With invaluable and ongoing support and guidance from IWORK4ME and out of my desire to bring Autism to the attention of the wider public, I started my own small business as a public speaker in 2011. In return for a fee, I have made presentations to groups including:
- JobCentre Plus
- The City of Edinburgh Council (regular contributor to “Autism Champions” initiative training)
- SUSE (Scottish Union of Supported Employment)
- SCLD (Scottish Consortium of Learning Disabilities)
- IWORK4ME for the launch of “Autism Voices” in 2013
- Coalition of Senior Professionals working with People with Autism (CoSPPA)
- Borders Council/NHS (launch of the Autism Strategy April 2015.)
- Edinburgh College
My formative years were immersed in music and training to be an actor. This helped my confidence and assisted my ability to “fit in” to society, but this did not suit my nature. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in December 2012 on my 51st birthday.
Since then I have spent time learning to accept my difference and sharing my experiences with others through public speaking. I believe the need to raise awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome to workers/colleagues and the public alike is vital. People with Asperger’s have many qualities and skills to offer, yet the understanding of the condition is still sadly lacking.
My desire is to continue with public speaking, mainly to help to dispel the misleading way in which people with Autism (and with Asperger’s Syndrome in particular) are portrayed in the media. We need and deserve a voice.