Friday, 23 March 2012

Michele tells it how it is to MPs!

I am proud and honoured to have been chosen as an ambassador for the National Autistic Society and I hope I can help to develop further awareness of autism in all its many shapes and guises and give a voice to other parents who may not, for whatever reason, be able to speak out or stand up for themselves and their children.
My 10 year old son Dylan is gorgeous, funny, smart, witty, crafty, mischievious, loving and has ADHD and high-functioning autism.
He is also prone to regular meltdowns, agressive outbursts, can turn the air blue when he's 'in one' and has been know to tip over tables, throw pencil pots, bite teachers, try to jump out of windows, break or throw any object which comes to hand and, on two occasions (the other just last week!) do a runner from school only to be found my the police. Scary stuff I can tell you!
So I know a bit about working with schools and teachers and trying to ensure my son gets the support he needs in mainstream primary to thrive and be happy.
It's not been easy. We've had many battles along the way but the progress we have all made (Dylan, school and my ex-husband and I) has been phenomenal.
A turning point, I believe, was when I explained to the head teacher that none of this was personal - but if I didn't fight for my son who else would?
So, with my own experiences to share, I joined the team from the National Autistic Society a couple of weeks back to address Members of Parliament at the House of Commons. Wow! What an experience that was. If you've never been inside Westminster before and get a chance to, do take it. What a stunning building! So much history!
I was joined by a fellow parent, some very impressive educators and two fantastic young people on the spectrum and we were given the chance to share our thoughts and answer MP's questions about our experiences.
For many this could be a daunting experience but it seems I was gifted with a big gob so talking to people is never an issue for me! And I hope that my thoughts and views on education and autism (which I know echo those of the many wonderful friends I have made through my local autism support group) might help to shape a better system for our children who deserve the same rights to a good and happy and secure education and childhood as any other.
It was a real privilege to be asked and I have to say one of the proudest moments of my life.

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