRt Hon Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State for Education
Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT

In memory of Lucien Freud and Amy Winehouse who died this weekend.  Your destruction of Britain’s ability to draw, design and sing.

Dear Michael Gove

Art, images, artifacts, songs; culture are the principal means by which Human beings define themselves.

Michael, a look at your tie and shirt combination in images of you online informs me you are not a visually minded person. You do not care how you look. Like many men of your generation you probably disdain the modern media’s obsession with ‘image’.

Look around you. What do you see? Everything is made. Everything has been fashioned by human beings who have considered all aspects of what they have made. Human beings consider the function in the system of commerce of what they make but at the same time their work creates images. Image is everything; visual worth, commercial value, moral virtue, authority and integrity.

From birth Human beings seek to understand, find their place in society and control their worlds. Through looking and understanding the child interprets the world. Give a child a piece of paper, a brush and some colour and you put them in control. Children’s art is so appealing because they have no problem with being in control of images. As school progresses, poor teaching in some schools, impresses on the child that they are not in control. Not only are they not in control, but they are the most insignificant cog in a system of control in which they may never play an important part. From Galileo to Darwin, from Caravaggio to Amy Winehouse creativity is rebellion.  Even Free Market economists recognise that wealth creation is based on questioning, innovation and improvement. Creativity is non-acceptance of the status quo, and rejection of the Academy. Your initiative awards conformity and will cause stagnation.  Ebacc creates orthodoxy where your un-evidenced view of what will be important to future generations is given an unnatural emphasis. Ebacc is more suited to a planned economy.   The rebellious child, the innovator, the inventor, the engineer, the artist, the architect clings on to their prowess with paper, does art at school, goes to art school, studies design or enrols at Imperial College and contributes to the library of images and forms. The relationship between sheets of blank paper, pencils and innovation is undeniable. Art should be the centre of a National curriculum based on creative thinking. Pity the obedient child in a system of Education obsessed with ‘vocational skills’. He or she caves in. The child who becomes inhibited is inducted into the mediocre majority of the visually illiterate of which you, Michael Gove, (in your ill fitting shirt and unmatched tie) are a part.  But even those who have creativity beaten out of them by educational systems of the type you advocate, need, enjoy and consume images. Ebacc least serves, what people in the media call ‘content provision’.  The ability to fill ‘new media’ with images will determine who has power. Everything is made. Everything is visual. Art, yes but also design, money, numbers: even the ebb and flow of commerce has to be made visual. The English landscape is a creation of human design. In your language ‘Brand Britain’ is visual and cultural. In recent years China has opened 400 schools of art and design. Your Government has whittled Britain’s once diverse, varied culture of schools of Art to just 12 institutions. This reduction is a disaster for British design, British commerce, British Art and Britain’s ability to compete in the world. Does Britain’s image mean nothing to you? Your reforms will cripple future British design. In advance of your reforms Roehampton University has withdrawn its courses training art and design teachers, this is disgraceful.

Take Art out of the National curriculum and belittle art in your distorted Ebacc system of categorisation of significant subjects and you will emasculate British Culture. Where are our future designers, architects, craftsmen, engineers, technicians, software designers and mathematicians going to come from if no one can draw? Your thinking and the thinking of your Government is provincial. You want to jump onto a ‘Far Eastern’ bandwagon that has already left town. The crazy dream of turning the UK economy into Singapore is not available to you. You should realise Britain is amazing. In cultural, visual, democratic, musical, design, product development and literary terms Britain is a giant. Art is now part of the language of freedom and democracy.  Repressive, ideological regimes restrict Artists. You must realise that art is not a choice made at secondary school rather we are all cultural beings. Your creation of Ebacc promotes modern languages. This is a good thing. On holiday in Italy you will have visited regional museums.  The Italians cram their children into museums, they say, ‘look, this is Italy, this is your culture, your are Italian’.  Human beings have culture.  Your government’s adoption of the last government’s ‘Mandelsonian’ Browne review with is desire to monetize the episteme and its assault on the Arts and Humanities coupled with, your inclination to remove Art from the national curriculum is deeply concerning. You will be opposed by all people interested in Art, design, free speech, freedom and democracy  and probably also by a few bankers and investors interested in British products and exports who are concerned about the colour of their money.  Michael Gove, ditch Ebacc. It is mistaken; Education is about sewing seeds not setting standards for the shape of bananas.

Bob and Roberta Smith – Artist


1b. TEMPLE GRANDIN:  ‘My Experience with Autism’

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2. Business Description and Mission

2a. JARON LANIER’s ‘Somatic Cognition

Somatic Cognition – Tim Manners

Jaron Lanier sees a future in which students might learn about chemistry by turning themselves into molecules (The Wall Street Journal, 10/23/10). Jaron, author of “You Are Not a Gadget,” is talking about a concept known as “somatic cognition” and the potential of the human body to be “extended by physical objects that map body motion into a theater of thought and strategy not usually available to us.” Anyone who has become reasonably good at playing an instrument or a sport has some idea of what the heck he’s talking about.

As Jaron explains: “After enough practice, a moment comes when you notice that your hands have solved complicated puzzles of voice and harmony faster than your conscious mind can keep up.” Based on this, Jaron thinks that “avatars could become the ultimate somatic objects.” His own experiments have led him to believe that “people can learn to inhabit other bodies,” even bodies “with oddly shaped limbs, or limbs attached in unfamiliar places … even bodies with different numbers of limbs.” Even lobsters.

This is known as “’homuncular flexibility.’ The homunculus is the mapping of the body into the motor cortex” part of the brain. It’s now possible “to measure what the human body is doing with a specialized camera, so that the body can be instantly mapped.” Jaron says he’s used this technology to turn “elementary-school kids into the things they were studying. Some were turned into molecules, dancing and squirming to dock with other molecules.” Or they could become triangles to learn about geometry. “Your sensory motor loop is modified to incorporate the logic of a science,” Jaron writes, “and you develop body intuition about that logic.” Kind of like playing the guitar.

2b. Seeper Immersion Technologies – An integrated Multi-Media Arts project with ‘Autists’ from Baskerville School in Birmingham and ‘Neurotypicals’ from Lordswood Girls School


3. THE MARKET – High Definition

3a. Key Charities



3b. Autistica’s Science Strategy research


3c. Ambitious About Autism – CRAE


3d. Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE)

“Improving outcomes for people with autism”

The centre was established in 2009 with a mission to improve the research evidence for effective interventions, education and outcomes for children and young people with autism. We aim to produce research findings that will influence health and education policy and practice in the UK and internationally. CRAE is a partnership between the Institute of Education and Ambitious about Autism, the national charity for autism education.

We undertake research to facilitate:

  • Removal of barriers to learning and participation in schools and society for people with autism spectrum disorder
  • Understanding of how autism education practice can be evaluated more effectively
  • Promotion of the translation of research evidence into practice
  • Establishment of a nexus for national and international communications regarding good evidence-based practice in autism education

CRAE is headed by Professor Tony Charman, Chair in Autism Education, whose research programme investigates early social cognitive development in children with autism and the clinical application of this work via screening, epidemiological, intervention and ‘at risk’ studies. Dr Liz Pellicano is a Senior Lecturer at CRAE and her research investigates the role of social cognition, cognitive psychology, face perception, and visual perception in development and learning in children and adults with autism.

CRAE was established through generous donations from:

and with support from Ambitious about Autism the IOE and alumni of the Institute.

If you would like to contribute to the work carried out at CRAE you can give online today.


3e. ASD ‘Epidemic in Utah’

Autism and Disappearing Bees: A Common Denominator?

Note: Monsanto, Dow and Dupont strike again.  Cancer, autism, developmental problems…biodiversity loss, bee die-offs, climate change…GMOs, pesticides, industrial agriculture… when will we learn that better life is not made through chemistry?  Thanks to Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready herbicide resistant GMO crops, the amount of the toxic herbicide used on crops went up 300%.  Now there are RoundUp resistant weeds and more toxic herbicides are coming back. We live on a tiny planet where all the pieces are interlinked.

Want to cure cancer?  End autism?

Change the system that allows corporations to profit from dumping poisons into land, air and water.  Occupy your health.  Occupy your body.

–The GJEP Team

by Brian Moench, Monday, April 2, 2012

Cross-Posted from Common Dreams.

A few days ago the Salt Lake Tribune’s front page headline declared, “Highest rate in the nation, 1 in 32 Utah boys has autism.”  This is a national public health emergency, whose epicenter is Utah, Gov. Herbert.  A more obscure story on the same day read: “New pesticides linked to bee population collapse.”  If you eat food, and hope to do so in the future, this is another national emergency, Pres. Obama.  A common  denominator may underlie both headlines.A honeybee pollinates a flower in a citrus grove just coming into blossom.A Stanford University study with 192 pairs of twins, with one twin autistic and one not, found that genetics accounts for 38% of the risk of autism, and environmental factors account for  62%.

Supporting an environmental/genetic tag team are other studies showing autistic children and their mothers have a high rate of a genetic deficiency in the production of glutathione,  an anti-oxidant and the body’s primary means of detoxifying heavy metals.  High levels of toxic metals in children are strongly correlated with the severity of autism.  Low levels of glutathione, coupled with high production of another chemical, homocysteine, increase the chance of a mother having an autistic child to one in three.  That autism is four times more common among boys than girls is likely related to a defect in the single male X chromosome contributing to anti-oxidant deficiency.   There is no such thing as a genetic disease epidemic  because genes don’t change that quickly.  So the alarming rise in autism must be the result of increased environmental exposures that exploit these genetic defects.

During the critical first three months of gestation a human embryo adds 250,000 brain cells per minute reaching 200 billion by the fifth month.  There is no chemical elixir that improves this biologic miracle, but thousands of toxic substances can cross the placenta and impair that process, leaving brain cells stressed, inflamed, less well developed, fewer in number and with fewer connections with each other all of which diminish brain function.  The opportunity to repair the resulting deficits later on is limited.

The list of autism’s environmental suspects is long and comes from many studies that show higher rates of autism with greater exposure to flame retardants, plasticizers like BPA,  pesticides, endocrine disruptors in personal care products, heavy metals in air pollution, mercury, and pharmaceuticals like anti-depressants.  (Utah’s highest in the nation autism rates are matched by the highest rates of anti-depressant use and the highest mercury levels in the country in the Great Salt Lake).

Doctors have long advised women during pregnancy to avoid any unnecessary consumption of drugs or chemicals.  But as participants in modern society we are all now exposed to over 83,000 chemicals from the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe and the consumer products we use.  Pregnant women and their children have 100 times more chemical exposures today than 50 years ago.  The average newborn has over 200 different chemicals and heavy metals contaminating  its blood when it takes its first breath. 158 of them are toxic to the brain.  Little wonder that rates of autism, attention deficit and behavioral disorders are all on the rise.

How does this relate to vanishing bees and our food supply?  Two new studies, published simultaneously in the journal Science,  show that the rapid rise in use of insecticides is likely responsible for the mass disappearance of bee populations.   The world’s food chain hangs in the balance because 90% of native plants require pollinators to survive.

The brain of insects is the intended target of these insecticides.  They disrupt the bees homing behavior and their ability to return to the hive, kind of like “bee autism.”   But insects are different than humans, right?   Human and insect nerve cells share the same basic biologic infrastructure.  Chemicals that interrupt electrical impulses in insect nerves will do the same to humans.  But humans are much bigger than insects and the doses to humans are  miniscule, right?

During critical first trimester development a human is no bigger than an insect so there is every reason to believe that pesticides could wreak havoc with the developing brain of a human embryo.   But human embryos aren’t out in corn fields being sprayed with insecticides, are they?  A recent study showed that every human tested had the world’s best selling pesticide, Roundup, detectable in their urine at concentrations between five and twenty times the level considered safe for drinking water.

The autism epidemic and disappearing bees are real public health emergencies created by allowing our world to be overwhelmed by environmental toxins.  Environmental protection is human protection, especially for the smallest and most vulnerable among us.

Dr. Brian Moench is President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. He can be reached at: [email protected]


3f. ‘Louis Theroux – Extreme Love – 1. Autism

BBC2 – 19th APRIL


3g. NPD Study finds Gaps in User Awareness on Hardware Functionality

by Leigh Alexander


3h. Wii

Consider the Nintendo Wii for Kids with AutismGuest Author – MaryTara Wurmser

Nintendo Wii and Autism


UNITED ARTISTS’s dream project for Action Dog Ltd. would be to partner it with Microsoft, including Jaron Lanier, to innovate his Somatic Cognition capabilities to the Cinematrix 3.0.  It would be the perfect vehicle to enable an ASD child to understand about biology, through solipsistic, sensorial experience – so to actually feel what it’s like to be an 8-legged spider avatar or even a rattlesnake.  Think of the envy of the Neurotypicals


3j. SEEPER IMMERSION – July 29 2011

Seeper ran a week of workshops at Baskerville School for young people with autistic spectrum disorders and complex difficulties.

The workshops used technology to create an immersive, responsive learning environment. The technologies were designed to respond to the diverse needs of individual students, encouraging interaction, communication and confidence. The workshops culminated in a performance at Lordswood girls School, using a combination of theatre and digital technologies to tell an imaginative story devised by the young people.



4a. CIC status

4b. Legal Structure

UNITED AUTISTS is consulting with Megan O’Callaghan, BRIFFA to strategise against IP sabotage.  We have decided on structuring protection with proforma legal documents to address such elements at various stages of offerings, including copyright for the merchandise sold at events and the patent pending for design of hardware.  There are other issues of confidientiality, during preparation processes.

4c. Progression/Timeline

Summer Half-term break 4th June 2012 – til Autumn recess – outside of school hours.

The 4 practitioners, having workshopped practice, and assembled repertoire, will rotate in 2 teams of 2, between the 2 schools.

Each practitioner leads a workshop 1 day a week at each school, and each practitioner assists said colleagues’ workshops 1 day a week at each school.   The two classrooms utilise ‘Skype for the Classroom’ to coordinate activities.

On the 5th day Friday, the 4 practitioners convene at the office to reflect on the week’s workshops and compile a file note of results, with action points for better practice and coordination, and evolving strategies for the schools’ event.  The accumulation of evidence, from reflexion on practice and improved strategies for engagement and achievement, will provide content for a quarterly report, at the end of the first offering.  The report should inform a keener sensibility for evaluation processes, which will also influence practice, especially in search of how creative practice stimulates other learning.  It will also feed into the Annual Community Interest Report required by Companies House.

The NAPC’s recommendation for an ASD trained teacher to be stationed within a locality, to ensure adherence to curriculum, would come into play nicely in this pursuit.  UNITED AUTISTS would encourage the said teacher to observe on the practice once a month, and to attend the simulcast event.  Feedback from this teacher/official would prove of immeasurable worth in crafting practice to stimulate learning closer to curriculum, as well as deepen understanding of evaluation criteria.

During the course of the workshops and evaluation meetings, UNITED AUTISTS’s practitioners will facilitate students’ producing  a piece of musical animation about their collective stories, and will also introduce them to the interface of ‘Skype for the Classroom’.  With hope, we will also have recruited parents/family into the afterschool club.  The workshop’s creation will be a screening of a collaborative animation film between the two schools, with musical, possibly singing, accompaniment.  There will be live musical performances to accompany the animation, the children’s participation is optional, but encouraged.  The event will be performed/screened, simultaneously to both schools, through the facilitation of ‘Skype for the Classroom’.  UNITED AUTISTS to recruit more Parents for the next workshop-to-performance event.

4d. Practice – add school in the North of London – Pears Foundation Treehouse School, by example

It would serve as additional arts-in-residence space and resource to the programme.

The same workshop via Skype and Friday review process ensues with the practitioners who are now assisted by participating family.  This enables 2 practitioners to work singularly at Newham and Larkhall schools.  The other 2 practitioners team, alternating as lead and assistant, at Treehouse.  With the success of the first offering, schools deepen relationship with the local authorities and procure in-house facilities such as volunteers, transportation and furthered promotion.  Students would be further enabled by more participating parents, led by the parents who participated in the first offering.  The parents learn to operate the various technologies whilst assisting at the workshops where their children are located.  UNITED AUTISTS would devise a strategy with the councils, to provide training qualifications as Assistant Practitioners for volunteers and parents.  That strategy might be developed with the NAS’s Accreditation Programme.



UNITED AUTISTS is in conversation with Ladyhawke (self proclaimed mild-Asperger), and

RedLamb (identical mirror twins within the spectrum).

If the ASD children wish to participate by contributing a musical piece, then it will be included on the compilation, and they are invited to participate in the event.  However the end result is optional, depending upon how workshops develop.


4f. Ad Hocracy

In the first and second offering there will be opportunities for ad hoc events to accommodate ASD families and co-creators of their enterprise – movie nights, music nights, quiznights and/or mini conferences to decide on policies and strategise towards evolution of UNITED AUTISTS.  Marianne Hyatt, and practitioners will facilitate negotiations toward decision making via Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats (qualification pending).  We will facilitate parents and ASD community to assemble and reinforce assets/network to establish their own respite care facilities – whether that be in the form of a shared community centre, fitted for purpose within a given locality, or in the form of creating databases for revolving care at individuals’ homes.


5. Marketing and Sales Strategy

6. Financial Management (see overleaf for Cashflow, years 1 and income/expenditure for years 2 and 3)

In years 2 & 3, UNITED AUTISTS will be soliciting grant from

Year 2 – £50,000 – Empty Property grant for securing a space for the respite care collective, to be applied in Year 3.

Empty Property Grants or Loans are administered by each local authority. There are usually conditions attached to this type of grant/loan such as making the property available for social housing for a fixed period. Eco Renovation Grants are administered by local authorities as well as other bodies.


Year 3 – £80,000 for development of the empty property toward respite care facility


Type of support: Finance; business advice and support; investment readiness advice and support
For whom: Social enterprises; charities; cooperatives/mutuals
Region: UK
Specific eligibility criteria: Pre-scale business support (business modelling, market analysis)
Type of finance: Grants
Funding for : Working capital; development capital
Finance available: £25,000 – £200,000
Type of business support: Business planning; financial modelling; investment readiness; measuring impact; franchising and replication; networks and events

Year 3 – £25,000 – Grant for the Arts, Arts Council of England


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