Monday 19 December 2011

Tyne Tees and Christmas Carols

Seasons Greetings and welcome back to Adventures with Autism Works. You may be wondering why you are getting a blog entry from me on Monday rather than on Friday is because Christmas came early last week for Autism Works!

Last week was one of the most interesting and exciting weeks that I have had at Autism Works, as we made it onto regional television! A feature about Autism Works was shown on ITV Tyne Tees' North East Tonight, in which I talked about difficulties that people with Asperger's Syndrome often experience when trying to obtain employment as well as the effect that it has on their quality of life, before later talking about how, at the same time, people with Asperger's Syndrome can make really good employees if given a role that suits their skills and abilities. Meanwhile, Peter went over the statistics of adults on the autistic spectrum in the UK not in employment as well as the effects that this has on the public purse, costing the UK over £2 billion per year, a hugely unnecessary cost when one considers that many of the 85 per cent of adults on the autistic spectrum are not only willing to work, but also often have a lot of unused skills and abilities to bring to the marketplace.

Paul Shattock, ESPA's Chairman and President of the World Autism Organisation (for whom Peter and I did a presentation for at the Stadium of Light in December), then went on to say how vital initiatives such as Autism Works are with so many more children and young people now being diagnosed with ASC much earlier in life for when they reach adulthood. If you missed it, you can view this feature on ITV Player by clicking here

While the feature was being screened, I was at a Christmas Carols Service at St Mary's Church in Newcastle. The service was hosted by Alfie Joey from BBC Radio Newcastle, on whose show I have had the privilege of appearing twice, including to review the stage version of Rainman two years ago. You could certainly see how much Alfie loves Christmas in the way he hosted the service so enthusiastically and I was delighted when he recognised the Autism Works logo on my shirt! 

With Alfie Joey from BBC Radio Newcastle
The appropriately-named Inspiration Choir gave a great performance of our favourite carols with the audience joining in. In between the signing, there were some readings from local media personalities, including television presenter and author John Grundy, who gave a reading from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, bringing the story to life wonderfully well before Hannah Bayman, from BBC Look North's Weather Team gave a very passionate reading from Luke after, earlier in the week, doing the Look North weather forecast on ice skates! 
With Hannah Bayman from the BBC Look North Weather Team

All the proceeds raised from the service went to Save the Children. But the festive cheer didn't end there - far from it. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, I am offering readers a special treat this week with a second entry later in the week. Stay tuned to see what came next. In the meantime, Merry Christmas everybody!

Autism Works would like to thank John Hart from Sunderland Software City and Derek Proud from Tyne Tees for their work in giving Autism Works airtime on Tyne Tees. 

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