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Sir Norman Adsetts

Sir Norman Adsetts OBE, has been a key proponent of the Hallam Difference for a quarter of a century. As chair of the University’s board of governors between 1993 to 1999, he helped establish the University as a catalyst for partnership in the formative years of, what was then, a new university.

Sir Norman has continued to be involved with the University, from the award winning Adsetts Learning Centre - named in honour of his personal contributions and outstanding work to raise funds to build the new centralised library - and The Autism Centre, which is an internationally renowned research and academic hub focused on developing and sharing knowledge and understanding about the autism spectrum.

During Sir Norman’s first few years as chair, his two young grandsons were diagnosed with autism at a time when there was little publicly accessible information or support available. So, prompted by a desire to learn more about the condition and noticing a need for trained professionals, Sir Norman initiated a number of developments to bring experts together for the first time. This led to the sponsorship of the Sheffield Hallam Autism Resource Exchange, and later to the inception of The Autism Centre.

The Autism Centre is committed to achieving positive change for autistic people and the wider autism communities. To date, it has enabled the learning of thousands of autism practitioners, autistic people, their families and allies. The philosophy and principles of The Autism Centre reflect those of Sir Norman and his family: The valuing of autistic people for who and how they are, a recognition of their talents and abilities and support for the development of these, and the identification and removal of the barriers in society that prevent autistic people from achieving their aspirations. The Autism Centre has achieved an international reputation for its promotion of more enabling ways of conceptualising and responding to autism and the development of a rights based agenda for change. It is an excellent example of how Hallam’s research expertise is making a real difference in communities across the region.

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