Welcome to the ATLAS blog

Our Preferred Terminology

Chapter 3 from ATLAS’s report on Ableism, Stigma, and Discrimination: The Power of Language. This chapter shares some examples of preferred terminology for young people with additional needs and disabilities.

Autism Acceptance

Hannah Mudd, an ATLAS Autism member, shares their personal experience of being autistic and working in a library.

LGBTQ+ Representation in Modern Family

Joshua Buxton, an apprentice on the User Voice and Participation Team, talks about how the TV show Modern Family portrayed the LGBTQ+ community

Tourette’s Awareness: Billie Eilish’s Story

Joshua Buxton, an apprentice on the User Voice and Participation Team, talks about Billie Eilish and her life with Tourettes Syndrome as well as his experience at her recent concert in London.

Bockett’s Farm Park Trip  

A look back at our trip to Bockett’s Farm for National Pet Month, by Reneé Coleman-Douglas, an apprentice with the User Voice and Participation Team.

Is there a link between epilepsy and autism?

Reneé Coleman-Douglas, an apprentice with the User Voice and Participation Team, shares her research into ATLAS’s Question Card on whether there is a link between epilepsy/seizures and autism.

MENCAP Myth Busters and ATLAS

How Mencap and ATLAS are making the world a better place for people with additional needs and disabilities!

Autism and GCSEs 

Tallulah, Deputy Young Mayor in Surrey, shares some of her tips for managing the exam season as an autistic young person!


One of our ATLAS members has shared their experiences about building friendships. how ATLAS has helped me to build my confidence to make new friends. I have struggled with friendships since I was 3 years old, this is due to my autism, anxiety learning difficulties and sensory issues to name a few. I found it…


One of our ATLAS members shared their experience with bullying I got badly bullied through secondary school, which led to all of my frustration to do lots of bad behaviour to other people and myself. The bullying would not stop because the staff were rubbish about it. The bullying made me very anxious, it made…

My adoption story…

Beginnings… I was a baby when I was adopted. I was fostered to start with, but when I was 6 months old, I was adopted. I was a happy child and was given all the things a normal child would have been given in life. I enjoyed going to church and nursery and I felt…

Learners’ Single Point of Access (L-SPA)

What is the L-SPA? The Learners’ Single Point of Access (L-SPA) offers help and support to children and young people within Surrey who have a problem, concern or needs about their development or progress. L-SPA offers help to anyone to the age of 25. What the L-SPA does L-SPA assures they will give children and…

Additional Needs and Disabilities support at Colleges in Surrey

Introduction ATLAS recently raised the below Action Card: As young people with additional needs and disabilities, we would like more information on what study support is available in Surrey for all young people with additional needs and disabilities, so that we know what options are available to us when we make decisions about our education.…

My Meltdowns and Shutdowns

An ATLAS member talks about their meltdowns and shutdowns, how they have changed recently and how they manage overwhelming situations.

Film Review: The Reason I Jump

Alice Willans, an ATLAS member, reviews the film ‘The Reason I Jump’: “I would recommend anyone with an interest in autism or additional needs to watch this film.”

My Anxiety, ASD, and Me

One of our ATLAS members talks about their Anxiety and Autistic Anxiety. They also share how they manage anxiety, what coping strategies they use and what professionals can do to help them during meltdowns and shutdowns.

Neurodiversity: Gender and Sexuality

Sabrina Peters, additional needs and disabilities participation officer, reflects on ATLAS discussions about neurodiversity, gender and sexuality.

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz: a review

Ryan Fairclough, one of our ATLAS members, reviews Anthony Horowitz’s Stormbreaker: ” I would recommend this to anyone who likes action, thriller, spy books”


One of our ATLAS members talks about their experience with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

ATLAS: The Big Picture

ALTAS Members talk about the importance of their participation group and young people getting their voice heard.

Lady Gaga and her Fibromyalgia

Rowan Foster, one of the UVP Team and SYAS members, talks about Lady Gaga and her experiences with chronic illness and pain as a result of fibromyalgia.

Satoshi Tajiri: how autism inspired Pokémon

Sarah Foreman, a member of the User Voice and Participation Team, talks about Satoshi Tajiri: a video game developer with Autism. He is well-known for his creation of Pokémon.

The History of Mobility Aids

As part of UK Disability History Month (UKDHM) Rowan Foster, one of our SYAS and UVP team members, looks back at the history of mobility aids,

How Language Impacts Lives: Stigma and Ableism

Sabrina Peters, the Additional Needs and Disabilities Participation Officer for the User Voice and Participation Team (Surrey), talks about the stigma around additional needs and disabilities, bullying and ableism.

Jamie Oliver: a chef with dyslexia

Jamie Oliver is a British celebrity chef with dyslexia. Read more to find out about his views and experiences on having dyslexia. Written by Rowan Foster

Comorbid Mental Health with Additional Needs and Disabilities

Rowan Foster, one of our ATLAS members, shares her knowledge and experience of comorbid mental health with additional needs and disabilities. Contents IntroductionMisdiagnosisThe accessibility of treatmentChronic physical illness and mental healthLack of servicesConclusion Introduction When someone has additional needs and disabilities, the way they experience the world and consequently the way they experience mental health…

Staying Safe at University

Whether you’re a fresher, returning student, or a postgrad, you’re likely to have a few concerns about the upcoming academic year. We’ve put together this blog post, detailing the changes you’re likely to see, and the guidance you need to bear in mind – we hope you find it useful.

Back to college safely in Surrey

If you’re over 16 and due to start or continue further education this academic year, it’s important you can get back to college or training safely. Being back supports your progress towards higher education or employment, but it’s also a more fun way to learn and develop, as you get to be face-to-face with tutors…

“Keeping in touch with the people that matter is important”.

With the new guidelines of meeting people during lockdown, we understand it may be pretty difficult to get used to this! However, our UVP Apprentice, Amy, shares with you why it is important to keep in contact with your loved one! Read more to find out!


We have been hearing from children and young people that they have been feel lonely during this difficult time. Gina, a UVP Advocate in the team has created some top tips for being alone during self-isolation without feeling lonely. Check it out!

Online Safety – Myth Busters!

It’s important you make sure that you’re staying safe online. Our UVP Participation Officer, Helen, has crated some myth busters around online safety! See if you can get them right!

Reporting Cyber-Bullying

In a recent Instagram poll on @OurVoiceSurrey 76% of young people had been affected by online bullying. 69% of young people who answered our Instagram poll on @OurVoiceSurrey knew how to report online bullying, but if you are unsure how to, read more to find out how! Stay safe!

CYA: Cyber-bullying and the impact on young people’s mental health.

Cyber-bullying is fast becoming one of the biggest issues for young people. In a recent online Instagram poll on @OurVoiceSurrey, young people told us that 76% had been affected by a type of online bullying, with the majority being victims of bullying on group chats or on social media platforms. Read more to find out…


We have been hearing from SEND Youth Advisors that they are feeling anxious during self-isolation and that they would like more resources on anxiety. Do not worry – SABP have made an anxiety leaflet for you about what anxiety is and how you can get support!

How to – Strawberry and banana trifle

For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme, why not shower your kindness and make an appetising strawberry and banana trifle for your loved ones! Our User Voice and Participation Advocate, Sania, will show you how! Share your recreations with us, we hope you have fun making it, enjoy!

Contacting emergency services during COVID19

We have recently heard from children and young people that they are apprehensive to call emergency services due to the COVID19 outbreak. However, our Apprentice, Amy, from the User Voice and Participation team has created a brilliant blog post on why it is okay to contact emergency services during this pandemic. So, do not worry!…

Kooth’s Kindness Challenge for Mental Health Awareness Week

For Mental Health Awareness Week check out Kooth’s 5 Steps to Wellbeing! Kooth also challenges you to the Kooth Kindness challenge! 1) Offer to do the shopping. 2) Pay a few compliments. 3) Smile more often. 4) Express your gratitude. 5) Send a sad friend a funny video. Click below to see how you can…

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health. Mental health can affect anyone, at any time. This year #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek is all about how much #KindnessMatters If you would like to get involved with #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 18th – 24th May 2020 get in contact with us! We’d love to share…

Sleep self-care tips

We understand that during this strange time, it is difficult to catch some sleep. Therefore, we created some tips that can help you sleep so you can look after yourself! Let’s talk about good sleep hygiene, we hope this works out for you!

Domestic Abuse guidance – where to get help

If you’re worried about abuse, your safety, or the safety of your friends or loved ones, please take a look at the resource and information pack created for young people by the User Voice and Participation team’. Please be aware that this content may be triggering. Do not feel alone and seek help!


One of our amazing ATLAS member’s, Ryan, has created this fantastic blog piece all about his experiences with Dyslexia.

Lost your job or struggling with finances?

Due to the recent COVID19 pandemic, we understand many people are in a vulnerable position who are facing financial struggles. Our User Voice and Participation Team’s Apprentice, Amy has put together advice and useful information if you are in hardships! Read more to find out.

Staying safe online at home

Staying safe at home is important. If you feel you’re struggling, be sure to reach out to people who can help you! For more safety advice, read more to find out!


Have you been feeling angry recently especially since this COVID19 pandemic? Helen, a Participation Officer from the User Voice and Participation team created a post about anger and ways of coping with it!

10 ways to connect with nature without leaving your home this Spring!

Tired of staying at home during quarantine and fear you’re missing out this Spring? Do not worry – find yourself doing different activities and connect with nature this Spring! Spring brings an uplifting and a sense of comfort, so enjoy it while you can!

Students help isolated people during Covid19 through #Task4Help

Since Universities have closed, students are out to help people in self-isolation using the new initiative #Task4Help launched by UniTaskr app. Through this app, people can task students to collect supplies and deliver in their homes! How thoughtful, right?! Read more to find out how this service has been helping so many vulnerable people!

Self-care tips during COVID-19

It’s difficult keeping your mental health positive and being distracted from this COVID-19 isolation we are all in. So, one of our amazing CYA Staines member, Tiffany, has kindly shared her experience and thoughts on taking care of your mental health. Thank you, Tiffany! Read more to find out!

CYA Guildford wellbeing workshop – ‘Flower of positivity’

Yesterday, CYA Guildford took part in a virtual workshop with Gareth from the CYP Haven, and collaboratively created this flower of wellbeing with petals of positivity on Zoom! We hope this flower brightens your day 🙂 Thank you CYA Guildford!

News: UK coronavirus rules relaxed for people with autism and learning disabilities

The UK government has announced their change in policy for those people that have autism and learning disabilities. Now, there are flexible measures for people with autism and learning disabilities can now exercise more than once a day and travel outside their local area with precaution under lockdown guidelines. How amazing! Check out the link…

Self-care activities

One of our wonderful CYA Guildford member, Hannah, has created an amazing poster of her tips and ideas of activities you could do for self-care! A big thank you to Hannah. Check it out!

Kooth are still here for you!

We would like to remind you that Kooth are still available to support your wellbeing! Check out their posters below for more information.

Covid19 & Exams

Are you feeling uneasy about what’s happening with your GCSE or A-Level exam grades this year? Check out our video on SYAS Facebook or our Instagram IGTV! Dom explains all!

Isolation Vlog!

As we come to the end of World Autism Awareness Week, Andrew who is a SYAS member has created a Vlog; A week in the life of Andrew during self-isolation! Make sure to check it out on SYAS Facebook – Add us as a friend on SYA Surrey! Or follow us on Instagram @ourvoicesurrey

Positive News

As we near the weekend, we would like to share with you some positive news stories we heard in March 2020! Make sure to check them out! We would love to hear your positive news, get in touch!

World Autism Awareness Week!

We are so proud and privileged to be able to share Emma’s experience with ASD! Emma’s experience highlights Girls with Autism and Wishes for the Future – please take a moment to read and share! Thank-you Emma!

Isolation Tips!

Self-isolating can be really difficult so Georgia in the User Voice and Participation Team has created a guide to self-isolating, including fun activities you can be doing at home! Make sure you check them out! If you do any of the activities we’d love to hear from you and see what you’ve created!

Virtual Support!

The User Voice and Participation Team would like to share what virtual Emotional Well-being and Mental Health support is available to you! Accessing virtual support is so important to keep ourselves emotionally and mentally supported especially during self isolation! Make sure to check the services out!

How To Keep a Structure During Self Isolation

During this unsettling time it can be difficult to keep a structure or routine whist self-isolating. Joe, an apprentice in the User Voice and Participation shares some top tips on what we can be doing during self isolation! Check them out here!

How to look after your mental health during Coronavirus

We understand that there is panic within our communities due to COVID-19, and we can only do as much as we can to protect ourselves and others around us, physically and mentally. An advocate within our User Voice and Participation team, Sania, created a blog post on top tips to protect your mental health during…

Stop Bullying!

Bullying has a huge effect on young people’s mental health which can result in school refusal, high anxiety, depression, low mood and can also have a detrimental impact on young people’s education. Check out what CYA would like Surrey and schools to do to stop bullying! Remember be kind always!

Coping Calendar: Keep Calm, Stay Wise, Be Kind

Action for Happiness has create a Coping Calendar! Click here to check it out – 30 actions to look after ourselves and each other during this difficult time.

Virtual SYAS

We are proud to announce Virtual SYAS is taking place next week via Facebook Video Chat Friday 27th March! Come and join in!

YES! Awards 2020

What a wonderful evening we had, celebrating children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities amazing achievements at the YES! Awards 2020! Take a look at an overview of the evening!

Mental Heath Awareness 2020

During Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked CAMHS Youth Advisor Freya a few questions on why mental health awareness is so important. Make sure to check it out – includes top tips for being brave!

SYAS – SEND Youth Advisors Surrey

SYAS is a participation group for children and young people age 10-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) living in Surrey. There are two SYAS groups across Surrey: Epsom – runs the 3rd Wednesday of every month Woking – runs the 1st Thursday of every month If you would like to be involved make…

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