Monkwearmouth Comprehensive, the school in Sunderland I attended between 1989-1994, celebrates its 50th anniversary as a school this year and organised a 50th anniversary reunion party open to former pupils and current/former members of staff from the school 's 50 years. The event, organised by Adam Walter, a teacher at the school from 1975-2009, was a huge success and raised over £1000 for the school. There was a huge turnout of both former pupils from different eras and teachers from past and present. When writing my autobiography Glass Half-Empty Glass Half-Full, in which I describe the ups and downs of my school experiences, I did hint towards the end that wouldn't be so keen to go to something like this. by time time of my second book though Asperger's Syndrome and Mindfulness, I had learned how to see people from my past, including former teachers and peers, as they are now.
If anyone reading this blog has read my first book, they will possibly recall that I experienced some difficult times at school as a pupil with undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome, with bullying and generally being misunderstood. As initially difficult as it was, I eventually managed to get over blame that I had towards people from my past who made my life difficult, directly or indirectly. This is has been very difficult for many adults diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome later in life, and I am no different. When giving a seminar with Tony Attwood, author of The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, I learned that some adults with Asperger's Syndrome are given therapy to help cope with the after effects of schoolyard bullying similar to that given to Vietnam War veterans to help cope with traumas that ensued following the conflict. By tuning to the present though, I began to realise in later life that my teachers and peers didn't know there was a reason for why my behaviour and social presentation appeared 'different' as much as I didn't.
|With former PE Teacher Adam Walter|
|With former Head Teacher Jim Farnie|
|With England and Team GB international Jill Scott|
Special thanks to Adam Walter and to Monkwearmouth School for all their hard work in making this wonderful event possible.