Today, Princess Marie was in Glasgow, Scotland to attend the Scottish Autism 50th Anniversary Conference as Patron of the Danish Association for Autism.
Scottish Autism was established in 1968 by a group of parents and they are now the largest provider of autism-specific services in Scotland and a leading authority and advocate for good autism practice. Scottish Autism aims to “help those diagnosed with autism to lead full and enriched lives and become valuable members of the community they live in. We also seek to share our knowledge and expertise with parents, carers and other professionals in order to support the development of skills and strategies needed to provide the best care and support for autistic people. Building partnerships locally, nationally and internally provides us with the exciting opportunity to learn and share our knowledge of good autism practice with other countries. “
Scottish Autism’s Deputy CEO Charlene Tait is a member of the Council of Administration for Autism-Europe which is an association gathering almost 90 national and regional organizations advocating for the rights of autistic people from 30 European countries. Autism affects an estimated 50,000 people in Scotland or 1 in 100 people. In Denmark there are approximatively 70,000 people diagnosed with autism, it is more than 1 in 100.
Scottish Autism offers a wide range of support services for people with autism in Scotland: “We provide a wide range of flexible and innovative support services for children and adults across Scotland, each with a focus on improving quality of life. Central to this is recognizing that each person has a unique set of needs. We create personalized support plans which are based on an individual’s own strengths and motivations and on achieving outcomes which are meaningful to them.”
These support services include children services such as outreach support, respite, and short breaks services and education service to “take the time to build up a deep understanding of each young person, taking into account their processing and thinking style in order to maximize their learning potential. Our dedicated team of practitioners receives regular autism specific training and they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to enable each child and young person to have positive life experiences.”
But the association also focuses on support for adults such as supported living services which aim to help developing independence but also transition support services that aim “to assess an individual’s needs and build the skills and strategies required to enable them to move on to the most appropriate, sustainable and longer-term setting.”
Another important part of Scottish Autism’s support services is dedicated to the families in order to help them understand autism better and to help them whenever they need it but also to the professionals. Indeed the association has an advice line as well as a toolbox and training service available.
In order to celebrate their 50th anniversary, Scottish Autism organized several events all year with the big focus being this international two-day conference “Innovation in Autism Practice: The Future is Calling”.
The program of the conference was influenced by “a contemporary view that embraces autism as a developmental difference and focuses on a capacity view of the individual”. Scottish Autism also sponsored The Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC) to host an Autism Fringe which included workshops, discussions and information sharing.
Princess Marie, as Patron of the Danish Association for Autism, made the opening speech after the welcoming speech by Charlene Tait. Sadly, the Court hasn’t updated Princess Marie’s speech yet but I’ll update the post as soon as they do. We do know she talked about the value of sharing knowledge and experience as well as the importance of working together to improve the lives of autistic people.
After Princess Marie’s speech, Charlene Tait made a keynote speech called ‘The Future is Calling’.
The second keynote speech was held by Professor Roy Richard Grinker from the George Washington University called ‘Autism and the Disappearing Stigma of Mental Illness.’
Here’s a very important quote from Ruth Moyse’s seminar:
About Princess Marie attending the conference, Charlene Tait said: “We had the pleasure of meeting with Princess Marie at last year’s ‘Meeting of Minds’ autism event in Copenhagen to discuss a number of areas where Scotland and Denmark are working together in close collaboration. She is a real champion of the autism community and has been a great supporter of the joint working going on between ourselves and Autism Denmark. We look forward to welcoming her to Scotland and to hearing her speak at this year’s conference.”
Princess Marie indeed attended the Meeting of Minds conference last year in Copenhagen and I believe she will attend this year’s Meeting of Minds conference on November 29th although this wasn’t confirmed by the Court yet. This year’s theme is ‘Autism in Doubt’. According to the Danish Association for Autism’s website, some of the topics that will be discussed at the conference are :
- “Co-occurring mental disorder”
- “You don´t look autistic!”
- “What is Autism?”
- “Sex differences in boys and girls with ASD: Diagnostic criteria, stress, anxiety, and depression”
- “Aging and being autistic: Lessons (not) learned.”
After the keynote speeches at the Scottish Autism Conference, seminars started while Princess Marie left the Grand Central Hotel where the conference was held to go to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum along with Deputy CEO Charlene Tait. The museum is part of an initiative along with the other eight Glasgow museums to become more autism aware. This year they launched a new programme of early openings, autism-friendly workshops, and resources. In 2017, three of those museums already made improvements and now have trained Autism Champions to raise staff awareness, visual storyboards and pre-visit information to help plan the visit and sensory kits that can be borrowed.
At the Museum, Princess Marie met with students from the Iceberg Productions including Jason Donaldson, Daniel Page, Lee Roibrown, Emma Stanley and John Sapseed. According to Scottish Autism’s press release: “Iceberg Productions is a group of young autistic film-makers which is based at Blue Central, one of Scottish Autism’s Day Services. This project is led by John Innes and Ian Noble of the Untold Motion Picture Company. Ian and John have considerable experience in film-making, photography and sound recording and work closely with Scottish Autism, running a number of film-making taster courses for the individuals supported by the charity. The aspiration is to enable autistic individuals who are interested in film-making to be part of an in-house production company.”
One of the students, Jason, was able to interview Princess Marie and he then took a selfie with her which was shared on his school’s twitter account. Jason is a student at the New Struan School which is a day and residential school for students between 5 and 19 years old. Their vision is “to enable our pupils to become included, confident learners in the community. We know that young people with autism can be successful learners and we strive to provide the structured and supportive environment which enables them to reach their full potential. ”
When asked by Jason what was the best thing about being a Princess, Marie said : “The best thing is to be out for a day like this and meet people like those I’ve met here today in Scotland.”
The school even has a rabbit named Freddie and he has his own twitter account! He even congratulated Jason for his meeting with Princess Marie and said that the class had been checking Twitter all day to see if there was any photo of Jason! Jason said Marie was lovely and it looks like it was an amazing moment for everyone involved!
Princess Marie and the students posed for a photo in front of their taxis at the end of the event and Glasgow Taxis tweeted that they were honored to be transporting Marie today.
You can see a video of Marie’s day in Glasgow here.
In the evening, Princess Marie attended the evening dinner at the Grand Central Hotel which is the Hotel where she stayed. Sadly, there is only one photo so far. I believe Marie wore a new dress but I’m not sure.
In their report about the day, the Danish Association for Autism said: “The Autism National Association expresses its sincere thanks to HKH Princess Marie for the great involvement in the autism area, both nationally and internationally – and for the amazing work of the protector and in the meeting with autistic people and their families. “
For this day in Scotland, Princess Marie wore a fully recycled outfit. She chose to wear a Giorgio Armani double-breasted that she first wore in 2014 and black trousers.
She paired the outfit with her Etui Bags grey clutch and ufo pumps from 2010. In one of the photos, we can see Marie carrying a new purple tote bag but I don’t have any ID for it yet.
She wore the same outfit except for the trousers when she debuted the jacket in 2014 at an event to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Epilepsy Children Hospital of Dianalund.
We’ll next see Princess Marie with Prince Joachim this weekend in Braine, France where they’ll commemorate the end of the First World War.