Posted on: Thursday 2 May 2019
Across Gwent, young people with autism and their siblings have been getting creative, writing their very own story book to raise awareness of autism for children of all ages.
The Gwent Regional Partnership Team were approached by parents and Newport Councillor, Paul Cockeram, where they requested a book be developed similar to 'the Elephant Who Forgot', a book that was developed through the parent network Caerphilly to raise awareness of dementia for children.
There are lots of myths about autism and limited understanding. It was thought a book developed by young people with autism that can be distributed to schools in Gwent would be really beneficial in raising awareness.
The books working title is called ‘The Cow who Moo she was different’, and during development of the book it was highlighted by participants that each person with autism is unique, with their own strengths and challenges, and differences should be understood and embraced.
Newport Autism Group hosted weekly sessions throughout February and March, with Petra publishing providing a story writer each week in order to help support the young people with their creative ideas, writing skills and illustrations.
The book is currently in its final stages and an official launch will take place towards the end of May.
Natasha Harris, project lead from the Gwent Regional Partnership Team said, "It was a fantastic project to be part of and I can’t wait to see the published book. The young people were amazing and it was inspiring to hear their life stories and experiences. They were keen to get the message across that when people have a diagnosis of autism that does not define them.
They were also keen to blast some of the myths around autism and highlight that they each have their own challenges but also their own unique gifts and strengths just like anybody else.
Hayley Gray, assistant project lead from the Gwent Regional Partnership Team added, “I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting the group and being part of this exciting project. It has been lovely watching the group develop and form friendships.
The young people would share their challenges that someone with autism might face but also noting that no two people with autism are the same. They have been fantastic with their ideas for the book and I look forward to the publishing of the book.”
For more information regarding the launch of the book or to learn more about autism support services available, please contact the Gwent Regional Partnership team on 01495 761691 or visit the Torfaen website.