Worthing – Parents of children with autism are sharing their experiences in order to raise awareness.
Amanda McNeill, 45, of Arundel, spoke at the West Sussex County Council-organised autism conference about her son Jack who when aged 2 would sit under the table at the local mother and toddler group.
“When he went to nursery, he didn’t mix with the other children and we were coming out one day and he was speaking to me and one girl said to her mum, ‘Mummy, that boy does speak!”
Jack received an official diagnosis after a seven year struggle between his parents and medical officials.
Amanda now volunteers for a number of organisations to help others in the same situation. She helps to run coffee mornings for Autism Sussex and helps to run West Sussex Parent Carer Forum.
“I went to Parents for Autism and it was the best thing I have ever done. It was the first time I had felt accepted in a group.”
Becky Simmons, 47, has an 11 year old son with autism and said that autism often presents itself as repetitive behaviour, repetitive speech, and social and communication difficulties.
“But I am always surprised by how little my son can read facial expressions.If you think about it, that’s a huge thing that he is not able to do.”
Both parents attended the autism conference at the Chatsworth Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing.
They praised the council for helping to raise awareness and Amanda said:
“People with autism are normal human beings and have huge potential. Events like today give you hope for the future.”
The full article in the Worthing Herald can be read here