Join Ros Blackburn and Andrew Edwards as they explore their experiences of living with autism throughout their lives from a unique perspective.
More about Ros and Andrew:
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 At three months old she appeared withdrawn, isolated and very much in a world of her own.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.
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!)
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, and securing a book deal to write his autistic memoir entitled I’ve Got a Stat for You – My Life with Autism, the first of three books he would go on to write. Andrew also volunteers his time looking after and fundraising for the next generation of autistic youngsters in his local area. 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!
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