I have been married for twenty years to a wonderful man who has high functioning autism. He received a diagnosis of autism just a few years ago. I have two children, my daughter is 28 years old and my son is 20. My son has severe autism and learning disabilities.
Throughout my career I have been fascinated and intrigued by neurological disorders and the effects on individuals. I began to specialise in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, along with complex needs. The birth of my son in 1999 and his diagnosis of autism in 2001 propelled me on! What knowledge and understanding I thought I had, was quickly ‘kicked out of the stadium’ as I learned what it was really like to live with and love a child with such overwhelming needs, (on around four hours of very disturbed sleep a night!). I felt totally useless and a failure to him, my daughter and my husband. With my son’s patience and understanding and by attending all the training I could fit into my diary, we settled in and learnt together.
When he began school, I re-joined the workforce. I worked full time for 15 years for a local authority as part of a specialist disabilities team. I specialised in autism. My duties included: contributing reports and assessments to the autism diagnostic team, regular monitoring of SEND provision, assisting educational settings to use SENDCo banding and threshold criteria when assessing children’s needs and support and delivering family groups across the borough – working with parents, carers, educators and therapists to help children develop their social, emotional and communication skills. I have enjoyed delivering The National Autistic Society’s EarlyBird Parent Programme for over 10 years.
I have been honoured to have worked with hundreds of people with autism and their amazingly resilient families and supported them through their own unique journeys.
‘If you’ve met one person with autism………..you’ve met one person with autism’ ref: Dr Stephen Shore.
Although autistic people share common difficulties, every single person is unique. I have met some remarkable individuals who have taught me so very much, for which I am eternally grateful. My training and experience enables me to offer a broad perspective on autism to a wide variety of audiences. Through face to face training I aim to provide people with the knowledge, skills and understanding required to provide effective help and support to people with autism.
I can honestly say, my son is the most wonderful, gorgeous, loving and caring young man on this planet. My family help by offering their own ideas, thoughts and experiences. My son is currently considering the pros and cons of allowing me to upload a recorded interview he did for me onto this site. Watch this space!