The Autism Show – Manchester 2014
We had a wonderful day yesterday at the Autism Show in Manchester.
It was great to see what a fabulous range of products and services there were on offer.
We spoke to lots of different people and attended some fantastic, insightful talks.
Ruth Holt’s talk, ‘A view of one’s own; Asperger syndrome from a female perspective’, made me very much think of my daughter, in terms of female presentation of Asperger’s Syndrome.
I was so pleased to be able to speak to the Author Michael Barton and his Mum, Delia, and to be able to tell them in person how much Michael’s book, ‘It’s Raining Cats and Dogs‘ has meant to my daughter. Every time she hears a new idiom or metaphor, she asks me for an explanation, asking ‘Is that like the ones in the cats and dogs book?”. I also really wished I had taken that book and my copy of his new book, ‘A Different Kettle of Fish‘ along for him to sign! (next year maybe!)
I was immensely moved by the children and adults at Autism’s Got Talent, they were genuinely amazing performances. The one that stood out for me the most though, was Jake Lynch. He spoke so truthfully about being bullied throughout school and the effect it had on him. Despite all of that, he has become an eloquent and accomplished public speaker and author.
Jake has Tourette’s syndrome, OCD, ADHD, dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome. On the receiving end of some really nasty bullying as he went through school, there were times when Jake wanted to hide away from everyone and everything
The thing which got Jake through those dark days was his imagination and his ability to tell stories. Story writing became an escape for Jake and he immersed himself in the fantastic tales of good versus evil.
Jake regularly contributes to online writing forums where he has quite a following. A self-published author, Jake is planning on becoming a full time writer and spends much of his time working on his main story idea – The Zirisian Princess and the Shrine of the Serpent.
John Williams – My Son’s Not Rainman, had me in tears… tears of recognition at John’s journey and tears of laughter at the joy and fun in ordinary every day life.
My son’s not Rainman: a tale about finding the positive in everything, from the joy and wonder of the Special School Disco to the unadulterated thrill of getting the front seat on the Docklands Light Railway. An uplifting story about what it really means to be different
John’s performance, quite literally, made my day! and I hugely appreciate his shout out to all the Teaching Assistants who do fabulous work on very low wages. Thank you John (you brought more tears to my eyes, us T.A.’s don’t hear that nearly enough)!
As we drove home, two things struck me.
Of the many people I had spoken to throughout the day, the ones I had made the best connections with were the parents of children on the spectrum.
So many products and services were not from large companies as I had expected, but from small, incredibly popular businesses with only a handful of staff, who were parents of children on the spectrum themselves. They have great products because they know what is needed and what works. They have been empowered to act and use their knowledge to help others – much like I am trying to do with The Jigsaw Tree.
A fantastic day.
I already can’t wait for next year, when I hope to hear Michael Barton speak (I sadly missed it because he spoke on Friday ). I also hope Alis Rowe, from The Curly Hair Project, (she won a Temple Grandin Award this year), will make it to Manchester as well as London.
Who else visited? What parts stood out for you and made your day special?