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Autism Dialogue Programme

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The HUBS (Common Room)

6 Paternoster Row

Sheffield

S1 2QQ

United Kingdom

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AUTISM DIALOGUE programme at Sheffield Hallam University
A student-organised, group led programme for all Autistic Students and Staff (from any university).

Every 2nd Tuesday of the month starting Dec 8th until May 12th.
1.30pm - 5pm (please arrive 10-15 minutes early)
30 spaces only. Please attend all sessions if you can*.
No experience necessary.

Dialogue is a free exchange of ideas and information without an agenda and provides the opportunity to examine preconceptions and prejudices among peers, by open conversation with active, non-judgemental listening.

It is important to note, Dialogue is not a debate or a seminar where people convene with an agenda in place, either individually or collectively.

Dialogue is a way to think together by listening carefully to each other, while suspending one's assumptions and building on each other's ideas, not challenging them. Sometimes people find this radical way of thinking and communicating quite challenging, but equally, there is no obligation to speak at all.

Why Autism Dialogue?

Autism is a phenomenon which raises far-reaching questions into the nature of self, science, health, politics, cultures and society, with a wide range of views, definitions, criteria and ideas, many in a state of flux.

This series of Autism Dialogues will provide the opportunity for a better common and more dynamic understanding of Autism, naturally beginning with autistic people. As advocates for ourselves and each other, we will be empowered by new thinking, leading to greater self-knowledge and personal strength, so by example, supporting a more inclusive and enriched society.

Each session will be facilitated (we all aim to facilitate as there is no heirarchy in Dialogue) and have a loosely suggested theme to provide an gentle anchor. The room will be autism-friendly and a safe and confidentialial environment.

*Come just for the first session if you wish, to see if you like it!

Due to the evolving nature of a Dialogue and the best opportunity at reaching deeper conversation and understanding, your attendance at the most number of sessions you can manage is preferred. See FAQ below for further information.

More about 'Bohm Dialogue'

Bohm Dialogue is named after quantum physicist David Bohm, who developed this technique, along with Peter Garrett and Donald Factor in the 1980's. Experience has shown this radical method of non-judgemental group communication to be extremely beneficial for the consciousness and cohesion of organisations and communities and their members. Bohm Dialogue has been widely used in the field of organisational development.

There is a set of easily learned and empirically-derived skills that help to guide an organisation or community into an aligned way of thinking together. Bohm suggested around four hours over a number of sessions is optimum. Participants sit in a circle and no equipment is required. Minimal note-taking is permitted.

‘A dialogue has no predefined purpose, no agenda, other than that of inquiring into the movement of thought, and exploring the process of "thinking together" collectively. This activity can allow group participants to examine their preconceptions and prejudices, as well as to explore the more general movement of thought.’ (Wiki)

We look forward to seeing you.

FAQs

What's it like being in a Dialogue?

We sit in a circle on chairs (with a little bit of distance between them) and the facilitator will introduce the session and explain the simple guidelines. We then begin our conversation, one person choosing to speak while everyone else listens, building on each others words and approach. Sometimes it might go quiet and this is natural. We talk and think together this way, around the topic, until the break or the end. We agree not to make any group level decisions or draw conclusions.

Can we take a break?

There will be a 15 minute refreshments break half way though and you are free to come and go as you feel or as necessary. There is a cafe and help desk downstairs.

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

No ID required. Age: 18+

Do I need to bring anything?

Just yourself and some openness. You might like to bring a notepad, a drink and stim tools. This is your time.

What if I can't make one or more of the events?

A monthly commitment to 3.5 hours will give you and the group the maximum benefit, due to the nature of the evolving discussion and build of familiarity and trust. However, if you want can't make one or two of the Dialogues, don't worry. Also if you want to come for the first session to see if you like it, please book and we won't mind if you don't come again.

Do I have to be a student or staff at a university?

No but if you are neither of the above, please email us saying a little bit about yourself and your reasons for wishing to attend the Dialogues.

Can I bring a family member or carer?

Unfortunately, this is not possible. Due to confidentiality, we would need to obtain the permission of everyone in the group, which would be very difficult.

Do I have to have an official autism diagnosis?

No. As long as you identify as autistic that's fine.

What if I have other diagnoses?

If you have complex mental health problems as well as autism, you might struggle in a prolonged, sensitive and personal sitting.

What if I am distressed?

Dialogue is not therapy and is not the right environment to be distressed in. The university has a counselling service and details can be found at https://students.shu.ac.uk/shuspacecontent/wellbeing/counselling-shu

Why should all autistic people be lumped together like this?

Many autistic people feel a sense of kinship and more understood by other autistic people. By sharing on a familiar, common ground we are more likely to promote self-learning, which can lead to increased empowerment, confidence and happiness. By coming together and seeing we are all the same, yet all very different at the same time, we will hopefully feel better about ourselves individually and collectively.

Can I ask a question?

Sure. Either in public on Twitter: @autismdialogue, by clicking 'Contact' below or email: listeningalltogether@gmail.com

All information remains confidential.

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The HUBS (Common Room)

6 Paternoster Row

Sheffield

S1 2QQ

United Kingdom

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