Mother of two children, Faye found out she was on the autism spectrum in 2010, following her son’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. Finding out has helped Faye to make sense of her life and things that have happened. But, as she says, ‘I am still just me!’
Faye left school without the qualifications she was capable of acquiring because she was branded as ‘naughty’, ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’. She has had several jobs, none worked out well.
Faye is a very proud mum and her two children are the centre of her life. She says ‘I could talk for ever about them, they are my everything’.
In order to help her son, Faye fought her way through the SEN system to get him to the right school. He is now very well supported and enjoying school life. Faye is very highly motivated to tell people about the reality of life on the autism spectrum. She wants everyone to know the potential of autistic children and is very passionate about spreading information to increase understanding so that all autistic children can have a brighter future.
Faye’s style of speaking is very powerful – her warm, kind and caring personality shines through as she shares her knowledge with professionalism, clarity and humour.
Richard is in his mid forties, and was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in January 2010. Also dyslexic, he grew up knowing he was different but not knowing why. He was criticised for being different and was considered lazy, rude, unsociable, an embarrassment and worse. He was mostly socially excluded by his peers. He had one or two friends who were a real lifeline and one has remained a lifelong friend.
Although very intelligent, Richard left school without much to show for it. He went into dead end jobs, the only sort he could get. He found getting on with colleagues hard and did not understand the politics of work. He was bullied and attempted suicide. Eventually, he made a career for himself working with learning disabled people and people with autism. He says “I found these people great to work with and somehow very like me. They too had suffered like I had and I understood them. I have done this work for 26 years now and am very good at it”.
Married, with a son, Richard really enjoys socialising with people who live in the autistic culture, where he can ‘remove his shell and be natural’. He is a trained and experienced speaker with a passion for raising awareness and helping others on the Autism spectrum.
Catherine is a highly accomplished Autism Oxford speaker with a talent for moving and powerful presentations. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 14, she has worked on a variety of different early intervention programmes for children with autism. She co-founded a support group for young adults with Asperger’s in 2001. The group meets twice a month, and she is an active member. She has worked with university students on the spectrum with the National Autistic Society, and now provides study skills support for university students with Dyslexia and Asperger’s.
Catherine graduated in Psychology, and studied Computer Usability, Communication Sciences and Dyslexia at Postgraduate Level. Throughout her studies, Catherine was particularly interested to learn about research in Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Given her educational, personal and professional background in Autism Spectrum Conditions, Catherine is passionate about integrating theory and practice. She is highly motivated to raise awareness of life on the autism spectrum, especially the apparently more subtle, but often equally profound, effects of Asperger’s syndrome on females.
What our audiences say about Catherine:
- “Catherine highlighted the importance of making the right information available to people with AS and their families”
- “Excellent presentation, fantastic delivery, very informative”
- “Excellent - what a positive message she gave!”
- “Inspiring and confident speaker”
Tilus is a passionate young speaker, originally from Wales. Being passionate, energetic and intelligent he found conforming to school routine hard, he got labelled as difficult and his potential was not recognised. There was nowhere for him to get to grips with his desire to learn and pursue his passions in design, engineering and electronics. Bullying has been a constant in his life until recent years.
Tilus went to university “determined to succeed”. However life was made impossible by bullies thus ending his studies. Like most autistic people Tilus is sincere, honest and hard working. He was very upset to leave university, losing his opportunity to get a degree and prove his ability.
Throughout education Tilus had friends who were important in helping him through life, their support giving him enough strength to keep going. His friends are important today.
Tilus is seeking an understanding of the world and his place in it. He has a passion for life and to find his role so he can live to his fullest potential. He wants get the degree that he is totally capable of in an environment where he is understood and valued.
Tilus is working with Autism Oxford to connect with his inner talents and passion for life. He is working on new presentations and ways of communicating the life of autism. Watch this space; there will be a lot more from Tilus.
What our audiences say about James:
- “Fun, clear, articulate, entertaining”
- “Really engaged with audience, good sense of humour!”
- “Very clear, funny & informative”
- “..good compere. Put himself across very clearly in question time”
Donna Williams is a multi-talented, highly qualified person diagnosed with autism. As well as being an internationally renowned public speaker , she is a sociologist, a qualified teacher and a consultant. She has published nine books, including her international best-selling autobiography, ‘Nobody Nowhere’ and ‘Autism; An Inside Out Approach’. In addition to these accomplishments, Donna is also a sculptor, painter and singer-songwriter with the band Donna and the Aspinauts, and is also screenwriter of the upcoming film: ‘Nobody Nowhere’.
Professor Tony Attwood
Tony is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in autism spectrum disorders since he qualified as a clinical psychologist in England in 1975. He works in private practice in Brisbane, but is also adjunct professor at Griffith University, Queensland. His book Asperger’s Syndrome – A Guide for Parents and Professionals has sold over 300,000 copies and has been translated into twenty languages. He has worked with over 3,000 individuals of all ages with Asperger’s syndrome. Tony presents workshops and runs training courses for parents, professionals and individuals with Asperger’s syndrome all over the world and is a prolific author of scientific papers and books on the subject. His book The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome was published in October 2006.
Dr Wenn Lawson
Dr. Wenn Lawson MAPS, internationally renowned and respected professional, is a researcher, psychologist, writer and poet with high functioning Autism. He has presented internationally and published many journal articles and written several books including her autobiography and everyday text on Autism. His work explores the influence of neurological development in individuals with Autism with reference to impact upon learning styles.
At school Wenn was considered to be intellectually disabled and ‘almost incapable of doing as he is told’. In his teens, he was misdiagnosed as ‘schizophrenic’. This label stuck for more than 25 years, until he was diagnosed in 1994 as being on the autism spectrum.
In 2008 Wenn was awarded fourth place as ‘Victorian Australian of the year’. As a writer, poet and adult educator, Wenn is well known both in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Becoming a psychologist and sharing his knowledge, understanding and experience of life encounters, including Autism and Asperger’s diff-abilities, is an ongoing journey that Wenn welcomes.
Wenn knows what it means to represent others and advocate on their behalf. The parent of four children, two of his sons are also on the autistic spectrum. Wenn is passionate about the rights of those who so often cannot speak for themselves and aims to promote justice and equality for all.
Wenn’s presentations explore AS, social demand and how to bridge some of the gaps so AS individuals can truly be involved with an inclusive society.
Dr Michelle Garnett
Michelle is a clinical psychologist and Founder and Director of ‘Minds & Hearts: A Specialist Clinic for Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism.’ The clinic was born through her passion for understanding autism spectrum conditions (ASC), and her strong desire to be part of positive change for people who have ASCs and their families. Michelle thoroughly enjoys working in this area as a diagnostician, therapist, consultant, mentor, clinical supervisor, workshop presenter, and researcher. She has specialized in autism spectrum conditions for the past 17 years, developing expertise in all subtypes of autism across all ages. Michelle created the first screening instrument for Asperger’s Syndrome, the Australian Scale for Asperger’s Syndrome (ASAS) in 1993. She obtained a PhD for her research into ASC, diagnosis and families in 2007 from the University of Queensland, Australia. She offers training in ASCs for postgraduate clinical students for 4 Australian Universities. Michelle has been an invited speaker at many national and international conferences and workshop events, including New Zealand, England, Wales, Norway, Portugal & Slovenia.
‘Sarah speaks Asperger as a second language.’ Tony Attwood
Sarah has both extensive knowledge and personal understanding of ASC and other disabilities, living with her partner Keith who has Asperger Syndrome and herself having Dyslexia. Together they wrote ‘Asperger Syndrome - A Love Story’ and Sarah is also co-author of a number of other books including ‘Love, Sex and Relationships - What People with Asperger Syndrome Really, Really Want’.
Sarah is the Training Manager for the Aspire Project (an adult AS mentoring and training project based in Brighton and Hove), a freelance trainer and consultant in AS, Autism and Dyslexia, and a qualified Further Education teacher supporting students with Dyslexia and other disabilities. She holds a Postgraduate Certificate in AS and an MA in Autism and is a speaker at both UK and overseas conferences. She has delivered training and consultancy to government departments, psychiatrists, National Autistic Society, police, schools, colleges, universities, care providers, careers services and management consultants.
Sarah also carries out adult assessments on those who believe they may have Asperger Syndrome, workplace assessments and consultancy to employers and coaching to adults and families of those with AS and Autism to increase their understanding of the condition and help them feel positive about it. As a trainee stand-up comedian, her training and speeches are always entertaining and highly enjoyable.