Sharon Tiday, Campaign for Disability Awareness Lessons – was founded because of Sharon’s experiences of bringing up her three children, two of whom have additional needs.
Her son, 11 has high functioning autism and one of her twin daughters, 7 has mild cerebral Palsy and ME, (chronic fatigue syndrome).
Autism Daily Newscast reported on Sharon and her newly formed group last November and can be read here.
These experiences have made Sharon realise that there has to be more awareness in schools around the issues of disability which is the reason she decided to start the campaign in order to get disability awareness lessons into the mainstream school curriculum.
Sharon co-founded the group with Louise Steer who has a daughter, 11 who has epilepsy. Louise too has been on her own personal journey.
Sharon told us that the campaign also has an admin team consisting of many parents.
“Kerry McManus runs ‘Make a Difference Plymouth Parent Support Group’ that supports parents with children who have additional needs while Michelle Fallick and Cathie Gillepsie are both mothers to children with additional needs”.
Nigel Barrett is the Campaign photographer and he runs Hawk Eye Photography and is also known at times to be Barney and Hello kitty for many of the campaign’s events.
Sharon excitedly told us that:
“The Campaign is growing in strength and is now set up on twitter as Campaign FDAL as well as a members site on Facebook which now brings the number if supporters up to 2,534 ranging from parents to celebrities.”
Autism Ambassadors and Campaigners Kevin Healey and Anna Kennedy OBE have also joined the group and have added their support. Recently the campaign has also received support from Amran Hussain, the NHS England Commissioner.
The campaign has also received fantastic support from the top model and fundraiser extraordinaire Joel Hicks – Official.
“he has been so supportive to the campaign on Facebook and twitter”
The campaign has also taken part in annual disability awareness events such as Epilepsy Purple Day where they took Barney up onto the Plymouth Hoe and many of their supporters wore purple wigs.
“It was a great day enjoyed by parents as well as the children”
As well as the campaign helping to raise all types of disability awareness they have also been actively supporting the talented and inspiring singer Kyle Coleman who has non-verbal autism, with the release of his song ‘Standing on Solid Ground’ and the release of his new album.
Sharon and Louise met up with Kyle and his mother Caroline just recently which they told us was an incredible experience.
The campaign has also received help and support from the Dame Hannah Rodgers Trust which Sharon told
“is an amazing place that is all about inclusion of disabled and non-disabled individuals while many members of staff also have a disability.”
Sharon and Louise have also been studying a business course in preparation to bring the campaign into the mainstream school environment. They aim to give presentations in assemblies and to provide classroom activities.
“We would like companies to come forward and sponsor the campaign as we continue to raise awareness about disabilities and showing the education system that it has to change so that children in mainstream schools grow up with the knowledge to both understand and accept the child next to them who might be acting a little confused”
Sharon ends by saying that:
“Children are naturally curious but given knowledge they will learn to accept and understand”