Ros Balckburn: Logically Illogical – Information and insight into autism

Ros Blackburn is an adult with autism. At three months old she appeared withdrawn, isolated and very much in a world of her own. At eighteen months she was diagnosed very severely autistic but with average intellectual ability.

Now at 50, Ros lectures nationally and internationally giving insight into her own experiences and the care and education practices she has observed. In spite of the severe limitations imposed by her condition, Ros displays great courage (and a strong sense of humour) in facing her fears and tackling life’s challenges.

In this talk, Ros will draw on her experience of living with severe autism and her considerable experience both as a recipient of services and increasingly as an observer of education and care approaches. Ros brings a perspective that is unique and yet speaks to all her audience: people with an autism spectrum disorder, carers, families, educators and the planners and providers of these services. Ros tells it ‘as it is’.

She does not disguise the fear and limitations which are part of her daily experience. Yet she is also able to convey her wonderful capacity for fun and zest for life and her refusal to accept ‘second best’ for herself or for others.

She describes the approach taken by her parents to give her what she now describes as the ‘veneer of social competence’ that enables her to engage in a still largely autism-unfriendly world. She explores with humour and passion the ‘mistakes’ from which she has had to learn and some of her coping strategies. From these, she is able to offer helpful advice on practical strategies (and even more helpful advice on what not to do!) Her talk also illustrates the problems of having an uneven profile of strengths and weaknesses, where often the strengths mask her very real difficulties and needs. She does not advocate anyone approach except that we should remember that people with ASD are people too and that ‘common sense’ should apply. Her position can best be summarised as an insistence on the need for high expectations for people with ASD linked with equally high levels of support. In a quote from her mother, Ros pleads that one should ‘never make autism the excuse, but help the person overcome the problems caused by it’.

 

Andrew Edwards was diagnosed with autism aged 4.

“Go home and watch Rain Man,” the specialist told his mother. “In all probability your son will be institutionalised.” Determined to prove the specialist wrong, Andrew’s mother, Hazel Davies, set out to give her son the best life possible.

Raised in a single parent household and encountering bureaucracy, bullying, and a lack of understanding from many around him, Andrew emerged from a turbulent childhood to win a Welsh National Young Volunteer Award, give non-profit speeches on his condition, and secure his dream job as a Broadcast Statistician at Manchester United Television.

After leaving MUTV after eleven and a half years in April 2014, Andrew secured a book deal with Bennion Kearny Publishing to write his autistic memoir entitled “I’ve Got a Stat for You-My Life with Autism”. This was following an interview on his life with John Humphrys on BBC Radio Four’s flagship Today Programme on Easter Saturday 2015.

Since publication, “I’ve Got a Stat…” has received glowing testimonials from a wide range of well known personalities including acclaimed Comedian, writer and Broadcaster Stewart Lee, BBC’s Dan Walker, Sky Sports’ Hayley McQueen, Multi Award Winning Broadcaster, Writer and former England Cricket Captain Michael Atherton OBE and Sky Sports Broadcaster and former British & Irish Lion, Will Greenwood MBE.

Andrew has also been featured on BBC Radio Five Live and by the Daily Express.

He is now the author of three published books with “A Vision of Exercise” the latest to be published in April 2018 on Bennion Kearny Publishing. The Foreword of which was written by Ashes winning and World Cup winning England wicket-keeper Sarah Taylor.

Andrew also volunteers his time looking after and fundraising for the next generation of autistic youngsters in his local area with Your Space, which has saw him win a High Sheriff of Clwyd Community Award at a ceremony in March 2019.

From Wrexham to Buckingham Palace via The Houses of Parliament, and incorporating stories of The Simpsons, sport, music, statistics, facts and much more– Andrew’s life is a powerful and inspirational tale that shows how determination, a positive outlook, and the will to succeed can overcome all odds!

 

Click here to book tickets

Certificate:

Suitable for all

Duration

Approx 120 mins

Time details

Inc. interval

Upcoming events

Saturday 5 October 7.30pm Garret Theatre Book now

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