Developadream - My Big Society Project
Hi I am Ann Watson, mother of three fantastic daughters. My eldest daughter was diagnosed as "being on the autistic spectrum" at the age of nine, but even before then I knew she had learning difficulties. I felt an overwhelming drive to get her the very best support and education. This even led me to take the bold step of buying and running a small independent prep school. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I have always had fantastic support from my family, our GP’s, my Local Authority and social workers and we have been able to send our daughter to some brilliant specialist educational establishments. However, I am all too aware that many parents of children with disabilities have a frustrating and difficult time finding the right support for their children and it gets even more difficult as they progress into adulthood. Which is why I am on a mission, I intend to work hard to facilitate the bringing together of local authorities, expert specialist transition services, businesses and charities in the true spirit of The Big Society in order to create opportunities for work and independent living, specifically for young adults with learning disabilities. This is a Social Action website so it would be great if you felt compelled to help in some way too.
These young people have great abilities as well as a disability and they have so much potential. As a society we should be able to give them every opportunity to achieve that potential in a safe and supportive environment of their choice. In order to influence change and to make a difference, I joined The Conservative Party and was honoured to be elected on to South Derbyshire District Council in May 2011 where I am proud to represent the residents of Aston on Trent ward and where I continually aim to raise the profile of people with disabilities through all my work at the council.
I have also become an ambassador for The National Autistic Society in order to support their fantastic work in bringing about real policy change and raising awareness of Autism. This is purely a personal web site and all views expressed here are entirely my own however, please feel free to contact me on any areas covered by this site.
In order to make progress in the area of inclusion and acceptance of people with Autism and other Learning Difficulties we have to help people who have never come into contact with the condition to be more informed. Autism is often a hidden disorder and some people at the higher end of the spectrum may not seem to have a difficulty until something triggers an unusual response. This can be caused by sound or visual over stimulation or where the unexpected or unplanned can cause a problem for the person with autism.
As a national charity The National Autistic Society helps to inform the public and policy makers and to help and support families who have relatives with Autism. I became a member of the NAS in 2010 and became an ambassador for the charity in 2011
SHOUT OUT - South Derbyshire
Recently I have been working with a marvellous group of people who have come together to organise events and social gatherings for young people with disabilities in our local area of South Derbyshire. So far the group has organised 6 events at Rosliston Forestry Centre where people have been able to try games and sports, arts and crafts, improvisation and role play as well as enjoy lunch and socialising during which they can also have a hand massage or get tips on grooming and style from volunteer professional masseurs and stylist. This is generally followed by an informative talk from organisations such as Mencap and Voice UK on safety in the home or what to do if people feel that they have been victims of abuse. For more information on Shoutout contact Cathy Miles at South Derbyshire CVC on 01283 219761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Paul Dixon on 07778496140.