Being diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder is a life changing event, often leaving the person with a lot of questions and doubts about their future. I also find that a new diagnosis can come with a lot of negative connotations and stereotypes. As I have been through this myself I know hard it is and how necessary it is to have the right support.
I really wish I had a positive role model with my disability to look up to when I was growing up. I had been alone, and desperate for someone to look up to, for support and positivity; someone who has the same disability as me, who had been through the complexities of new diagnosis and teenaged years and has gone on to achieved great things despite the hardships of disability. If I had that positive role modeling, I am certain it could of changed my outlook, and enabled me to cope better and feel much more positive. I believe that I would have been enabled to see the beginnings of my gift, much sooner.
I know how important it is from a personal point of view to have a positive role model, and that is why I aim to be this Positive Role Model for others. A Positive Role Model, can enable people to change their outlook on themselves, their difficulties and their talents. Positive Role Models understand, accept and listen, at a time in the persons life (whom they are supporting)which is so greatly misunderstood and confusing. Positive Role Models showcase that struggles don't have to be barriers, and that with support, can allow people to think "Yes! Maybe I can achieve that dream!". Best of all, A Positive Role Model spreads hope, acceptance, understanding, appropriate friendship and positivity at a time in life which can sometimes seem sad, misunderstood, alone and scary.
Each Workshop is designed to educate and inspire hope within newly diagnosed people and their family or teachers. My workshops are designed so that participants challenge their own negative perceptions about what their disability means, communicate their own problems with me, and look into their possible talents (being kind etc). So that all participants can leave feeling refreshed, inspired, more comfortable in their diagnosis and with a 'can do' attitude.
As I have Asperger's myself, I know how difficult it is to meet new people and have a change in routine; so I always explain at the beginning that my Positive Role Modeling Workshop is informal and that nothing is expected of the participants. I prefer each Workshop to last an hour and a half, so that I can talk through things slowly and the participants can take a 'time out' when required. Everything I cover in the Workshop is backed up with written material for the participants to read and take away.
A typical workshop will follow the below format -
*Introduction and Icebreaker
*I will discuss the difficulties I had growing up and the solutions
*We discuss their problems and difficulties
*'Mix and Match' the problems to the solutions
*Mix and Match inspiring role models (celebritys) to their disability - with a focus on Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
*discussion about the importance of a support network
*An inspirational speech about Aspergers
Who would best benefit from my Role Modeling Workshop"
This type of Workshop is best suited to small groups, for instance 121; with someone who has been diagnosed and close family (and maybe teachers to provide support and understanding at school). However, my last Positive Role Modeling Workshop (which was held at a school and very successful - you can read a review below) included 4 newly diagnoised teenagers, their parents and 3 teachers.
I offer these Workshops...
*To anyone who has an Autistic Diagnosis, their family and teachers or support workers.
*To small groups, normally at a school or a youth club
*1-2-1 either in person or via Internet video chat
For more information about my Role Modeling Workshops or if you would like to book, please contact me and I will be happy to help.
Why is Positive Role Modeling important for those who have recently been diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum?
A review written by a teacher who has participated in multiple Role Modeling Workshops.
"I shall be eternally grateful to Joely for all the help, support and guidance that she is now providing to the students at our school who I work with, and to me and their families too. Witnessing how Joely's voluntary work with these students is already showing amazing outcomes and possibilities for them; giving them the confidence and feeling of self worth, a sense of being valued as an individual. Just meeting, speaking and listening to Joely has been a ground breaking move forwards into a far better future for all of us at school.
Joely is a former pupil of mine.....I spent several years trying to understand her world, yet Joely did something so remarkable, so unexpected, she managed to step into mine and inspire me too....I have now become the student and Joely has become my teacher; she has opened my eyes and my mind..... giving remarkable insight into her world as someone with ASD..... Joely is an inspiration not only to me, but also to all young people, disabled and abled alike, she is a voice of hope and reason. Her tireless work inspiring and encouraging pupils from her former school and around the country, her courageous efforts and achievements as a public speaker, speaking up for disabled young people, educating all involved, changing and enhancing lives for the better.
She has walked that hard journey herself and is selflessly going back to help others to walk through their personal journey; how wonderful is that? In short, while I was attempting to understand the world of disabled people, Joely overcame all obstacles and learned to be in mine, in order to help me and others to achieve our personal goals and by seeing things through our eyes she has enabled us to empathize and to break down those barriers that we ourselves had ignorantly put up. Joely has not only been the voice for the disabled, but she has helped them to find their voices too; enabling them to be heard and valued for who they are and not what the label would have many of us believe that they are.
Thank you Joely, from the bottom of my heart!"
A review written by a volunteer who participated in a Role Modeling Workshop.
"Honestly, I was quite impressed with her because she is an extremely positive and proactive person, using her energy to inspire the community. She is really enthusiastic and passionate about disability issues and I personally think that she is making a big difference in our society. In January I went to a meeting with my supervisor and her and I was strongly and favorably affected by how confident and passionate she was about speaking in public of her own experience as a young woman with Asperger's in order to make the voices of disabled young people heard. She is a role model for other young people with disabilities because she is getting the message across to people that through determination, motivation and passion everything is possible. Therefore, I strongly believe that she is making a positive contribution to the community by being actively involved and the protagonist of many different initiatives and projects in order to bring about concrete changes in people's lives. "
What is a Role Modeling Workshop?
Role Modeling Workshops
Disclaimer: I am not an Autistic Spectrums Disorder expert, nor am I a Therapy Professional. Any advice I give is for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be considered professional advice. Professionals, such as teachers, doctors and therapist should be consulted before any life style changes are made, This website, and my services, should not be seen as a replacement for professional diagnosis, medication, or therapy. Anyone participating in any of my workshop or training sessions are doing so at their own risk, I do not and can not take any responsabilty for any damage to person or products / equipment. I refer to myself as a professional; however this is due to my experiences as an individual with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and my experiences as an Autism Activist and Trainer; not due to my qualifications. Everything on this website is written from experiences and my own personal opinions. I hope to educate and inspire others with my knowledge. I can not guarantee any personal success or results, and will not be held responsible for any lack of success.