Ros gives an insight into her life with autism

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MORE than 600 parents, teachers and health professionals attended events at St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt recently to hear Ros Blackburn give an insight into her life with autism.

The events have been organised by Northern Regional College’s Living and Learning Together Big Lottery funded project.

There continues to be a high demand for practical coping strategies, advice and support as Marie Donaghy, the Northern Regional College (NRC) Living & Learning Together project manager explained.

“Families, teachers and health professionals welcome the access we can provide to such internationally renowned speakers,” she said. “Ros Blackburn lectures nationally and internationally on facing her fears and tackling life’s challenges. Professor Rita Jordan speaks with a wealth of experience in teaching and both creating and running professional development programmes in autism studies.

“Ros eloquently makes the case for high expectations for people with ASD linked with equally high levels of support. She introduces herself saying ‘I happen to be blessed with autism’, and continues to inform and entertain while giving invaluable insights into her condition.

“As Ros explains: “I learned to lie – the hardest thing of all for me. I am meticulous, but I have learned to say ‘Nice to meet you’ even when I would really rather be trampolining!” Her coping strategies and advice on supporting children and adults with autism has been well-received on previous visits to Northern Ireland with the Living and Learning Together Project.”

The one-day programme included a morning session, jointly organised by the Magherafelt Learning Partnership, for all staff from local schools including Kilronan School, St Pius X College, St Mary’s Grammar School, Sperrin Integrated College and Magherafelt High School and professionals working with pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The evening session was attended by health professionals and parents of children with ASD.