We have met with the NAS and are exploring options of partnership working to provide services and support . Our aim has always been to unite the expertise available and pull resources together. With this is mind we are also working with Dimensions and other local organisations.
Our meeting with the founder of Hao2 opened up opportunities of visualising our hub. Hao2 is an organisation that provides access to employment, training and business opportunities for people with autism via innovative 3D virtual world solutions.
We are meeting lots of lovely young people with autism and their parents and we are consulting with and listening to what people want. As we are reaching out to the local community and local businesses it is evident that there is support for express and what we are aiming to achieve.
We were delighted to have been invited to meet with the lovely Stephen Unwin at a special evening of ‘A Day in the Death of Joe Egg’ at The Rose Theatre, Kingston. Stephen has been very supportive of us and has helped us build up strong links with the theatre. We also had the pleasure of meeting Ralf Little whose performance as Bri was compelling. Sorry Ralf – we may have had one glass too many of red by the time we spoke to you!
Then came a day of meetings. A very successful and productive day. Firstly, we met with Ed Davey, our local MP who really shares our vision and fully supports express. Then we had a meeting with our panel. We are very lucky to have such an enthusiastic panel with lots to contribute. We are grateful for their commitment to express and for the tasks they have taken on. This was followed by a meeting with our business mentor from the Cranfield Trust. A mentor is what we need – there is so much to do and so little time!
We are also very excited to have been contacted by a casting agency to help find a young person with high functioning autism or Aspergers to appear in a main supporting role. We wish lots of luck to those we have introduced. We feel that it is very important that autism is accurately represented in media and film. It would be amazing if one of our supporters was successful!
Never a dull day at express....
All this while still working, caring and dealing with general (or not so general) family life. We are lucky to have supportive families. Thank you.
May has seen Bank Holidays and half-term. For some a rest, for others days filled with dread as routines are changed. For a light-hearted guide see My Son's Not Rainman Blog
C is high functioning and with him his autism is certainly a hidden disability, so much so even people who know him well will always question how it affects him. If you don’t see it – it is hard to believe it. C does struggle with his diagnosis and to look at him you wouldn’t know the places he goes to or the things he says. C is a ‘hider’ he will do all he can to be the same as everyone else and this concerns me as he gets older. I am concerned that he will be easily led as he is a follower and is vulnerable as he lacks the social imagination to consider the consequences. That said, we are doing all we can to prepare him to be independent with his transition to a new school. His autism may make things more challenging for him but we are always working on strategies to help him. We are very optimistic that his new school will be aware enough to know that the child they see may just be coping and that they will need to get to know him to understand him and bring out his potential. Talking of bringing out his potential, with the right guidance and motivation C can achieve what he aims to – he is now the proud owner of his much deserved ‘brown and white belt’ in kickboxing. The structure, routine and discipline suits him. It also means on kickboxing training nights he sleeps very well!
I’m also pleased to report that C got through SATs week relatively calmly – it was the anxiety before that caused him more stress. Once again this was reserved for us at home. Just a few more dents in the furniture...
As a family we have also been worrying about my brother’s care home assessment. We are reassured that this is just a financial exercise but it is still an anxious time as we are lucky that he is very happy and settled. On his home visits he will definitely be one of our regulars at express as long as we have tea and toast on tap and his favourite music playing.
For T, some interesting developments in socialising. T joined an after school drama club, and whilst verbal he is not conversational or considered 'high functioning'. However bizarrely reading, memorising scripts and intonation is his thing! So he asked to be the narrator – bet that surprised everyone J - but the member of staff running the group is fantastic with him and in general! So narrator he became woo hoo proud and slightly scared myself to be honest! But more developments to come as one day well into rehearsals the lead player was off sick – Who would play the character??? Up pipes T with all the lines so he gave it a go and......... success in fact I was told other members of staff were rounded up to come and listen and watch! He was so good they made him understudy!!! Never underestimate.....
On another note we had the very rare occasion of a child coming to tea! Ts excitement was palpable for the entire weeks run up and school commented how excited he was especially on the day of the big 'date' – it was wonderful to see the child interact with T, her understanding and patience with T was very touching and heart warming to watch.
Just to make you smile... I was given the grand title of “Best remote finder EVER” by T this week as momentous disaster was averted when said remote was retrieved...... In addition when a requested APP was not purchased the next day I was told “You need to learn to say yes” – I think we’re ready for some comedy roles next!